a fraction of infinity

May 15, 2013 in lau0601, oneshots by lau0601

for the 1527th page celebration 

Later on, Taeyeon blames her weight on the night they go through twenty-seven bottles of banana milk. It is stupid, yes, but that night, when they talk, laugh, cry with the hours, they finish the entire year’s worth of banana milk that Taeyeon’s mom has just bought. Of course, Taeyeon’s pocket has to suffer for that, but Tiffany chips in too. It is only fair; after all, it is Tiffany who even suggests the drinking game in the first place. But later on, while Taeyeon whines about exercise, Tiffany smiles and remembers the silence and the scattered straws.

On Tiffany’s birthday, Taeyeon bakes her a cake. It doesn’t look very nice, and Tiffany tells her straight out that it tastes a bit lumpy. But Taeyeon knows Tiffany doesn’t mind. She doesn’t mind because, well, it is Tiffany. Taeyeon knows because she sees the eyesmile, the real one, as Tiffany blows out the twenty-six candles that she has spent an hour sticking haphazardly on the cake. Okay, so maybe they are pink candles and that makes it a lot better, but when Tiffany looks at her and says thank you Taeyeon just grins.

It takes an awkward twenty-five minutes before Tiffany finally finds someone who doesn’t look like they’d claw her face off. Taeyeon is short, shorter than Tiffany, and maybe that is what draws them together. Standing alone, alone in the middle of that new classroom full of chattering girls, Taeyeon looks just as lost as Tiffany feels. Middle school wasn’t perfect, not at all, but Tiffany makes it through after that first day because of that lost girl who unknowingly finds her.

Taeyeon gets mad at Tiffany for a week because of her college essays. She has always been a decent writer; in fact, she might go as far as to say she is the better writer of the two of them because Tiffany is too distracted to write anything cohesive. So it irks Taeyeon all the more – maybe a bit arrogantly – when Tiffany rejects her personal statement twenty-four times. She regrets agreeing to the deal to edit each other’s essays after the fifth draft, but Tiffany is adamant. The grammar is fine, word choice too, but when Taeyeon throws up her hands in frustration and asks why not, Tiffany tells her quietly that it’s not right because it’s not Taeyeon. Twenty-four drafts later, as Taeyeon hands in her neatly typed essay, her heart feels full and light at the same time.

Middle school is an awkward time for two young girls struggling to grow up and stay young. When Taeyeon begins to blush at random moments and space out in class, Tiffany knows. It takes her twenty-three tries, a really persistent week, but when Taeyeon finally tells her about the boy in their math class, Tiffany gives her a hug and they celebrate with milkshakes and much giggling.

Twenty-two minutes. Taeyeon sits there, laughing occasionally, but mostly smiling along as the seven other girls joke around with each other. She likes them all, she does. She’s glad she has these kids as her friends because she enjoys spending time with them. But it isn’t until Tiffany walks in, apologizing loudly for her lateness, not until she sits down and finds Taeyeon’s hand that Taeyeon feels safe.

Tiffany once writes a poem for Taeyeon, when they graduate from high school. It’s not really a poem, not exactly; it’s more like a list of things that she likes or maybe even loves about Taeyeon. It’s twenty-one lines long and takes Tiffany half a month (she doesn’t know why it took that long but, well, it needed to be perfect). Taeyeon has never seen it but Tiffany takes it out every so often and adds a note to it.

Taeyeon knows Tiffany hates running. One day, as she sighs and prepares to face her twenty lonely laps for “disrespect towards a teacher”, she is surprised to see a distant figure jogging towards her. When she draws near, Tiffany doesn’t say anything, just puts on her shoes, ties up her hair and starts running. Taeyeon follows after a brief pause, and they don’t talk until an hour later, until they are both collapsed in two exhausted heaps on the field. Taeyeon wants to say thank you but the words don’t come. So instead she closes her eyes and listens to Tiffany breathing beside her.

The year they are nineteen, Taeyeon finally gets her driver’s license. Tiffany begs and begs and Taeyeon relents, always. Tiffany loves the feeling of the wind in her hair, loves the freedom, loves that she is alone with her best friend.

Taeyeon can’t help but feel slighted as she glances at Tiffany’s stack of Valentines, eighteen to her own two. She knows Tiffany is popular, pretty, not that she herself isn’t but Tiffany is brighter, louder, more light more glow than her own quiet self. Still, it stings a little. But when Tiffany packs up her bag and smiles at her, as Tiffany puts the cards away as if Taeyeon is worth so much more, Taeyeon feels better. And the after school ice cream definitely helps.

She’s hurt. The first time Tiffany hears Taeyeon sing, she is hurt. Seeing the shy seventeen year old Taeyeon on stage, Tiffany smiles and claps but feels hurt. It’s irrational, because it’s Taeyeon, it’s her best friend’s first time in front of so many people, but still. Tiffany is hurt because Taeyeon’s voice is beautiful and amazing, crazy good and yet completely new to her. She is hurt because Taeyeon never told her about singing. It’s stupid, yes, but somehow Tiffany wishes she had known first, that she could’ve been the first to hear this hesitant voice that is so very beautiful. So very much so. But she keeps clapping, keeps smiling, as Taeyeon’s eyes dart nervously to her throughout the song. And when it ends she stands up, because hurt or not, she is proud, indescribably proud. The stunned look, the joy, the light in Taeyeon’s eyes – it makes it all okay again.

Looking back, Taeyeon wonders. She wonders about their story, about what exactly they mean to each other. In the sixteen years they’ve known each other, Taeyeon wonders if Tiffany has ever wondered, too. Because, once – or, well, more than once – Taeyeon has wondered. In the world they’re living in, in the time and place, she has wondered if Tiffany is truly just a friend to her. Sometimes, as she looks at this person smiling next to her, Taeyeon isn’t sure how to figure out the awe she feels at Tiffany’s glow. She doesn’t quite know, or doesn’t quite want to say, what exactly it is that makes her heart stop every so often when Tiffany looks at her. She wonders, too, if Tiffany has ever felt the same way. For the longest time, she has worried about this. But one day, it strikes her. It doesn’t matter. They are Taeyeon and Tiffany, just Taeyeon and Tiffany. Other definitions don’t matter because that’s who they are, and that’s all they need to be.

Tiffany has never liked the dark. So when Taeyeon drags her into the park one night, she is scared. She wants to go home, back to Taeyeon’s home, so that they can finish that movie or bake cookies. But when Taeyeon tugs at her arm and points upwards, Tiffany stops. Sure, it’s hard to see, especially in the middle of a city, but as they squint up together, they see stars. To this day, Tiffany remembers that there are fifteen.

The first time Taeyeon goes to buy Tiffany’s birthday present, she nearly panics. At the CD shop, there is a huge line of people, all of them lining up for the new album. Limited copies, Taeyeon remembers the poster saying. There are fourteen people in front of her; what if she doesn’t get it? Why hadn’t she come earlier? Would Tiffany be disappointed, though she doesn’t know that Taeyeon is getting her the CD? Does she even expect a gift, are they even close enough friends for Taeyeon to get her a present? The next day, as Tiffany cries out in happy surprise and throws her arms around Taeyeon, Taeyeon sighs in relief as her questions are answered.

It is the thirteenth of June when they have an argument. Tiffany sits in her room, kind of seething still but feeling oddly uncomfortable. It isn’t until thirteen false alarms later, thirteen turns of counting the pictures on her wall – there are thirteen – that her mad leap for the phone is finally rewarded with success. Thirteen texts, awkward ones, before Taeyeon relents and calls her, for thirteen minutes. Thirteen is unlucky, and thirteen certainly isn’t Tiffany’s favorite number that day. But she remembers.

Taeyeon still hasn’t forgotten the first time she went to Tiffany’s house. The Hwangs have moved now, for years already. But Taeyeon still sees that red door, covered in stickers. A place where she felt at home, finally. Flat Twelve B.

There is a time when Tiffany senses a distance between them. Of course, being in college halfway across the world from each other definitely makes a difference, but it’s not until the third year that Taeyeon suddenly begins to go quiet. Not just that she doesn’t call; she does, but she is, well, quieter, and sadder, somehow. Tiffany knows to not push her, knows that Taeyeon will talk and that all she needs to do is wait. So she waits, and sure enough, at two in the morning one night, Tiffany gets a call. She hears Taeyeon’s trembling voice, the soft sniffs between the pauses, the desperation in the way words are falling out of her mouth. That night, Tiffany doesn’t sleep. They stay on the phone until it is eleven in the morning for Tiffany and Taeyeon has to go to bed. Taeyeon apologizes for making Tiffany miss class, but Tiffany is fine with it because of Taeyeon’s shaky laugh that grew stronger as the hours progressed.

Ten words Taeyeon hurls at Tiffany, ten words she regrets as soon as they leave her mouth. Ten words that make Tiffany pause, look at her, and walk away. Ten words that she has to work off, ten words that Tiffany has now forgotten, ten words that Taeyeon will always remember.

This is their favorite number. Tiffany isn’t sure why, but it just is.

Taeyeon has never really liked shopping with Tiffany because it’s an experience akin to trying to harness nuclear power. When they go shopping for prom dresses, Taeyeon is tired after Tiffany tries on her fifth dress, and by the time she decides on one, Taeyeon is ready to burn the mall down. But, no, she can’t, because now it’s her turn. Powerless against the strong right arm of the Hwang, Taeyeon can only sob internally as seven dresses are thrown on her and promptly vetoed. At the eighth dress, though, as Tiffany steps back, a wondering look in her eyes, Taeyeon glances at herself in the mirror. And she can’t help but agree.

Tiffany tries so hard to forget those seven months. She thinks she can take it when the news first comes, but when it happens, when she sits by the bedside with tears down her face, when she stands amongst a solemn crowd, when the final word is spoken, she is broken. She doesn’t care, doesn’t care, nothing matters, because her mom – she is – gone. Forever. Tiffany cannot see beyond this pain, this blinding, numbing pain, and later she finds that she succeeds; she doesn’t remember what happens those seven months. All she has is a vague memory, a feeling, almost, of Taeyeon’s presence. And maybe that was why it hurts, but hurts less, seven years later.

They go out for dinner after Tiffany gets her sixth rejection letter. Maybe it is her typing skills that disqualify her, but whatever it is, Taeyeon still feels the hurt, even if it’s not hers. Throughout the meal, Taeyeon watches her friend quietly, listening to her cheerful talk and seeing the pain behind the forced eyesmile. She has her own job, not high paying but enough, but she doesn’t offer to pay for the meal because she knows Tiffany won’t let her. Tomorrow, Tiffany tells her over fried dumplings, there is another interview, and Tiffany is sure she’s going to get it. Taeyeon nods and smiles and agrees. She really does, because she knows Tiffany will make it. She will.

There are five pairs of shoes that they share, four that belong initially to one of them and one pair that they buy together. To be honest, Taeyeon’s shoes are a little small for Tiffany, and more than once, she’s seen Taeyeon tripping because Tiffany’s shoes don’t quite fit her feet. But they share the shoes anyway, just because. Sometimes they mix the shoes up, sharing two pairs at a time. Tiffany still has half of that pair they bought together; it smells a little funny but she can’t quite bring herself to throw it out.

Unknown to the two of them, they actually meet for the first time when they are four. Little Taeyeon only has a faint recollection of the kid with the messy hair and loud laugh, barreling into her and pushing them both down the slide in a tangle of arms and legs. Taeyeon cries a bit but sniffs it away when the girl looks at her in shock. They play quietly together until it’s time to go and they don’t know enough to say, I found a friend today.

Tiffany tells Taeyeon everything, and even if she doesn’t, Taeyeon is perceptive enough to find out anyway. But there are three things she keeps to herself, three things that she intentionally hides from Taeyeon. The first one is the poem she wrote at the end of high school. The second is the fact that while she is scared of bugs, she isn’t that scared; she only screams and cowers so that Taeyeon will save her. Third, and last, she is terrified of how much she relies on Taeyeon, how much she needs Taeyeon in her life. What if one day…she can’t even think about it. Sometimes she feels ashamed because she’s no longer her own self, because Taeyeon is part of her definition. It’s scary because she can no longer see herself, her future, without Taeyeon. These three things she never tells.

Sometimes, it feels like she has two names. Taeyeon, and Tiffany. Taeyeon is obviously shorter, Tiffany louder, and their personalities are so different she really can’t understand why people mix them up. She doesn’t get it when people accidentally call her Tiffany or when they call Tiffany Taeyeon – is it because they’re similar, or because people know that by calling one, they will reach the other? It gets confusing, and maybe a bit annoying when it seems like people really can’t recognize her; but inside, Taeyeon doesn’t mind. It feels good, almost safe, to be identified with Tiffany. It’s like they’re special, not just to themselves, but other people realize too. So Taeyeon doesn’t mind. She just wishes they’d get the F sound right.


Once in a lifetime. Tiffany thinks it’s true, that some things happen only once in a lifetime. Winning the jackpot at the arcade, meeting her favorite singer, getting first place in the three-legged race – just one time, one moment, and it is gone. But one thing remains, constant, unchanging; one thing she knows will stay. One smile, one heart, one package of dork and nerd and friend and soulmate wrapped up. One thing she can always turn to, the one person who knows her before she knows herself. After all, there is just one Taeyeon and Tiffany, once in a lifetime.