"Kailangan matakpan ang issue na 'to. Maliwanag? This can destroy your careers, girls."
Napabuntong-hininga na lang ako habang pinapaliwanag ni Ma'am Kristy ang possible effects ng nangyari sa banda namin. Kapag may nangyayaring issue, lagi na lang may ganitong meeting at lagi niyang sinasabi ang mga bagay na 'to nang paulit-ulit.
"Aven, are you listening?" Napatingin naman ako kay Ma'am Kristy at nakakunot na ang noo niya sa akin.
"As the leader, you should be the one to protect your members. Don't take that position too lightly."
"I know." Tumingin lang ako nang diretso kahit na gusto ko nang sumabog dahil sa sinabi niya. Alam ko ring nakatingin sina Arin, Irish at Mina. Kung nandito lang si Helene, paniguradong sasagot 'yon kay Ma'am Kristy. She wasn’t afraid to show her true self. Unlike me.
Pagkatapos ng meeting ay agad akong umalis sa conference room at pumunta sa kotse ko. Pagtingin ko sa phone ko ay ang dami kaagad articles ang lumabas tungkol sa banda namin.
'Helene, no longer part of Venus.'
'Most popular girl band Venus lost one of its members.'
'One of the main vocalist of Venus, Helene, withdrew from the group.'
I immediately turned off my phone and threw it at the back seat. Pinaandar ko ang kotse ko at agad na umalis sa building na ‘yon bago pa ako maharang ng reporters. Luckily, the car I brought was the new one so they wouldn’t know my identity.
“Breaking news. It was reported that Venus lost—”
Agad kong inilipat ang radyo at napatigil ako sa isang station dahil narinig ko ang kanta namin. Ironically, it was the song that Helene and I wrote before our debut, my favorite song out of our whole discography. Hearing it made my heart throb in pain and the tears I was trying to hold back streamed down my face.
If I was just brave enough to tell her our worries, maybe this wouldn’t happen. If I just had the courage to talk to her before everything went downhill, maybe we would still be the best of friends. But everything has already changed. We changed. We were not the same people anymore, and maybe, that was the reason for all of these.
“I’m sorry, Helene,” I muttered as I cried alone, as our memories together resurfaced.
I will find you, Helene, but to do that, I’m going to find myself first.