The crews were running up and down, decorating the stage into a diva. Hurried paces everywhere. Jumping off the stairs three steps at a time, they fleed to carry the huge boxes of props to the backstage. Time was nearing, and there was so much more to be done. Gasps of breaths passed by Kyle who was rehearsing the songs. He shoved his index into his ear gently, only to focus on the tracks being played.
Tapping his legs along with the beats, he stared into the empty spaces laid in the open with a longing gaze. Soon it would be filled, judging by his past experiences. So many birds were circling on the rooftop, as though they were stepping lightly onto the imaginary musical notes came floating from him. That pair of dazzling, almond eyes were so beautiful, showing different shades of brown under the sun rays. He was glowing. Despite no lights shone on him.
But it was also in those eyes where he,
Did the public know?- Of course not.
A huge poster of him sitting on the grassy field, glancing up at the starry sky, was hung on the stage. Escape, 7.30 p.m. printed stylishly at the bottom. Shooting stars were scattered across the plain, sending off a fantasy vibe.
Yes, tonight was his concert.
After rehearsing for 2 hours, Kyle finally laid down his butt. He swung his feet in the air, knocking them onto the front part of the stage. He slid his hand into an opened-box and pulled out a bottle of 500ml mineral water, gulping it down hungrily. Adam apple moved along with the motion, smoothing down the sweats from his jawlines down his neck. Looking ever so seductively, he wiped his face thoroughly with the cotton cloth given by one of the crews. And the next minute, it was already drenched in his sweats.
“Brandon, the latest track is with you?” he heard the spiky-hair guy in torn jeans screaming to his manager from the other corner.
“It’s in the pen drive on the table! Set it in for me please.”
It took a while.
“Test it, Wei Xiang,” Brandon requested, walking over to him who was messing with the tools.
Like what he was told to do, Wei Xiang played it, increasing the volume.
The opening melody hit Kyle right away, followed by rivers of unspeakable emotions. Sweaty cloth fell off his grasp and tripped the empty water bottle he placed beside, rolling further away from his reach.
Whisper of the Silence.
“Kyle, do you think this is okay?” Brandon asked, crooked his head.
He parted his mouth to respond without turning to face the speaker. But his voice was cracking.
“Kyle?” Brandon repeated, pausing the song.
“Hmm?” Kyle uttered, covering his thick voice with his non-vocal words.
Brandon approached him, “Is the song---” he trailed off instantly.
“... I’m sorry... I didn’t realize.. Oh my god... I’m.. sorry Kyle....”
His corneas were red. Brows frowned. A drop of tear was dangling at the tip of his Asian nose, waiting for the chance to jump.
It was raining. In his eyes.
The crews around stopped doing their tasks. They noticed the changes and flashed Brandon a curious look. Wei Xiang even made the attempt to reach them. But Brandon tsked, shaking him, them away.
He turned back to look at the weak guy tumbling next to him. It broke him, seeing him being in such torture. He knew Kyle. Obviously he wasn’t the kind of guy like now.
Tough, and strong were once the best qualities that he had in him.
“Will she come to my concert...Brandon?” he muttered through his tears. “Can she...please come...?”
Exhaling a heavy sigh, “Let’s believe that she would come,” he opened his wide arms, and pulled him in, resting his chin on Kyle’s head,” let’s believe that she would come...”
The rehearsal had to stop half-way. Brandon brought Kyle to the backstage, letting his emotions to cool down before the start of the actual event. He leaned him against his shoulder, walking towards their resting room.
Seeing the sight of the sofa, Kyle dropped himself onto it right away. He placed his arm on his face, covering those wet eyes. Lines of salty water could be seen leaking underneath that skin, as if they were not planning on stopping. When his gasps were starting to get loud, he rolled himself inwards, escaping any direct eye contacts or conversations with his manager.
Brandon was silent. He thought he had managed to pull Kyle back to his life. But he was wrong. Kyle wasn’t cured. His pain was too deep that the only way to forget was to hide. And hiding was a very heartwrenching act to watch. He stood next to the mirror. He didn’t know what to say. Instead, he busied himself by checking the preparations on the tables. The mini-games to be played with lucky fans, free signed posters to be thrown to the audience. Extra costumes. All ready.
Looking at the coils of the posters in the cylindrical pack, he pulled out one piece and tore the transparent tape gluing it together, rolling it open.
And when he did, his heart twisted in pain on the spot.
He missed him.
The star born for the world. He missed him so badly.
Glancing at the time flashed on his mobile, he hesitated. 5.30 p.m. Fingers wavering to continue typing his message he saved in drafts few hours ago. They should know about it without him having to send them a text. The announcement of Kyle’s concert had been spread everywhere, the entire China would have already known by now. Taking in a deep breath, This is all that I can do for you, my little Kyle, he thought.
Kyle’s concert. 7.30 p.m.
Together with Clover.
One last glimpse and he pressed the ‘Send’ button.
Subject: Kyle’s Concert.
“Brandon,” Kyle said, breaking the tensing sullenness in the atmosphere. He was back to his normal self, normal voice.
“!!!” he jerked, crashing his phone onto the floor. The phone was split open. Battery was thrown out.
“What’s wrong?” Kyle got up from his seat, attempting to help him picking up the pieces.
“No.. no..n.nothing...” Brandon rejected, getting ahold of them at a stroke.
Kyle shot him a puzzled look. But it only lasted for a very brief moment.
“You’re done resting? It’s barely an hour though...”
“Yeah. I think I need to be ready by now,” he uttered. “Can you please show me the tentative again?”
He ran through the tentative one more time. And only to realize time wasn’t enough for him to run a full rehearsal for the third time.
Biting his lips, It should be fine, Kyle, he told himself, calming down the growing nervousness in him.
Just a concert, what was there to be scared of anyway? Being able to stand on his own stage was what pushed him to pursue this celebrity dream of his.
Remaining hours were soon passed by like hours weren’t sixty minutes per each. Kyle went to the stage once more to remember his choreography, the place to stand to interact with fans, spot to bid goodbye. The instructions given by the crews, he listened to them very carefully. The attires to be changed for each scene, he agreed with no any arguments.
As they were briefing him about the summary of the event, his gaze shifted to the empty spaces in front. Deep within, he couldn’t help but to hope that one of the seats would be filled in by her. He imagined her sitting in front, waving to his songs, cheering for him. But the image blended with the surroundings soon after. Though he wanted her to be there so badly, feeling his love yearning for her, everything was only his virtual reality.
He swallowed his pain as he felt the presence of his tears crawling into the views of public.
I can’t mess up my concert.
7.00 p.m. Half an hour before the start of the event. Two of the crews stood at the entrance, collecting the tickets from the lines. A group of fans was stuck at the mini stall outside the stadium looking, purchasing the lightsticks, posters, clothes, mobile fans and other fan-materials displayed. Shadows of people were starting to crowd the site, filling up the spaces. Seats were arranged in a gigantic ‘M’ shape where each section referred to different sitting grades.
The warmth in the air was inviting despite the increasing number of people. Breeze passed through, blowing the edges of the secured posters on the walls, poles. Rays of spotlights danced along with the beats of Kyle’s hits played in the background, 360 degrees, flashing the audience. The red and blue collided with one another, creating a purple. It was a little too bright for a moment, forcing the fans to shut down their eyelids as the beams shot into their eyes.
Kyle was in the dressing room, putting on his costumes. The torn vest prepared for him was way too exposed. No buttons nor zips. Just a piece of cloth to be put on him to avoid being claimed ‘naked’ on stage. He was rather taken aback when they first showed him the condition of the vest. However, he didn’t reject on wearing it. Meanwhile, the jinggles on his hand were replaced with more tough, manly ones. Skeleton-shaped earrings were poked into his pierced ears.
Next phase- hair styling. The stylist chose to spike his hair. He picked the spray from the trolley and whirled it with his fingers before grasping it fully in hand. Like a real professional. Fine mists were sprayed into the air multiple times, stabilizing the proportions of the contents inside. And then only to his hair. His arm jerked when the icy cold sensation was triggered on it.
He stared at his reflected image, seeing the whole transformation, from the personal Kyle into the Kyle who everyone adored. His brows were darkened, black eyeliners arched the corners of his eyes slightly, shades of pinkish red stained on his small thin lips. Accompanied by all those accessories and his new image, the long-lost burning spirit in him was back.
“Perfect,” his stylist hissed as he ran the middle of his palms along the sides of Kyle’s spikes, making sure they were well done.
“Okay,” he shot up his seat, stretching his neck to ease the ache. “I’ll own the night once more.”
“I’m sure you will,” the stylist fist-bumped his. “Fighting, Kyle.”
He was ready for his concert.