my- the brightest star that shines brighter than Times Square, (hope you understood the joke)
I write this letter without knowing whether or not it will reach you, but if it does, I hope you like the jacket that is attached to it. I hope that Hikari-chan doesn't forget to tell you it's from me so you don't have to worry about size or style.
I'm writing this in a thoughtful mood, so let me start with a thought I've been having for some time. One thing you never told me about new stages is how lonely they are. I knew it in a way, I think, and it’s why… everything back then happened. I won’t make you apologize, but I do wish I could hate you a little bit for it. But I don't! I could never hate Junna-chan after all.
Where I live now there is a lot of nature. And frogs!! Not in many places, just as back at Seisho, but I know where to search for them. It’s nice finding things that remind you of home. Another thing you forgot to tell me of new stages (and that I made myself forget to believe you): they really make you miss home. Is that a normal feeling? Homesickness for a stage that you have left behind?
The Academy is nice! Your love for Shakespear and
my lo- my fondness of your rambles helped me. Did you know he never published his work himself? Some call it stupid but I think you would know that there is something nice in creating a stage that lasts only at the moment it is performed, and not later.
Yet, fun classes, new people, frog ponds, and all, I miss Seisho at times. Students here love staying on the grass during free periods or breaks. The sun here is warm, even if it rarely comes out these days. Do you remember when us nine would do that? How Karen-chan would talk loudly and Mahiru-chan would help her and Hikari-chan eat their bento? How Maya-chan would share a script with Kuro-chan? How Futaba-chan would laugh at Kaoruko-chan who tried to eat leeks?
It makes me sad, at times. There are all these people who somehow are just as lost as me, yet they have found their people. I know it’s still early- but it makes me wonder if my parents ’ moving us from place to place hadn’t been truly the problem with me not making many friends. But I won't let it keep me down! I am happy now, trying to be myself in a place that has no connections with me before. Isn't that so nice?
I started therapy too. It is… something! I found it by chance, a teacher said that our school therapist used to be a stage girl too. It is funny how the giraffe has seemed to have existed even decades ago. I’m getting help. It’s a process I can’t help but dread but it’s one that I’m happy to have started.
Therapy helps. But there are times like today when I wonder if I’ll ever have that green grass fantasy. I feel like my body is too big in this world, like a stage girl thrown in a stage where the play is different from the script I’m given. It’s the same as when my repeats ended- a strange world where the next step I took wouldn’t be one I knew. That paralyzes me sometimes, but then I remember that no matter what, even if my stage changes, I will adapt and overcome it!
I’ve written some new scripts too! Sometimes, when I stay up late at night, I hear your voice telling me to go sleep. It feels as gentle as it used to be. Is it still? Perhaps it will deepen from time and growth, maybe not. But I'm sure that you still possess the fondness I remember you had.
I don’t know why I am writing to you. I think I do, but I also don’t. My therapist told me that I had to “make peace” with what happened. That I couldn’t cover our past in white the same way I’d done with Hisame. So here I am. Writing a letter I yet don’t know if I’ll ever send, as I told you before.
So more freedom for me to just ramble as usual! I'm sure you won't mind, will you?
Today, as I was walking back to my dorm after a rehearsal, I thought of something. What difference is between loving someone for the way they love you and for the way they are? Will the first one include a frozen sense of self, simply a character on your stage that dances to your song? Is the second something I never knew how to do?
Our last revue is one I think of a lot. It feels so fresh, even if it’s been a year and some months since. Yellow that turns green, swords slashing chords away. I feel like I’m one dream away from making the choice to turn around for one last glance.
I don’t think I ever truly loved you until then. It hurts to admit this, just as it pains me to write it to you. I loved you, your shining eyes, the Junna-chan who never gave up, your hopeful attitude for a new stage. You were a stage girl that brightened my stage. You always shone so brightly. It was your brilliance that made me leave the dark repeatings that I put myself into. It was you who trusted me, who cared for me that made me make the choices I made.
But I don’t think I ever loved you the right way. If I did, maybe our paths would have been different.
Maybe we’d both chase- A lot of maybes. But this is the path I choose. The path we choose. And it’s the right one even if lonely.
Back then, you who stood before me and the you who stood upon the stage were one and the same. To me, as long as you shone as brilliantly as you ever did, you’d be the one I’d stand beside, the one who would make any stage I created shine brightly. I loved you because you were the one I could write easiest for. You didn’t possess Maya’s gentleness outside of the stage and her ferocity in it. You were you, for me, out of and on the stage.
But being a stage girl is not the same as being human. Stage girls grow and evolve with each stage- but they perform a stage that reality can’t create. It’s why we love standing on the stage, all for the freedom it gives us. It’s why I loved writing in that cold classroom all alone back then: it was all a path to a world that I couldn’t live every day on.
That wasn’t right. Even now, as I think of it, I don’t think it was. But I was a teenager, one who was slammed from one situation to another with no time to recover. I am learning how to coexist with not liking the choices I made and not disliking myself in the process.
But back to that day. That day that image cracked. That day I realized that it wasn’t the stage girl that made you- you made the stage girl. You didn’t love the future because it meant a new stage- you loved it because you could grow that way, because the thing I saw so clearly yet always missed was your love for growing and changing.
In my new play, a character says something that I do not remember how I wrote, but I like it! “If love were a bird, it’d be one that no cage could contain. If your love were a bird, it’d be the cage itself. If your love were the cage, you must know that it stops being love the moment it stops being something that can grow and change.” It’s something I enjoy having written, and one that I realize now holds feelings that I can't really put into words.
You must understand, that in the end, all I wanted was for you to shine brightly. But at the end of the day I was a teenager who thought that because something wasn’t shining brighter with each day passing, that meant that it was on the path to diminishing. I would rather destroy you who was still shining rather than see a you that had stopped being brilliant. I was a stupid banana, wasn't I? Wanting to preserve you as if you were a precious doll.
It was never my call to make that choice. I could have supported you- do anything that I should have done. But I didn’t. And I’m sorry. I could have been coming from the right place, but I was never the one that should have said whether or not your star was trash.
I hope that you will forgive me. I hope that if this letter ever reaches you, it will make you remember our good times with a smile- and our bad ones with melancholy. I hope that both of us think of our past in our stage as a precious thing.
It is midday now. I’m on the train and the view is one that even the most talented of writers would have trouble writing. I enjoy the greenery. I enjoy the color green.
Where are you now when you read this? Is it night there? Or is it a day as bright as this one? I try to imagine you reading this but unlike with scripts, my imagination fails to create an image that might be similar to the you I remember.
I really hope you have stopped pulling off all-nighters. Or that you have someone
like me- someone who will give you a warm tea and tell you to take breaks and eat. You have always been an overworking person, trying to convince yourself and others that you deserved to stand on the stage.
I hope you know that even if you were half of what you are, I’d still think you were the brightest star of all.
This letter has gotten long. It wasn’t by choice, but I'm still sorry!!!
I wish for you to be safe. For you to have not felt regret over the choices that you have made. For you to sleep with a smile even after a tiring day. For you to have found the starry sky you have always wanted to explore.
I hope you are happy. That the weight you have always had in your shoulders has at least lessened. And that you feel happy wherever you are.
I hope you are well.
I hope that your promise of another stage will be one you keep
I hope that you, Hoshimi Junna, are shining as much as you have always wanted to. That the skies you explore are happy to have a new bright star join them.
I love you. I hope you know that too. I now realize that I love the stage girl Hoshimi Junna that keeps aiming for the stars and the Hoshimi Junna that loves to study the stage before standing on it. I love you who is perfect and I love the you who isn’t. Both as Daiba Nana and as stage girl Daiba Nana and even as director Daiba.
I won’t ask Junna-chan to reply, but I hope that I can hear from Hikari-chan that you are doing well.
Waiting for you on the path to our stage
With all the love a protector of stars can have for the brightest of stars,
This is Hikari. I haven’t read what Nana wrote. But I saw her throw away a ticket before she gave me this letter. So I'm putting this letter inside her envelope.
She has her first debut as a director and scriptwriter. The play is called “The star chaser bird”. I think she would want you to have that ticket.
You don’t have to come. But either way, keep the ticket. Even holding Karen’s letter used to be enough for me when I lived in London before Seisho.
I hope you are doing well. I’ll see you soon back in Japan, hopefully.