"And the first place of this week goes to......STAYC!!! Congratulations!"
I feel Sumin's gaze on us, and ours on hers, as the staff hands over the trophy to Sumin and gestures us to get on stage.
Everything was happening in a minute, we head over to the stage in a line and take off our masks, at this point it still doesn't settle in. It is until Sumin pauses in her speech, trying to hold back her tears, it hits all of us as I feel my nose swelling in sourness.
Someone who was still hiding in bathrooms a week ago, is suddenly tearing up at the fruit of effort. Is she finally realizing the worth of everything? The struggle, the hopelessness, the depression. Maybe.
I turn around, and Jayoon is fanning herself, her eyes as moist as mine. In our usual practice, Jayoon is never one to complain or showing a bad face, not to mention crying. But now she is, and for a moment I take my responsibility as an older sister to fan her as well.
Her lips are twitching hard, and I bet it is hard for her to hold back tears too when it is an emotional moment like this. Being someone who cries more often, I totally understand how that feels especially when she is such a ball of joy on most days.
"It's okay to cry, Jayoon ah," I mouth to her with a smile, but that seems to push the button as she shakes her head, but tears threatening to roll down. I quickly fan her again, only realizing that Sumin and Sieun both finished their speec