Volume 1: Chapter 1
In the waiting room, half of the people were silent while touching their cell phones, and half of the people were talking to each other. I looked around, trying to ignore their pretentious conversations.
I heard that since they are all ordinary people, make-up would be done here, but most of them had already done their makeup. People here and there were sparkling. Like a participant of an idol selection program, I looked at the people around warmly, then stopped and looked still at a man whose double eyelid looked particularly prominent because of makeup.
“Hyung, why are you turning your eyes like that?”
Startled by his face’s sudden appearance, I banged the back of my head on the wall. With a shy smile, Joon’s eyes were covered in light makeup.
“You’re wearing a uniform.”
When I told him that while I was roughly rubbing the back of my head, Joon smiled and shook his uniform’s vest.
“It’s my school’s uniform. The writer told me to wear my school uniform. But I heard that we’re going to put on makeup right away. What are you doing here, hyung? Let’s go quick.”
“I have legs, too. I’ll walk on my feet.”
Joon suddenly pulled the hem of his clothes and walked towards the dressing room that was connected to the waiting room. The shirt, which was so stiff from being ironed, was pulled back and forth like a piece of paper.
“The interview will last for over 30 minutes. You don’t have to do it.”
“Not at all?”
“It’s not even gonna be broadcasted, what’s the point of doing it. We can’t put all the 32 participant’s interview anyway. No one will think that it’s weird even if you don’t show up.”
My uncle casually said and opened a bottled water. I felt a little sad about the ‘obviously‘ words. Everyone probably wanted to debut, but they couldn’t even be shown on the screen.
“If you split it little by little, wouldn’t everyone be able to go in?”
“Who broadcasts like that? We’re going to edit it and put only those who give a good reaction and are good at talking. Only then will people watch it. It’ll only get worse in the second half, once the rankings are measured, most of the kids on the lower rank will get edited out. That’s how broadcasting works.”
My uncle hurriedly drank half of the bottle water and roughly wiped the corner of his mouth. It is said that a broadcast needs to have fun and interesting elements so people will watch it, it appears that it was not empty words when the people who appeared on a survival program said that it was difficult.
“Just stay here and pretend that you came out of the interview. Once the interview is done, you will go on the stage right away.”
“Will all 33 participants do it?”
“Everyone has to do it. It will take quite some time. 5 hours at most? We’re going to shoot it all at once and divide it into 1 and 2 episodes. The participants will comment on each other while watching the stage, and after filming is over, we will post the stage footage on the home page. From there, the number of dropouts will be based on the number of recommendations.”
“The scale is large. The program also comes with a website, but what if the number of recommendations is manipulated?”
“We strictly prevented the number of recommendations from being manipulated.”
So I sat on the floor for a while and listened to my uncle’s explanation. When the profile picture is published on the homepage, and the official article goes out, such important information. I listened carefully, but it was clear that I would soon forget it.
“Hey, in about 5 minutes everyone will be out. Go over there and stand.”
At the urging of my uncle, I got up and went back to the place where we had gathered earlier. As soon as I arrived at the center, the door opened from the other room and someone came out, so I quickly stretched out my arms and pretended that I just finished the interview.
“Ah, I think I stuttered because I was nervous…”
With an awkward voice, I stretched out once and glanced into the eye of the person next to me, it was that person. That person who was standing in line at the concert hall. The one who was staring at me in the dressing room.
The face without the hat had softer eyes than what he expected. I didn’t know because his eyes were covered earlier, but his fully exposed face was the perfect celebrity image. I admired his face for a few seconds without realizing it because his face had no flaws. It’s really harmonious, and if you ask me, I think he looks pretty.
Ah, I was staring blankly again. By the time I realized it, the other side was already staring at me.
I tried to look away again, but this time, I failed. It was because he was approaching this way little by little. Maybe he finished the interview early, since there was no sign of anyone coming out from the other rooms. When I asked him why he was looking at me, there was no answer.
“Did you have a good interview?”
The words that came out from the lips that were tightly closed in a straight line were different from what I imagined. He asked a very ordinary question with a good voice that made me think that he will do really well once he sings. I couldn’t answer honestly, but I answered quickly because it was the most proper conversation in this situation.
“I think I stuttered a little because I was nervous.You… there, did you do well?”
Even though I had said it, my head dropped at the awkward calling. Usually, when asked a question like this, asking the other person the same question is the best way to keep the conversation going, but it’s not good if you do it without knowing the other person’s name.
I thought I should say something, but I couldn’t say anything for a while. I thought he was at a loss because I called him ‘You there’ so I was about to raise my head, when he dropped the name.
“It’s Jigu (Earth)”
“It’s my name.”
(T/N: Yeah, his name is Jigu which means Earth XD)
At first I wanted to ask why he suddenly said Earth, turns out it was his name. When I heard Joon’s name, I could compliment it for being a neat and concise name, but I don’t know how to respond to this. His name is astronomical. This is a bit…
“It’s a very memorable name. Last is Ji and first name Gu…?”
“No, the last name is different.”
Shouldn’t it be said with the last name? At this point, he should be saying it again with his last name, but Jigu remained silent. Now we have lost the topic of conversation. There was nothing more to say, but Jigu stood still and kept on staring to see if I had any intention of going over there.
“My name is Park Hahyun.”
I tried to resume the conversation by introducing my name too, but Jigu quietly nodded and answered a word and ended the conversation. He seems like he doesn’t talk much, but I’m not a very friendly person either, so conversations were not easy.
“I am nineteen.”
“Ah, I’m twenty.”
As I stood quietly, Jigu brought up the talk about age first. As expected, he was still a student. Even though they were only one year apart, he felt young. Is this the difference between a teenager and a 20 years old?
“If you’re a senior highschool, then you must be busy.”
Isn’t it, if he’s dreaming of becoming an idol, wouldn’t he be busy practicing dancing and singing? Still, high school seniors don’t really study that much.
Hearing my question, Jigu slowly blinked his eyes. it was slow enough to be mistaken for slow motion.
“I go to an arts school so I didn’t really study that much.”
“You go to an arts school?”
So he’s an arts student. Suddenly, a sense of unity arose, and when I asked with my eyes wide open, I bit my lip slightly, then let go and nodded my head. Then he said the name of his school.
“I go to Korean Arts High School.”
“Ah, I also graduated from there.”
These can only be coincidences. Among the many Korean Arts High School students, he did not expect for one of them to be among the 33 participants. The thoughts that had been buried in my memories suddenly came to mind, and the conversation began to proceed smoothly without interruption.
“Which department are you from?”
“I’m from the practical dance department.”
“I was also from the practical dance department, if we were in the same department, then we might have met.”
“I know right.’
After a pause, an answer came out. As a lot of the awkwardness from the beginning began to fade and we started to talk like normal senior and junior, the people who finished their interview came out one by one. Of course, Joon was also mixed among them.
“Hyung, did you finish well? Ah. Hello. Nice to meet you…”
Joon, the only person I’m close with here, naturally walked this way, found Jigu standing next to me, and stopped his feet for a moment. He looked at me as he said hello, probably embarrassed by the face he saw for the first time.
“We just met. He was also from the same school that I graduated from.”
“Ah, do you know each other?”
“No, that’s not it.”
“You went to the same school, but you’ve never met before?”
“I didn’t really see him.”
I was wondering what to do with Jigu who seemed uncomfortable with Joon’s sudden appearance, fortunately Joon’s sociability was demonstrated here once again.
“Hello. Are you older?”
“If you’re younger than nineteen.”
“Then you are. Can I call you hyung?”
“Hyung, did you have a nice interview?”
He really is a sponge. I wondered if this was the case with all the participants here. After a few words of conversation, the two men, who seemed to have overcome the awkwardness, turned around at the same time. We only saw each other today and we won’t see each other anymore, but I’ve already made two acquaintances.
(T/N: Sponge: Someone who is easily accepting or can adapt easily.)
“Hyung, what are you two going for the performance today?”
“Wow, confident answers. I also have a talent.”
Joon, who was in a position to dance right away, asked if we could take a look at his performance, hurriedly restored his posture when someone said that we will now move to another area.