Title: The Speed of 125kts/h.
Summary: What does 125kts/h feel like? Tell me.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the mentioned. This is purely a work of fiction.
Music is my life.
Anyone fueled by passion declares it easily.
Everyone just says it, until they are really living it.
The job is my life.
I would think I live 3 different ways.
First would be pre-album, conceptualizing, recording…
After our album is completed it would be doing promos, which include touring, filming videos.
Lastly, it would be just the few weeks annual break; going back home to Hyogo to visit the family.
We got what we wanted. Annual tours in America and Europe, sharing the stage with other international acts. Has a Japanese band gotten this far in the English dominant rock world?
To tell you the truth, I’m kind of tired. Success hasn’t made my head any bigger; it just makes my heart heavier. Responsibilities, living up to other people’s expectations… Let's not go there it just makes me wearier.
The dusty Gundam figurines at my Tokyo apartment came into my mind. When my mind idles, it takes me back to my childhood.
In the past I was dutifully cleaning them weekly; they shine on top of my television.
Whenever I had friends over, the guys would fawn over the latest models I had bought and pieced together. Girls never wanted anything to do with robots or geeks for the matter.
Anyway, I’m presently holed up in Haneda, waiting for the flight to Osaka where we are doing 3 shows.
Outside, among the vast cement fields, planes are strongly grounded, their weight rooted by gravity.
We have been inside this departure hall plenty of times. The cushioned seats have lost their puffiness through the years; some of them are depressed permanently, concaved by the weight of the many people who sat on it every day. An odd number of seats retained their springy characteristic, bouncing back up when you rest on them.
I have just finished a few pages from an English phrasebook. Just learning a few essential phrases to get around by myself around the US and UK. I find it ridiculous having a translator around when I’m on tour. I want to be more personal with the other bands we are sharing the stage with, rather than have some third party relaying my messages, it’s too tedious, and moreover it just seems insincere.
So far, I’m memorizing sentences with regards to music technicalities. I hope to exchange ideas and thoughts with other musicians. Die and Toshiya are more into the situation of picking up people to end their night with.
Getting restless, I looked up at the clock on the wall.
The singular red LED dots bleed into numerals.
We still got 15 minutes more before take off, I suppose boarding would be anytime soon.
“Lighting up,” Die gestured with his Zippo with the other two smokers in tow to the lounge.
Left behind with me is our drummer, Shinya, sitting adjacent to me with a magazine on his thighs, face turned towards the window, staring out. Tracing his gaze, I found him following a jet on the runway.
In the mere seconds that trickled by, the aircraft sped up the runway, its nose tilted towards the sky, steadily soaring, the tiny wheels tuck themselves back into place. At a certain altitude, the engine morphed into a lonesome seagull against the faded sky, above the calming waters.
“Slow isn’t it?”
Shinya turned to face me, wordlessly, he nodded.
“It’s actually going at 125 to 175 knots when it’s lifting off.”
His brown eyes flickered over to me, a clueless, indignant spirit that read “Why are you telling me this? Why are we talking?”
“Guess you are not that much interested in planes,” the stupid words that expel from my mouth when I want to fill a void. The unnecessary things I do just to pass time.
The things that get under your skin.
Silence continued, only to be broken when he fidgeted on his chair.
“It seems so slow, but traveling at a speed like that…” his voice cracked, naturally like someone who hadn’t opened his mouth in a while.
“When you’re seated inside the craft, you can’t feel it can you?”
He paused for a moment, thinking, his viewpoint moved to the ceiling of the hall we are in, lower lip sucked in a thin line.
“Sorry, I haven’t given that a thought,” he admitted, eyes darting nervously, anticipating some kind of uproar from me.
Taken aback from my question, he jolted on his seat. The artificial lamps of the hall played a light show on his features.
“I don’t know? Feel like I’ve disappointed you?”
Japanese people sure have a weird way of expressing their feelings. I have been told before by those ‘gaijins’ on tour. The word ‘sorry’ is used so often it is confused with ‘excuse me’ or ‘don’t mind.’ Does one say sorry to appease the other party? Are we afraid of what others that we have to kneel before they even raise their hands?
We have spent more than a decade together, why are we speaking to each other so formally? Is there a need to apologize?
“Disappoint me? You hardly. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today!” He managed a smile. I could have sworn I saw his shoulders move, the tenseness in them dissipated.
Footsteps echoed from a distance. Thick soles made clunking noises; instantly I knew who it was approaching.
Kyo. Who else could it be, George Cox creepers and accessories wrapped on his wrist.
Grabbing his satchel he tossed me his lighter, “Go ahead and take a light before boarding.”
I know I’m seated next to Shinya on the plane; how he hated the smell of smoke.
I know he would ask for apple juice when the air stewardess pushes her drink cart down the aisle.
I know that when he slept, he snores, softly, from the weariness of our schedule.
I know his mouth would be semi-open, his lips parted, and they fade from a moist light pink when they are dry.
I know so much about him a normal person would think it’s peculiar.
Do I know this much about the rest of them as well? Probably do, since we spend most of our time together.
“Let’s go in.”
Toshiya was engaged in some intense conversation with Die, so much that his perm locks bobbed up and down. Our peroxide blonde vocalist has his hands busy, scrambling for something in his bag.
“Shit…boarding pass….is it?” he muttered, digging through his belongings frantically. We are getting closer and closer to the door of the Boeing. Two slim stewardesses with their friendly business smiles stood, waiting to show passengers to their seats.
“Here!” Fukawa-san* our manager exclaimed and he competently passed the tickets to the ladies.
Thank goodness for managers.
“This way down,” she extended her graceful arms and we followed.
Domestic airplanes are really small. Just a 3 by 3 row separated by an aisle, pretty simple.
Walking towards our seats, the plane-smell, somewhat like stale air filled my lungs. I regretted not smoking for a bit. Thankfully, a young woman passed me, her perfume wafted in the air, soothing my senses.
While waiting for the line in front of me to get settled in their seats, I scanned the view before me.
People. It’s assorted; businessmen with their overnighters and laptops, Zen-like elderly couples, some chatty students on vacation, and the usual handful of excited tourists share this flight with us. Along the aisle, slender, uniformed employees stretched their limbs, placing baggage into the overhead compartment.
“Thank you,” an old woman bowed towards the stewardess who returned it.
Finally, we reached our row. 22, the number indicated on my ticket.
Behind me, a voice asked meekly, “Do you want the window seat?” Shinya shifted his foot, looking down at the carpet, avoiding my gaze.
“You can have it.” His thin body brushed passed me.
Gingerly, he moved into his seat, sideways. He lifted his arm up to adjust the a/c, a strip of bare skin peeked from in between his shirt and his pants. Despite the summer tours we had in the States, days playing in the blazing sun, his body still remained pale. The light golden brown tan has long gone before winter had arrived.
“Please buckle up…” the pilot said his greetings and made a long announcement before take-off.
Click. Click. Click.
A mass of clicking sounds arose in the plane with all the passengers obediently sitting upright and paying attention to the stewardess doing their life-saving drill. This kind of bored me as I have seen that plenty of times plus my eyes can’t seem to keep up with the fastidious procedures.
Instead, they strayed to my friend on the right who wasn’t listening as well.
Shinya brought his face close to his window, the soft evening sun coming through causing his hair to glow against the light. From where I was, it subtly looked like a halo. “Beautiful”, the only word that came to my mind. Die had mentioned it before, “tips to nail a chick Kaoru!”
Long, slim fingers pressed against the looking glass. It was then I noticed, the scenery started to roll.
A temporary fog imprints itself on the window, blurring the view. Did a sigh just escape from him? Soon it clears, giving way to the scenery. And we find ourselves passing the air control tower in a flash you’d forget you did in that instant.
Because the view right now is priceless, there it was, gold, shimmering off the surface of the Pacific, the sign of a setting sun.
“I know,” whispery words flowed from his mouth. They come by so gently, as if I had imagined him speaking. “I think I know the speed of 125 knots per hour,” he grabbed my right hand, hastily; pressed it close his chest, wanting me to feel his heart rate, which was beating furiously in his rib cage. In a split second, he let me go, dropped my hand back and it hit the arm rest hard.
What was this?
Unexplainable action that brought upon a strange, shy awkwardness. He once again had turned away from me. But I can clearly see his ears, flushed, like an ink splotch on paper.
His pulse, I can still feel them. They are reverberating back into me like sound waves being emitted through the pores of his fair skin. Sudden warmth rushed through me, cruising through my veins, the nerves on my fingers prickled.
Was that static electricity?
“You’ve got that wrong."
For a moment, he was baffled. His thin brows knitted themselves a confused and hurt expression.
“That was more than 125 knot per hour,” I informed him.
“Feel it here,” I grabbed his flat palm, clasping it with mine. “125 knots per hour!”
And he smiled his beautiful smile, slow an eternal, a playback my memory will always keep.
Author's Notes: I loved that picture. I just came back from a trip out of the country maybe that’s why that picture appealed to me a lot. * Denotes the manager who is fictional. I forgot their manager’s name!!! Thanks for the pictures you guys posted, sometimes in public, I find myself daydreaming, wondering the life of KaoruxShinya for real! Silly, obsessed me. I haven’t written any deg fics in ages and lost touch with their personality ): I hope I did nail them properly... Happy New Year!