“Let’s hold each other’s hand,
Never let go, never let go;
Let’s chase our own dreams,
Keep running, keep running;
As long as there’s me and you,
What is there to fear?”
Pakiramdam ko ay nananadya talaga ang tadhana dahil kahit saan ay kanta namin ang naririnig ko. Dala na rin siguro ng news na kumakalat ngayon. Siguro ay tinatawagan na rin ako ng mga kakilala ko pero ayaw ko munang kumausap ng kahit na sino ngayon.
I want to unwind. I want to breathe.
Nasa kahabaan ako ng highway at ang traffic kaya lalo lang akong na-i-stress at idagdag pa ang mga naririnig ko. Mabuti na lang at tinted ang sasakyan ko kaya hindi ako nakikita ng mga tao.
“According to an insider, Helene left the band because of another member. Fans guessed that it might be Aven, the other main vocalist of the Venus but we are still waiting for their response.”
Right. Maybe it’s really because of me.
I don’t cry in front of people. I promised myself to be strong and to not show my vulnerable side, especially to my friends and to our fans. I am known as the “cool girl” of the group and crying isn’t cool. However, now that I’m alone, I realized how weak I am.
Helene and I have been together for more than ten years. We helped and cheered each other during our training years, spent our childhood singing and composing, and promised each other to reach the top together. Pero ngayon, mukhang malabo na.
I don’t know when it started but we gradually drifted away from each other. We’ve had misunderstandings involving our personal choices and musical compositions. Now that I think about it, isang beses lang yata kaming nakapag-dinner na kaming dalawa lang nitong nakaraang taon.
“Ikaw ba, Aven, anong plano mo sa buhay?” tanong niya noong gabing ‘yon.
“I mean, your long-term plan. Ilang months na lang, mag-e-end na ang contract natin sa Venus.”
Hindi ko alam kung ilang segundo, o umabot ba ng minuto, bago ako ulit makapagsalita. I was caught off-guard by her statement and I actually didn’t realize that we’re about to reach the 5th anniversary of Venus.
“I guess I’d still write songs and sing them,” I said, smiling. “Music is the only thing I can do.”
“What are you saying? You’re a woman of talent,” she commented and I raised my brow at her.
“As if. Ikaw ba? Ano bang balak mo?” tanong ko naman at ngumiti siya.
“I want to be a fashion designer. Gusto ko ring pumasok sa mundo ng business. You know, I want to experience the things we couldn’t do, the opportunities we couldn’t take while we’re in the band.”
Her eyes sparkled while talking about her dreams and seeing her excited made me smile but at the same time, worried.
“So, pagkatapos ba ng contract natin, aalis ka na sa Venus?” tanong ko at parang gusto kong bawiin ‘yon dahil natatakot akong marinig ang sagot niya.
“No!” she exclaimed. “Venus is my home and I will never leave that place.”
Those words struck my heart and I almost teared up. Buti na lang at napigilan ko ang sarili ko sa pagiging emosyonal.
“’Yung contract lang naman natin ang mawawala at hindi ang banda. We can set up our own agency and buy the name and rights of Venus from Moon Ent. At least that way, mas may freedom tayo sa individual schedule natin,” sabi niya at mukhang maganda naman ang planong ‘yon.
Kung saan-saan na napunta ang topic namin hanggang sa pareho kaming naka-receive ng text kay Kaye, ‘yong manager namin.
“OMG! Mag-8 PM na pala. Lagot tayo,” sabi niya at nagmadali naman kaming ubusin ang ramen na kinakain namin. After that ay bumalik kami sa studio para sa pagfa-finalize ng concept ng next album namin.
Little did I know, that was the last time we would talk to each other.
Nakalabas na ako sa highway at balak kong pumunta sa lugar na ‘yon. Helene and I accidentally found the place when we were in college. We wanted to get inspiration and we ended up in that place.
Unti-unti namang nawala ang traffic hanggang sa iilang sasakyan na lang ang nakikita ko. Binilisan ko ang pagtakbo at inalis ko na rin ang roof ng kotse. The buildings and crowded streets disappeared and the vast grasslands met the clear sky. The cool breeze brushed my face and I breathed in, slowly taking in the serenity.
“What’s your long-term plan?” Helene’s question echoed inside my head.
I never really looked ahead of time because I don’t know what path to take. Venus is my present but even if I don’t want to admit it, it’s just temporary, something that could disappear along the way. Looking back, I never had the chance to explore anything besides music. I was so into it that I put my everything to be a musician.
I won’t be in my twenties forever so I need to decide what I should do with my life, especially now that I’m turning twenty five. Akala ko ayos na ang lahat dahil napagawan ko na ng bahay ang parents ko at napag-aral ko na ang mga kapatid ko. ‘Yon lang naman ang gusto kong mangyari ngayon pero pagkatapos ng pag-uusap namin ni Helene ay marami akong na-realize.
Ano nga ba talaga ang gusto ko?
I never really tried anything aside from music but I like drawing and sketching. It relieves my stress and I find comfort whenever I see my sketch pad and drawing materials. However, I won’t make enough money with just that. I am not like Irish who got his Bachelor’s degree with honors. Even without Venus, she could survive in her field. Hindi rin ako tulad ni Arin na maraming endorsements at pang-model din ang katawan. Si Mina naman, bukod sa may acting projects siya ay galing na talaga sa mayamang pamilya.
How about me? How can I survive without Venus?
That thought dreaded me and I had to breathe deeply for several times to calm my mind. Muli kong tinignan ang paligid at kahit papaano ay nawala ‘yon sa isip ko lalo na noong nakita ko ang sunset. Agad akong napangiti dahil halos ganito rin ang tanawin noong huli kaming pumunta ni Helene dito. Nilabas ko ang phone ko at pinicture-an ang view gamit ang kaliwa kong kamay.
The burst of gold in the scarlet sky made it look like it was caught on fire—burning until everything was consumed by flames.
“You must be looking at the same view,” I whispered, thinking about Helene and how much she loves sunsets.
But I didn’t know that this sunset would also be the start of a long-time darkness.