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My brown-eyed stare is seen as nothing but insane to most people. Blood rushed through me swifter than the speed of light. Tough, heavy, breathing as my thoughts become hazy. Wild with need as I scroll through the lone night. There were countless days yearning for love I cannot have. Multiple moments where I have been let down. But oh, how those five boys could make me laugh, cry, and put up a fight. In sorrow waves, I will drown. Many people are too afraid to write about this incident, but I have to speak out about it. A hidden documentary of a One Direction fan experience on the infamous incident of Zayn Malik’s departure is about to be released.

In the beginning, I was 8 years old. It was mid-summer of 2010 as I was blasting generic pop music in the privacy of my four pink walls. At this time, my walls were blank before I overflowed them with multiple posters. These walls had no idea what they were coming for, and neither was I. I fell into a deep hole watching ‘One Direction funny moments’ on YouTube, for some wild reason they were so interesting to watch.

I could feel myself becoming addicted, not brainwashed, but addicted as I click video after video. I never knew I would be so obsessed. Their music, personalities, humor, the way they help the world, their awareness, and their nonstop support for their fans are some of the reasons why I become a so-called ‘Directioner’. When I was growing up, I was going through some tough situations and once I played some of their songs, I felt safe. I felt like I could listen to their lyrics and voices for the rest of my life. I know it sounds silly, but they have been there for me when no one else was. Since 2010, I knew I was in it for the long run.

One of the members specifically caught my eye, and it was Zayn Malik. I had the impression that I could relate to him a lot. He had this whole aura of tranquility and enigma, just like me. The band definitely needed that, since all of them except him were extroverts.
Four years later, I was turning 13 in the next three months.

My mom hollered as my bedroom door flew open, “Kristel!” I dropped my potato chips in bewilderment; I thought I was in trouble.

Thoughts of all my mistakes and shenanigans that I involved myself in the past four years ran through my head. “Yes?” I murmured nervously.

“Guess what?” she inquired eagerly, “You’re going to see One Direction in Levi’s Stadium Santa Clara on this summer baby! July 11, 2015. Happy early birthday!”

My mouth dropped, I tried to cover my mouth so that I would not obnoxiously screech, yet I did. I was so excited I am sure I made all of my neighbors make complaints. Enthusiasm poured out of me like hot cocoa on a brisk night. I was out of my mind and so unbelievably happy, I really could not maintain it. The fact that I was finally going to see the people I have idolized for so long had me at the edge of my seat.

Later on that day, I was in my cooking class desperately waiting for school to end. In my middle school, you cannot be on your phone during school hours; it had to be off on campus. Nonetheless, my teacher did not have a care at all what the students did during free time. Now that I look back on it, I wish I could have followed the rules because little did I know that something dreadful was arising.

My phone buzzed, “Kristel… are you alone?” a familiar friend of mine, Antares, suddenly texted me. I was never that close to her, so something odd was definitely going on.

“No, I’m not, what’s up?” I texted back chicken-hearted with my thumbs fidgeting back and forth.

“I have some bad news, I called Mya about it and she hung up immediately. She hasn’t contacted me back for a full 12 hours”, Antares responded, I was not ready. By the way, our mutual friend Mya was also a One Direction fan like me. The first chat bubble popped up, “Zayn…” followed with, “…he left the band.”

Before I continue, I know what you are thinking, “Big whoop! It’s just a boy band; it’s not a big deal.” At that time, I spent almost 5 years of my whole life dedicated to that ‘band’. I have been through so much worse, trust me. However, when you love and are passionate about something for so long and fall into a deep connection, you would understand.

At first, I refused to believe it. I was beyond delusional. Next month was April; I buried my head in the sand and thought that all of this was just a sick April Fools’ joke. My mind cut to the quick in disbelief. Why would someone in such a successful band go solo?

The moment I came back home from school, I logged onto Facebook in a New York minute. The first post I saw was from One Direction’s official page.

“After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction”, read the first line of the post.
My heart shattered to pieces. There was a profound sense of numbness in the pit of my stomach. A lump grew like a fetus in my throat; I was on the verge of tears. The purpose of living at that moment never appeared in my mind. It was as if an icy hand gripped my whole body, and everything else in the world stopped. This pain was nothing compared to all of my breakdowns in the past. I could not stop shaking, my hands felt like they were going to fall off. While reading the post, an abundant number of tears submerged my computer. I lost all of my motivation to do anything; my inspiration was a death toll. I fell between the cracks—what about my concert?

At that point, I started binge listening to all of their albums. My lips quivered as I attempted to sing along. The high intensity of my misery led me to skip school the next day, in fear that I would cry in front of my classmates. There were fans who had their birthday ruined due to this incident. There were fans who actually woke up from a coma, and this was the announcement they received. From that moment on, everything felt so unnatural and I was living in a never-ending nightmare. It came to the understanding that the first boy to be my first ever heartbreak was Zayn Malik.
Fast forwarding to four months after, my concert was tomorrow night. Before Zayn left, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to hear his angelic high notes live. I logged onto Twitter, to see how everyone has coped since the departure. Lo and behold, millions of tweets stopped me right in my tracks.

“CONFIRMED: There is going to be a surprise during tomorrow night’s concert!”, one of the One Direction update accounts tweeted, attached with a leaked picture of the stage with five microphones, not four. That indicated that Zayn might finally return. I was blind as a bat; I took all the hope I could.

I was pacing back and forth, crouching down multiple times in my room. I could have jumped out of my young teenage, eczema-filled skin.  My presence was on cloud nine and felt like a dog with two tails. Maybe it was a sick and far from amusing April Fools’ joke. I could not sleep at all since everything in me was awake.

My alarm went off at 10 in the morning with “Little Things” by One Direction as the ringtone, “Get ready, you’re seeing your boys tonight!” read the notification.
During the ride to the stadium, I was full of the joys of spring. This was my first time ever seeing them, and my first ever concert.

A bunch of fans and I were waiting outside, while the band was testing out the sound check. Their vocals sounded like heaven to our ears, I seriously could not wait. Unexpectedly, we saw a limo pull up and thought it was Zayn. I have never heard screams more ear-splitting. It sounded like thousands of pre-teens whining about getting their phone taken away, exactly that, it sounded like hell.

When the security opened the doors, all of us ran at the drop of a hat to enter our tickets in. It was a massive mob. When they let us in, I have never felt so welcomed and more at home. Here is the thing, when you are in a concert of an artist who you treasure intensely and adore; unconditional love fills you up. Everyone has the same feelings that you embrace for this musician and has been through it all. You will never feel a vibe of judgment and you feel so protected.

Lights off, the cries were more deafening than before. Excitement and hysteria carried throughout the entire stadium. The introduction and the safety videos for the On the Road Again tour illuminated the darkness. Not a single person in the room can hear a word with all the squeals overflowing, so I would not be surprised if many individuals injured themselves that night.

The first song on the set list, “Clouds”, started playing and it uplifted my soul. Once they came out, I became thrilled to the core. To this day, I still do not believe that these men are actually real human beings. Everything was everlasting positivity and all of the actions became more and more powerful.

Even with all of this commotion resulting, I was still looking out for Zayn’s appearance. There were two songs left, so maybe they would come out with a bang with the anticipated surprise at the end.

Before I knew it, the last song on the set list was over and the fireworks were exploding through the dull night. Was that it? What was the surprise?

Everyone stayed in his or her seats for the next 30 minutes, yet nothing remarkable occurred. It disintegrated from a whole stadium of perfect euphoria to corrupt gloom. When we logged onto Twitter, it revealed that the fifth microphone was for Niall’s guitar.

When Zayn abandoned the band, false hope filled the long-term Directioners. The delusive desire was so benevolent that we believed any rumor. There was so much disappointment with no light at the end of the tunnel. Twitter banned many One Direction update accounts for making false remarks.

I could not believe I let myself down once again. It is far from being One Direction without the five of them. I spent the rest of the night watching This Is Us, looking at the past, the nostalgia hit me— he looked so ecstatic, and I do not know if I wanted to fathom the reason why he quit. I was stuck in fool’s paradise, holding on to what has been no longer in existence.

Finally, something hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to grasp the fact of letting go. Not let go of my love for One Direction, which is just mad and impractical. However, let go of the concept that they are still the same as when I discovered them. They were growing up, and I have grown up with them. I had to accept that Zayn was not genuinely happy, and if I truly loved him, I would have wanted the best for him.

When I look back, I do not regret how bitter and sick at heart I was. I knew it was all true feelings. Nowadays, I laugh at all of the Zayn jokes and parodies I used to think was disrespectful. Even though he did not appear, July 11, 2015, was still the greatest and most important night of my life.

It is now the year of 2019, One Direction is on hiatus and they are all doing solo projects while still being the most successful male singers on the charts. Yet, it still feels like a piece is missing when only four walks out on stage. After everything, I still wish that he had stayed though I have moved on and I feel like a proud mother. Zayn has been releasing unbelievable anthems that sound just like him, how he wanted his music to sound and I could never be more appreciative. I will follow whatever direction he will take—pun intended. I will never forget those five insecure and terror-stricken teen boys at the bottom of the stairs in the X Factor competition. I had the time of my life watching them become the five of the bravest and strongest men who reached the top of the world.

Nothing was a waste of time and I will continue to support them no matter what. The fans and the band together are the strongest team ever seen. Through all of the struggles in these past 7 years, I will always stay.

My dedication fades, but my heart still beats. These strong up and downs will drive me insane. These older heartthrobs I will never meet. With mad fear of it all going down the drain. Never was there a tale of such sadness. A teen girl, a boy band, the love was madness.

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