Damn real: chapter 24

“I can’t believe this is goodbye. Well, for now.” Wei shrugged. She was standing with Niall and Kimmy at Dulles Airport, the three were about the head off into security and then their gate. “You guys better rock it. Ft. Hana is such a huge group. I’m super excited for you.” Namie beamed at her cousin. “Ft. Hana and Wei Ishigo performing together! This is a dream come true!” Kimmy giggled eagerly as Niall shushed her, not wanting to ruin the moment for the two cousins. “Thanks for being so supportive of me and helping me move to D.C. You’re honestly more family to me than my immediate family, and I have only known you for four years of my life.” “You’re the sister I never had, Namie. Thank you.” The two hugged before they had to go their separate ways. “I’ll be sure to Facebook spam you like crazy! You better respond to my messages!” Wei screamed from the security line. “I will! We better at least talk once a week or I’m going to forget who you are!” Namie shouted back. And just like that, Wei, Niall, and Kimmy disappeared into the crowd of people. Feeling a little lonely, Namie began to leave the airport. It was a somber experience. Her cousin and one of her best friends, she was off to Japan to further her career as a singer and idol. It was a reminder to Namie that she could be doing the same with her life. What she had always admired about Wei was that she was persistent and followed her dreams, putting them first. Maybe it was time for her to do the same. Shaking off the thought, Namie reminded herself of her career. She was a Finance Generalist, on track to become an Assistant Director of Finance. Yes, she is a part of Yukickz, but realistically, she would not be a full-time dancer anytime soon.

It was the end of another performance, this time, for the Sakura Matsuri Street Festival. The crowd cheered loudly as Namie finished her act. “Thank you, everyone! Thank you for having us at the Festival!” Taiki bellowed. Getting off stage, Namie smiled to herself. It was unbelievable that Yukickz got to perform for them, but it was also a great feeling, being met with so much applause and praise. “You were so cool up there!” A bystander shouted to her. “Mom! I want to learn how to dance, just like her!” Another little girl pointed at Namie as she walked past her. “Hi. I would just like to say that I was really impressed by your dancing. What was the name of the last song you performed to?” A young woman wearing thick sunglasses approached her. “It was Koda Kumi’s Taboo. It’s one of my favorites, just because of the beat, and how it shares a message about embracing the unusual, unaccepted, and unorthodox.” Namie smiled. “I’m glad to hear that you like the song. And that you understand the message of it.” The young woman lowered her sunglasses, revealing her face to Namie. She was none other than Koda Kumi herself. “Holy shit!” She gasped, trying not to draw too much attention to them. “What is your name?” “I’m Namie Merrimen. You have no idea how big of a fan of your work I am. Your songs, they’re all super progressive and just have a catchy beat. For my showcase in my dance class, I even performed to Damn Real because of how much the strong inspired me.” She admitted. “I need somebody with your poise and agility. Namie, would you like to become one of my backup dancers?” The accountant could not believe her ears. In fact, she was convinced that she was hallucinating at that very point in time, and that she was actually talking to a random Japanese woman. However, a couple blinks later, she realized that it was not a lie. That really was Koda Kumi standing in front of her.

“Here, I’ll give you my number. Keep in mind this is my assistant’s cell, and that the number won’t work after a week or two, since that’s when I’ll be coming back to Japan.” “Thank you so much. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.” Namie smiled. “The cherry blossoms in D.C., I heard that they are the only ones to rival Japan’s. I wanted to see those flowers for myself. I am glad I was able to, and I was glad that they helped me meet you as well.” She waved as she disappeared back into the crowd discreetly. Namie was still stunned. She had just met her hero and had been given her number. She had a very hard decision to make now. Did she want to pursue her dreams of becoming a dancer, or continue down her path in accounting? In the past, Namie had always turned down a better opportunity to make somebody else happier. But in this case, she was given two equally valid choices, both just as good as the other. “Crap.” She muttered to herself as she continued to think it over on the walk back. “Well the plus side to taking this could be that I would be working for Koda Kumi and that could make my dance career. The downside, I am giving up my entire life here. But another plus is that this could be the first dancing related job I can put on my resume.” She began. “But it does not pay nearly as much as my current position. And it is not a stable career. I would only be needed whenever Koda is filming or choreographing for a music video or live performance.” She was starting to see some of the major flaws to taking this offer.

Pacing back and forth in her room, Namie continued to ponder what would happen should she take this offer. Her apartment, her family, her entire lifestyle, it would be different. But would that be a bad thing? Right now, her accounting job offers her stability, a decent income, a promise for a promotion, but she had little to any emotional investment in the work. To be a dancer, Namie would take a major pay cut, would have very little autonomy with her day to day lifestyle, having to drop whatever it is that she is doing if she is needed for recording, and while she would have a huge celebrity in Japan on her resume, she could be in the background, not the spotlight, and there was no promise that her dancing career would take off right away, or there would be no knowing when her career would even become a real thing. It was a tough call to make. She started to think about the aspect of needing to be in the spotlight. While she was really used to it between her performances in Yukickz and Melissa’s showcase, did she need to be in it to be happy? No. Dancing makes her smile. Being able to let loose and forget about the other horrible aspects of her daily life, that was what dancing did for her. To make that her life, it was beginning to sound more and more like what she wanted to do, despite the cons that would come with it. Suddenly, becoming a backup dancer was not sounding so bad. If anything, it was sounding better than having to deal with yet another arduous month end. Namie pulled out her cellphone, began to dial, her heart race, and her conscious begging her to reconsider what could be the biggest risk she could ever make. She might be throwing away her career in finance.


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