A Thousand Little Vases: Those Who Walk the Line

July 16, 2015 in A Thousand Little Vases, moonrise31 by moonrise31

A metaphor I once heard: When a vase shatters, it doesn’t break into a thousand little vases.

In other words: Something that has been torn apart can never be returned to its original form.

But consider: This something, pieced together with tireless effort and unending care, can still become something beautiful.

Those Who Walk the Line

Taeyeon didn’t even try to navigate Weibo anymore. The foreign characters scrolling by on her computer screen would only give room for her to imagine their meanings — phrases dripping with hatred and malice, jeering taunts and heavy scorn, the sharp points digging into her skin. She probably could’ve asked Hyoyeon for anything she felt curious about — anything they were all curious about — but it was so much easier to fall a little deeper into the pit she’d been trying so hard to wrest herself out of this past decade. She’d always been hanging, on the brink of tumbling down, down, down.

And now, her grip on the edge slipped steadily, with one less pair of hands trying to pull her up again.

That pair of hands — that person — had stayed here but not here, almost crossing paths with them so often, just barely, fingers curled in the beginnings of a wave. Only to have flitted off a day before, or to fade away into the background a day after, leaving just the ghost of a smile in her wake.

Now, she could only become concrete as a face in front of a crowd of microphones: a mask protecting something no one could be sure of, anymore.

“Taeng, you still there?”

She blinked, remembering the phone she held in white-knuckled fingers, the voice from kilometers away just next to her ear. “Yeah, Sica. Sorry.”

“Worried about the new single?” Jessica asked. As if she was still there, waiting in the practice room, ready to cajole Taeyeon into coming early and working on some of the more difficult steps.

“Um, yeah.” Taeyeon coughed. She almost started to complain about the jumping and the choreographer’s insistence that they all be in the air at the same height, but then remembered that Jessica already knew. She’d been there.

So instead: “I like the song, and…well. You know what that means.”

Jessica laughed, light. “Hey now, maybe your opinion will agree with the public’s this time. You never know when things…” She fell silent.

They tried so hard to avoid the looming elephant in the room, the elephant that seemed to span continents. In retrospect, September, even October, had gone by in a blur. Taeyeon would never be sure of what had been real and what had seeped inside her mind as a twisted nightmare.

But it was hard to drop someone she’d known for about half of her life. Someone who’d fought battles by her side and cried in her arms instead of anyone else’s. And she had never been so glad to realize that Jessica felt the same.

“Yeah.” Taeyeon cleared her throat. “Never know when things might change.”

“But you know –” Jessica paused, and then grumbled. “Sorry, Taeng, I gotta go.”

“R…right. Sure. See you — um, talk to you later.”

On her worst days, even Taeyeon wasn’t sure about what Jung Jessica was thinking anymore. And that’s when she seriously considered just closing her eyes, just letting go, just allowing gravity to pull her under.

She could feel it. Her fingers loosening, the surface she’d clutched at so fiercely all these years, all these sleepless months, turning smooth with her resignation.

“Yeah, see you soon.”

But then Jessica would grab her wrist. And so Taeyeon continued to grip on that edge for just a little longer.