Kaya didn’t expect the trajectory of his life to take such a sharp turn because of one of many passing conversations between his coworkers that he overheard. As he stands behind the entrance to the God Troupe’s theater with a dandelion bouquet in hand, he wonders where he would be, had he not half-mindedly Googled what his coworkers talked about.
“What was it called again? The Mankai Company, right?”
“They don’t stand a chance.”
Mankai; full bloom. The name stood out to Kaya. It didn’t tug on him, nor was it incessantly prodding him; it wasn’t like it was begging to be found out. Kaya could’ve easily forgotten about it if he’d had more pressing responsibilities and commitments to tend to when he heard that name, but his agenda for the day happened to be looser than it usually was.
“God troupe act off,” he typed into the search bar, not thinking much of it.
He pulled a drawer out and grabbed a few documents before taking a sip of his coffee while the page loaded. The titles of the search result told him that a new, small company was facing off with the God Troupe. One of their four troupes, the Winter Troupe, was going to face off with them for their debut.
He gathered that much from the titles and descriptions of the webpages on the first page of the results. He could’ve closed the tab and focused on his work, but his interest was piqued. Had his workload been heavier, he would’ve done just that, but, again, he didn’t have much to do.
He clicked on the link to the Mankai Company’s website, noting how well-done it is for a company that was so small and new. Not to judge a book by its cover, but Kaya thought from the layout alone that saying they “didn’t stand a chance” against the God Troupe was a reach. He clicked on the Winter Troupe’s page.
“So this is where Takato moved to?”
He took into account that the God Troupe may have blacklisted him with their power, that there was a good chance he had no other choice than to go there. Still, Kaya thought that any great actor, especially one with Tasuku Takato’s reputation, would think of what’s best for themself when making such huge changes in their career. Kaya’s co-workers’ dismissal of the company was seeming more and more shallow to him while he kept reading.
Again, for a company that pretty much started from scratch, it was a great feat for them to have sold out all of their troupes’ closing nights, and a considerable amount of their other shows. The synopsis of the Winter Troupe’s play was unique, something he hadn’t seen touched on a lot.
He scrolled through a few of the latest posts from the company’s blog. It was a little messy, but the personalities of the actors shone through in them.
The more he found out about the company, the more oddly defensive from his coworker’s comments he felt for it. The feeling felt unjustified; he’d never seen any of their plays before, he didn’t know any of the actors or the director personally, and he’d never even heard of them before that day.
He took another sip of his coffee as he opened the cast and credits for the Winter Troupe’s play to see if there would be any familiar names.
Director: Izumi Tachibana
Scriptwriter: Tsuzuru Minagi
Costume Designer: Yuki Rurikawa
Poster Designer & Web Designer: Kazunari Miyoshi
Set Designer: Tetsuro Iwai
Manager: Isuke Matsukawa
Financial Advisor: Sakyo Furuichi
There it was.
He felt his heart dip to the pit of his stomach. While his heart was still there, his stomach tied itself into knots. A name he hadn’t heard or read in years was suddenly there, on display on his work monitor. The slightest heat rushed to the back of his neck and ears, and he gulped.
The name alone opened memories in his mind that had been collecting dust over the years. The warmth of the setting sun on his skin while he picked dandelions with his first and best friend, the plays he put on for his big, lively household, and many a pair of sea green eyes focused on him but none of the unbearable pressure that he usually felt having all eyes on him.
Scriptwriter: Tsuzuru Minagi
So, he still wrote plays after all this time?
No, it’s probably a coincidence, he tells himself. His heart raced when he realized that he didn’t find out anything about the Spring Troupe. Tapping on their icon, five actors’ headshots appeared on display on his screen. Those downturned, sea-green eyes were unmistakably those of a Minagi’s.
Now, here he was, seated on his seat at the God Troupe’s theater, nervously awaiting the Mankai Company’s production. Hours later, he was moved to tears, clutching the dandelion bouquet in his hand and clapping a gentle applause that blended in with the hundreds of others in a standing ovation so that he wouldn’t ruin the bouquet.
Sympathy for the Angel was certainly a far cry from what he’d written for his brothers when they were children, but it was undoubtedly one written by Tsuzuru. Mankai; full bloom. A warmth envelops his heart when he thinks of the company’s name in relation to Tsuzuru. Truly, Tsuzuru had fully bloomed.
He would know, wouldn’t he?
No, he thinks. He wouldn’t.
He abandoned Tsuzuru. What right did he have to act as if he’d known him for years? A lump forms in his throat and his stomach ties itself into a knot again. He trembles and his applause comes to a slow stop, suddenly self-conscious about the dandelion bouquet he’d brought with him.
Later, when Tsuzuru goes to throw away his bottled water, he sees a dandelion bouquet in the trash and frowns.