I wanted to run away from this suffocating awkward space.
It was the noona of ‘Gong Ji Hwan’ who stared at me sitting on the hospital bed as someone who was not that sick.
It was this morning that I made up my mind thinking ‘I’m in the hospital yet no one came, so I must have completely cut off ties with Noona. Let’s go visit her and kneel when things are a bit sorted out later’.
“You, how could this kid…!”
“Sorry. It’s my fault.”
“How much I…!”
Ah, it seems I pressed the button.
Noona bit her lips and shed tears. Her shaking shoulders gave me an idea of how much emotional weight she was holding.
“I’m sorry for being immature, but then I really…”
“Enough. Better not do it if you’re going to explain it clumsily.”
Ah, my switch is pressed this time.
A very familiar word.
Because I never thought I’d hear this again here.
I couldn’t tell whether this sadness was what I felt or what the body remembered. But what’s clear is that I can now recognize her, who had a slightly different face from my Noona, as my family.
“Why are you crying, the kid who just got in an accident shouldn’t lose energy by crying too.”
After crying in my new Noona’s arms for a long time, I was able to escape a bit from all kinds of emotions I had been suppressing without realizing it.
To be honest, I was scared and still felt like my whole body was in pain. I missed my family, my acquaintances, and my Ravels who I can’t see anymore.
Even when I woke up from sleep, I was still on the hospital bed, so a part of my heart collapsed. The determination I made before was overshadowed, and the tears that I had been held back all night eventually fell.
Isn’t this sense of separation something I have to take with me until the end of my life I live once again.
“I’m going to work really hard. So, don’t worry about me and do what Noona wants to do.”
“Is it going to be just the way I want it to be. Ehyu, who do you resemble to be this strongly stubborn.”
“Resemble who, I resemble Noona.”
“Can’t I even speak!”
After a few moments of raising each other’s emotions with all sorts of small talk, Noona left me behind coolly.
She left with a message saying I should never come home until I’m so screwed that no agency accepts me or thinks I want to come back home.
Ji Hwan’s Noona was similar to my Noona. Thanks to that, guilt and relief were mixed up like mud sticking in my mind, but I had no choice but to smile.
Noona, Noona’s brother is dead. Please let go of everything like someone with no regrets.
And now I’m Noona’s brother.
These words reached the end of my throat, but I couldn’t bring myself to say them out loud.
The woman from yesterday appeared soon after. The person who picked ‘me’ as a trainee for ON Ent., who ‘I’ called Team Leader, entered the hospital room.
“Ji Hwan-ah, what’s with this face?”
“Haha. I am sorry, Team Leader. And thank you.”
Perhaps since my face and eyes were swollen because of hugging and crying with Noona, she yelled and pressed cold canned coffee over my eyes. I said thank you for that heart.
Because it’s probably Team Leader who contacted Noona through my youngest maternal uncle.
“So, I’ll just be honest with you. Is it okay?”
“Yes. Just tell me without any hesitation.”
My heart became stronger after all of my emotions were shaken out at once. No matter what I hear, I’m determined to recover my mental state and return to the practice room without being kicked out.
“Your problem is not just one or two right now. I’m just telling you because it seems like you’ve already heard it, but you’re one of the elimination candidates.”
“Yes. I heard it.”
“Department Head and others said it would be better to leave you out of this project. You’re not shining.”
“What about Team Leader?”
“Yes. What does Team Leader think?”
Looking at me without a change in expression for a moment, Team Leader Kim So Hyun sighed deeply, loosened her cold face, and began drinking the canned coffee she had brought.
What I did as soon as I opened my eyes was to recall the memories so far and make them mine. So, I remembered the shining eyes that this person in front of me had when she picked ‘me’.
“Honestly, I thought you were a real rough gemstone when I first saw you, you know. There’s a lot of ready kids. Now you also know how many trainees there are in this market who can debut right away.”
“When I saw you, ‘How good will it be if you join the team I had in mind’, I thought like that and picked you.”
I didn’t know Team Leader Kim So Hyun was thinking of ‘me’ that much. From the beginning to the end, I thought she was nothing special, just a moderately nice and moderately strict person to all the trainees.
“But not the current you.”
“Do you think you’ll debut if you practice for a long time? Do you think it’s easy to become an idol like that? Many kids practice harder than you do.”
“Condition management, evaluation preparation, and team atmosphere are all important without leaving anything. But how about you?”
Nothing to say. Well, although I didn’t do it, anyway, what I can’t make an excuse for now is that ‘I’ was just so focused on practicing.
Just focusing on practicing is saying it in a good way. Speaking honestly, I was a moron with no general knowledge to understand literally the coaching of trainers in addition to having not very good sociability.
“I am sorry, ma’am.”
“Noona was very worried.”
“Did you apologize?”
“Yes. I apologized and let it out. I was told not to come home, Team Leader. Thus, I can’t go home.”
I am a person who knows nothing and has nothing, but I have learned very little about how to treat people through experience. It was fortunate. All I have to do is learn hard for the rest, but how to treat people is a hard experience to have at the age of 18.
“Ha. Whether in the past or now, only your mouth that’s alive huh?”
“Ei, it is not. Team Leader, I can’t go home, so I have to do my best enough not to stay on the street.”
“Phew… How did I ever pick up something like this.”
“It can’t be helped, I’m Team Leader’s brat.”
Looking at me as if she was surprised when I treated her shamelessly with a smile, Team leader Kim So Hyun slapped me on the back like yesterday.
Ah. Seriously, I think it hurts more than an injection.
“Since you talked like that, I’ll talk to Department Head well. Please don’t kick you out right away.”
“Thank you, ma’am!”
“Enough, this guy. The test results say nothing is wrong, so let’s leave the hospital today. Woo Jin will pick you up later. Get ready.”
“Yes. See you later, Team Leader.”
Picking up her bag as if she would leave right away, Team Leader Kim So Hyun looked down at me for a moment and added with a serious face.
“Ji Hwan-ah, nothing changes. All I can do is ask not to kick you out right away.”
“I know, Team Leader.”
“You know how important this evaluation is, right? You made a mess ahead of that important evaluation.”
“You didn’t make an accident on purpose, but it’s definitely your fault that you left the dorm without permission.”
“I will make sure this never happens again.”
“Yeah, you’re the one making the evaluation’s results, so I won’t say more. I’m going.”
She left the hospital room with that. Only then did I relax a little with a deep breath and exhaled to control my mind. Honestly, how much do I know about the entertainment industry? I only know a little bit about the rumors from chatting with the Hommas I used to stan together with.
The only weapon I could use was that I remembered all the big and small incidents that ‘Unravel’ would experience and their schedules over the next five years. It could be a great help if used well, but nothing I could use right now as a mere trainee.
When I woke up in the morning, Poing disappeared saying that it had a place to visit and would be back soon. Seeing that it didn’t tell me when it would come… Maybe it ran away because it thought I’d screw up.
As expected of nyangachi1A twist of the words ‘nyang’ for cat and ‘yangachi’ for ruffian. Simply put, a cat that acted like a bully. …
After Team Leader left, I was in the middle of warming up with stretching following my memories. Manager hyung came in and looked at me with a deep look then put on a pitiful light. What the, it’s scary.
“…I heard it all. Ji Hwan-ah.”
“It’s okay. You can do it well. The kids will also understand.”
“Uh… That… Yes.”
I don’t know what he misunderstood, but I couldn’t help but keep my mouth shut. There was nothing I could do but nod while settling my trembling expression.
“Let’s go. The doctor said it’s okay as long as you don’t overdo it.”
“Yes, I will also take care of myself now.”
“Yeah. It’s enough if you do better in the future.”
I don’t know from where, how, and what he misunderstands. So, I just have to do what I have to do.
Only a few episodes have come out and the ratings are ruined, but he’s someone to be thankful for as he brought me a hat to cover my face because I was on the show.
I laughed that no one would recognize me as nobody would be interested, but he still firmly put a hat on my head saying ‘this floor is a place where we don’t know when and what will happen’.
There was not much conversation on the way to the dorm, so I had time to organize things I had to do. It was time when other kids were in the company practice room, so I also had to go back to the company after they washed and changed clothes.
“Uh, Ji Hwan-ah. That’s Se Bin’s. Your black tee is next to it.”
I was confused about the things’ location because I had not yet made all the memories mine, but fortunately, Manager hyung didn’t say much whether it was usual for looking things inside the mixed-up piles.
To be honest, black tees are all over the place, so I wonder how he tells which clothes are mine and which are others. It’s also amazing to see it.
And it was not until I heard Se Bin’s name did I realize that I was able to join the future Unravel. Oh my gosh. It feels like yesterday when I asked for an autograph while giving him lemon candies.
Ah, yesterday was right. Because I died then.
Suddenly, I realized how unlucky I was and I felt about to cry.
“Woo Jin-i hyung, let me stop by the bathroom for a moment.”
“Sure, I’ll be downstairs. Go ahead. Let’s go quickly.”
Finally alone, I mumbled dazedly in the bathroom.
“Ha, seriously. Is this dream or reality.”
I can’t believe I’m living in the same house with the kids who smiled sweetly at fan signs and concerts.
The reason I was able to maintain a mindset close to normal without going crazy even after such a big deal. It was because I had a chance to get my life again somehow, even if it was a different world, and to be together on an equal footing with the Ravels.
Although I wasn’t a Somungchi who started stanning at the beginning of their debut, I devoted all my two years being a fan digging about Unravels before their debut until just before the concert.
It was the only way to connect me to the outside world in a dull and seemingly only sinking life.
When Kyung Hwan-i, Se Bin-i, Young Bin-i, and Ha Jun-i cried and laughed, I also cried and laughed loudly. The memories were still vivid, so anticipation for the days we would spend together swelled endlessly like a balloon.
The sense of distance between Somungchi Gong Ji Hwan and trainee Gong Ji Hwan.
I didn’t know then that it didn’t take long to realize that.