Hello, everyone! Long-time lurker but first-time publishing. I guess, take it easy on me? XD
I'm welcome to feedback and constructive criticism.
This one-shot has been inspired by 'Heroine' by Sunmi. If you haven't listened to it before, DO IT NOW.
Warning: Probably OOC. Un-beta'ed. Also, sorry, not sorry for the angst.
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own, nor do I claim to own, any part of the La Corda D'Oro series. Or the song. Please don't sue for copyright infringement. There's not much you can take from me anyway DX
Please, enjoy :)
When was the last time she slept well?
She had her head propped up on her arm that was leaning against the glass window. The car sped through traffic, bobbing and weaving through to reach her destination faster. She could only stare out to the scenery and ponder on this question.
It had been weeks since she had saw him. They had spent his last week in Japan together, breathing in each other's existence as if it could be their last moments together. And in a way it was; neither of them knew when the next time would be when they could just hold each other.
"Are you still awake?"
She forced her eyes open in response to the inquiry, "Yeah, I'm okay. Did you say something?"
"No, I just finished practicing. You can go to sleep if you want," His face warps with worry. She shakes her head as best she could while lying down and offers a smile.
"Really, I'm fine. Your playing was so soothing, I couldn't help myself."
"But you have class tomorrow, right? Isn't it already midnight there?"
"Ugh don't remind me. I don't want to have nightmares about the next math test, thank you very much."
"Apologies, I've forgotten how terrible you are at math."
"Are you mocking me?"
"Now why would you ever think that?"
"I'd believe you more if you wiped that smirk of your face!" Almost unbridled laughter escapes his lips at her pout and her breath catches, still not used to the sound. He looked so carefree, so relaxed, so much happier than much of the time she knew him. It was in these moments that she wished she could be there next to him and joining him instead of only watching in a video call.
"I miss you."
"I miss you too."
Without her realizing, the taxi comes to a halt. Putting her musings aside for the meantime, she paid the driver and got out, the latter following suit to help remove her luggage from the trunk. She thanks him before proceeding through the revolving doors. With her suitcase and travel documents in one hand and violin in another, she strides to the next available ticket counter.
She could only stare at the large manila envelope in her hands. She felt she was being melodramatic, but she knew this was what would decide her entire future with her education, her career…
Her future with him.
Willing her fingers to stop shaking, she carefully opened the envelope, as if tearing into the seal would worsen her chances. She removed the letter from its contents and began to read, absorbing everything written on its face. Almost dropping everything, she gasped, raising her hand to her mouth in shock.
'This isn't a mistake, right?'
It took her a minute to realize that her phone was vibrating insistently from her pocket. Snapping out of her stupor, she made the effort to calm her hand, so she could grab her phone and answer, wincing at her shaky greeting.
"Are you okay?"
Finally understanding who was calling her, she controlled the feelings in her voice, "Yeah, never better. Isn't really early in the morning there?"
"Don't worry, it's fine. I wanted to ask if you got your letter."
"It arrived this morning." She was having a tough time keep her voice nonchalant.
"And? Did you read it yet?" The impatience in his tone was practically oozing out of him.
"…" Even his silence was impatient.
"… I did it."
No longer able to retain the tension, she started jumping up and down happily, waving the documents wildly, "I passed the audition! I got accepted!"
"Congratulations," he sighed in relief, "I knew you could do it."
"But you helped me so much, even though you weren't here. So, thank you- "
"Don't thank me yet."
"Could you do me a favor?"
"Walk out of your house for me?"
"Sure?" Confusion took over as she switched out her house slippers into her flats before going out the front door. Now seeing the reason for the odd request, she flipped her phone shut and rushed to open the small gate, her grin growing so much her jaw started to hurt. The offending obstacle finally out of the way, she slammed herself into his chest, wrapping her arms around him. He also held her in his arms and they stayed there, knowing they no longer had to separate anytime soon.
The line to the security checkpoint was brief, and so was border control. Each went without a hitch, giving her the luxury to take her time to explore and ultimately end up at her gate. After settling down in an empty seat, she slipped on her earphones and plugged them into her phone. Adjusting it to airplane mode, she pressed play on the music app, filling her ears with something that means so much to them: 'Ave Maria'
Has it really been four years since she came here?
She lied awake in bed again for the next consecutive night in a row. The heating was on and she was wearing pajamas and under the thick blanket, but she feels cold, almost numb. And all she could do, like every other night before this, was wallow in her thoughts.
Being here started off so fresh, so innocently, with so much love between them. Everything was new and exciting. He showed her all the things he learned while he was here, all the places he visited and loved. It was amazing to finally see Vienna through his eyes. They moved in together and started to have all their firsts as a couple, something that was not afforded to them being in a long-distance relationship. Even university, despite the initial language barrier, became a fun place to be, the teachers strict but passionate about teaching and her peers friendly and welcoming.
But it was the small observations; the increasing pressure from professors to perform, the ever-present wall of competition that blocked her from being true friends with the others, that prevented her from completely enjoying her time there. Even her boyfriend, whom she has been with through thick and thin, was losing his patience with her inability to cope in the new environment and her lack of results with her playing, even if he never admitted it. Their fights were becoming more heated, more serious, and she knew it was because of her.
It was all her fault.
He wants to protect her from the harshness of this field, this career choice they have both chosen to make. Yet it was inevitable for her to find the truth, the coldness that just wouldn't escape her bones even as they played 'Ave Maria' together. Even that iciness extended to her violin, once so warm and inviting. And now she lied there, in the bed they both shared, knowing she had to make her decision.
She felt him scoot closer to her side, moving his arm to bring him closer to her. He snuggled closer to her for the warmth, the companionship and despite all that, he never further away from her. She turns over to face him and stare at his handsome face and childlike expression on his face.
She wanted no more than to spill her guts to him, to tell him everything that has been eating up inside her. She wanted him to share her burden and make it easier on her, so that they could stay together. She wanted to brush his bangs away from his face and kiss him and tell him that she'll always be by his side.
But instead, not wanting to bring more stress and heartbreak, she buries her face in his chest, holding him closer to her and letting the tears silently run down her cheeks.
She knows what she had to do now.
"Attention passengers, Gate 27A is now on its final boarding call. Flight JAL7865 to Narita International is now on its final boarding call."
She turns off her phone completely and proceeds to the ticket gate, presenting her passport and boarding pass. She exchanges pleasantries with the stewardess before following the path to her plane. The crew directs her to her seat and helps find a place for her violin before settling down in her assigned window seat, quickly apologizing to the other passengers in her row for passing through. She looked out the window to take in what was probably the last glance at this country.
All the good memories begin to rush through her head like a movie, showing her what she was leaving behind and weakening her resolve just enough to feel the guilt inside her. She knew it was going to hurt but she never expected the strong ache all over her body, especially her heart. Nevertheless, she takes a deep breath and attempts to exhale all her doubt away. By now he has found her letter and there was no going back from this. But she had to do this. Not for them or even for him. She had to leave for herself. She looks away from the view and sinks further into her seat, finally able to close her eyes and just sleep well.
"My dearest Len,
I want to apologize upfront for leaving you this letter. I'm sorry for not having the strength to tell you in person.
It would only break my resolve for what I'm about to do.
As you are reading this, I will be on a flight back to Japan. I am ending our relationship as of this moment.
Before you rip this letter up and try to search and stop me, please finish reading this.
Being with you has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I will always treasure all the memories that we made together, even if it's bad. I love you so much and it's almost tearing me apart to write you this.
But there is something we both love that we will never give up: the joy of playing the violin.
While you improved so much from your time here, I've been stuck between my love of the violin and you. I've seen you blossom after each performance, after each competition and your love of playing has only grown.
It's been the complete opposite for me.
I began to resent the lack of progress. I hated going up on the stage just to be judged by everything and everyone. I felt so pressured, so suffocated in the weight of expectations and standards toward me. And even though you've tried to reassure me that it was okay, and I just need to play as I usually do, I could see it in your eyes and hear it in your words: the frustration and disappointment in me. You can deny that if you want but I know better; I've learned almost everything about you in our time together.
I guess the final straw was when you turned down the offer to be the concertmaster for the London Philharmonic, all so that you could stay close to me so that we could finish our final year at university together. I saw, felt the changes in you. You seemed more distant and cold, like a wall I couldn't break through. I knew you wanted to go but you stayed for me.
While I'm grateful for you making that choice, I began to feel guiltier about holding you back. You deserve to have the world on a silver platter and become one of the best violinist the world has ever seen. I know you have the talent to be so much more. Yet, you stayed, and I began to hate myself for even delaying your dreams.
I began to hate the violin.
And that's the one thing I will never allow myself to do.
I want to play the violin for fun again. I want to feel all the emotions from the music the violin produces. I want to love the violin again.
Because it was your playing that opened me to a world I never thought could exist.
I only wished that I could've stood in the same world as yours.
Yet, I don't want you to coddle me. I don't want you to feel as if you're holding yourself back for me or anyone else. I don't want you to pull me along for the ride that ends with me hating you and the violin.
So, I'm sorry for being selfish and presumptuous. I'm sorry for not saying how I felt sooner. I'm sorry for being the worst girlfriend ever. I can only ask for your forgiveness, even though I understand if you can't.
I'm going to start my life fresh again. I'm going to move on so that I can love the violin again without you being attached to that love.
I can only hope you're able to do the same.
Because even though this was a sad ending, you're still the hero of your story and the show must go on.
I just can't be your heroine.
With sincere love and sorrow,
She places the letter in the envelope and writes his name on the back. Leaving it and her apartment key on the dining room table, she gathers her things and gets to the door as quickly as possible, all so that he doesn't come back and see what she's about to do. Holding back the tears threatening to spill and ruining her resolve, she walks out their apartment for the last time, no longer looking back.
'Goodbye, Len. I'll always love you.'