You find the page you were looking for and begin asking him questions; ones about being the oldest in the group, about when they first became a success, and if he has anyone that ever inspired him personally. Typical responses follow; it’s hard being the oldest, the group looks to him as well as the leader for advice and he feels responsible for their actions. When they first had a song hit the top 10 and won their first variety show trophy, they were all shocked, believing it to be unreal. After several wins, it was hard to not get a big head but they agreed it might be a fluke and vowed to continue to work hard for more wins. After that life became hectic, over scheduled, and busier than ever. Group inspiration was of course Michael Jackson; the dancing and story-telling of his music video's having a large impact on things they wanted to do and how they wanted their music to be.
When it comes to the last question he pauses; a long enough pause for you to look up from what you're writing and glance over to see if you had lost the connection. He has his elbows up on the desk and his hands over his mouth. He seems to be carefully putting together his thoughts, looking right through you as he mulled them over. It feels awkward, without understanding what the problem is.
“I am still here Noona. I am deciding how I want to phrase it.”
You raise an eyebrow in confusion. “Phrase it? That sounds like having a personal muse is difficult, is it? You can have more than one you know,” you tease him.
He doesn’t return your smile but continues to stare at you through the screen.
He lowers his arms and begins;
“When I was a trainee, it was difficult, it is difficult for everyone. Schoolwork, voice lessons, dance lessons, my weight. While others left their families and moved into the dorms right off, I was allowed to stay at home for a short time. Getting to know new people is an adjustment. Not everyone makes it through being a trainee. Some are dismissed because they fall behind in studies or classes; others simply give up, finding it too hard to make all the changes needed. There are also times where you starve and have nothing to even purchase food with. I almost left. Then, a couple of months into training everyone got all excited about a new female group that had just debuted. Tales of four beautiful women who not only sang as angels but danced like the male groups, even hip hop. I watched them; researched them and one in particular stuck with me. I read about her struggles, how she overcame them, and told myself that if she could do it, so could I." He gets a little closer to the screen, "You remind me of her in a lot of ways, Noona; it perplexes me.”
You can't help but be stunned. “Wow, that’s a huge compliment. Thank you.”
He nods and sits back again. “It most definitely is one.”
“Does this female idol have a name?”
“She is no longer in the business. She encountered a difficulty she couldn't overcome and left after defending a friend. It ruined her career. I prefer to remember her as she was; strong, loyal, and talented.”
As he was explaining why he would not give you her name; your heart stops. It can’t be, but it's too coincidental. You quickly dig around through the paperwork and found his details. He was a trainee during Squalls debut. You still can’t wrap your head around the possibility and determine to do more research to find out if any other female idols left the business under those circumstances.
You’ve heard of idols who inspire and encourage each other, as Sunbae and Hoobae, surely he’s talking about something like that. But you have to make sure.
“ A question?” You ask timidly.
“An answer?” he replies with a smirk.
You attempt a smile, “If I compile a list of female idols that have left the business in the last 11 years, would you confirm with me who she was?”
His head tilts as he considers, “Why is it important Noona?”
“I’m just curious. Would you?”
“I will determine that at that time.”
The two of you finish up the call, having it end on a much more serious note than it began.