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alone (now, more so than ever)

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For a long time now, Eunbi has got nothing but hope in her heart. That’s all she’s got because right now, there is simply nothing left for her to do. 

She has tried her damn hardest - that’s all she can say. For the past two years, she has tried to be the best version of herself, has tried to live up to everyone’s expectations, her own expectations, she has tried. And tried and tried still, even if her throat had turned sore, even if her legs had given out on her. 

Yet, everything had still come to an end. 

She realizes now that she had been striving for the impossible. She had only been a chess piece in a game, absolutely insignificant to larger events, miniscule in comparison to the game makers, the damn players. If only she had been something, if only… 

Standing here alone, she wonders how life could have been much simpler had she not gone through with the survival show. She wonders how the ache that continues to persist, even now, would not even have existed if she had just stayed at home for a little while longer.

But, she sees their faces, clear as day in the light and they’re always smiling, always a comfort to her, they’re her bunch of people who always seem to bring a sort of warmth that makes her heart calm. She can’t help but falter a little bit - she’s always had a soft spot for them.

Now that everything has ended, she can think. And when she does, she comes to a realization that no, she would not have traded the time spent as a part of IZ*ONE for anything in the world. She would have swum to the deepest part of the sea, made wax wings to fly to the sun if it meant being a part of the group.

She would have done anything.

Eunbi feels a little like crying. 

God, she even misses the faint voices of Yuri, Chaewon and Yena singing loudly in the other room, misses the way all twelve of them will sit in front of the television screen eating late night snacks, misses Hyewon’s ability to make everything seem so, so easy, misses Minju laughing at her not-so-funny jokes.

She keeps on missing them.

She wants to see Chaeyeon dance, hear Sakura’s shocked exclamation that never fails to make her smile, wants to listen to Nako talk intensely about what she’s learnt and watched recently, wants to see Yujin envelop her members in bone-crushing hugs. She wishes sometimes that Wonyoung will not grow up so quickly, and that Hitomi will feel less homesick. 

She keeps on wanting them here, beside her just like before.

Now, Eunbi’s the one feeling homesick. It’s really not easy, being so far away, seeing the headlines come out week after week, talking about their final hurrah. It’s a bittersweet feeling still and she does not know when it will fade away - this constant ache in her chest.

Here she stands alone, on this colossal stage with no one in sight, with no voice other than her own to calm her beating heart, with no hand to hold. She is undoubtedly alone, now, more so than ever. 

There is a slow rumble, though it is a little faint in the beginning. Yet. when she walks on ahead, and feels the costume she dons rubbing harshly against her skin, the noises grow in intensity and volume. 

And, when she looks around her - forgetting for a moment that she is now alone - she clenches her fists a little tighter, wills herself to take deep breaths and tells herself that yes, she can do it. She can do anything.

When she is finally under the light - where it had been warm before - everything just feels painful. The glaring lights shine down on her, like the spotlight of a car shining on you right before it proceeds to run you over.

it is now always blinding, unforgiving.

She has always wanted this. So, why does she feel this way? 

It’s in her hands now, and she can weave it into something, something real and sweet. She can do it, truly, but the sounds are terrifying and the lights are oh-so blinding.

God knows how long she has wanted this. Eunbi wants to want this. She wants to be successful and happy. She wants to be contented with what she has now but everything just seems to be a cheap imitation of what she once had.

There is a gaping hole in her chest.

She wants to scream for someone to take her hand so that everything will look golden again, not fiery red where the lights threaten to burn her eyes. She’s in front of everyone yet she sees no one at all.

It irritates her, makes her want to kick something, because goddammit, everything’s different.

And she feels so achingly empty. This feels wrong. 

Yet she has to smile still because that is all she can do alone, though her hand still shakes, her heart still falters and her smile is obviously tight. This is what’s expected of her now.

After it all ends, she looks at herself through the mirror.

God, who the hell am I?

There are glitters to beautify, there is red tint on her face - perhaps it is to make her look more alive - and she is undoubtedly made to allure. She doesn’t really feel like herself at all. And maybe that says something. 

In the car, she stares out the window. It is so quiet, too quiet.

She thinks of before. She wonders how long the ache will last, wonders when she will feel better again, when she will feel less alone. She wonders…

Then, she drifts off to sleep and she dreams of her members laughing like they had all the time in the world.