this is a mess.
warning: there’s some suicide ideation here, be careful.
she was always soft around her – this, anyone could see. where people would have been met with flippant dismissal and cutting words, she was always met with understanding eyes and fond eye rolls.
taeyeon did not suffer fools gently, but for tiffany. for tiffany, she would have done anything.
it killed them to see her this way. to watch someone so incredibly unerring in her wants and needs, compromise them so thoroughly for an eyesmile.
(they try not to blame her too much.
tiffany has always been very loveable. and taeyeon always has had a lot of love to give.)
the story starts a little something like this. girl meets girl. girl falls in love with girl.
(some days she thinks she’ll be able to tell their imaginary children and the imaginary family they’ll have together someday; all the stories, and in the cheesiest manners.
how the room literally lit when she walked in. how it’s been her, it’s always been her; miyoung who is good and kind and ever so gentle.)
girl loves girl for a really long time.
but it’s life, so the other girl doesn’t love her back.
“i’m sorry taetae, but i don’t feel that way. can we still be friends?”
and crying herself to sleep is cliche, but there’s a reason why cliches exist.
(some days she thinks she’ll get over it. some day. any day. today is not that day.)
she feels the edge of her soul dangling on a pike – one of the many driven through her chest in the space where her heart should be (it’s gone, it’s gone, it’s gone because tiffany has it, and taeyeon won’t ask for it back).
tiffany is gushing about a sweet gesture her boyfriend did, and taeyeon has to pretend that it’s exciting. that she’s happy. that it’s sweet, when all she wants to is to throw up because why couldn’t it be her putting this smile, this sort of excitement on tiffany’s face?
she smiles and it feels like glass. and when tiffany finally stops gushing and starts looking at her with those expectant eyes, taeyeon has to agree with her. that it’s sweet and cute and she’s happy for tiffany, but all she feels like doing, is saying “please,” and “i could make you happy too.”
(what’s one more pike to the many she’s collecting?)
sometimes she thinks about not existing.
she thinks if there were any semblance of a god in the world, she’d surely antagonize and offend it to the point of being erased from the plane of reality, if only to stop the hurts from constantly piling up. like some weird sadistic version of tetris, except the hurts don’t go away. just pile higher and higher and maybe it’s jenga she’s thinking about now.
but when tiffany smiles at her and she has to smile back and pretend that she’s okay, she knows the gods have damned her so thoroughly, if anyone looks up the word ’sisyphean’, they’d find her picture right next to it, captioned with “loving hwang miyoung.”
some days, there’s something dark and angry, roiling in the back of her head. screaming and screaming, slamming on the walls of her skull, howling to be let out. venomous thoughts and caustic words swirl around her headspace, and she’s so, so afraid of the day they’ll burn a hole through her soul and find their way out.
so she drinks. she drinks and drinks until she can’t feel the words, the thoughts, the harsh rattling of the cages of her mind and everything is just this shade of lukewarm vertigo and not fucking sadness.
but of course, bad people do not go unpunished. and if man were judged not by their actions, but by their thoughts alone, she would never make it to heaven.
she crawls to her bathroom and vomits, the bile and acid tasting too much like the words she can’t bring herself to say. she thinks it better they find their way out in this manner, than tossed carelessly into someone’s face.
no matter how deserving.
no matter how ardently she wishes for it.
it’s probably aphrodite that’s damned her, the heinous bitch, she reasons one night, through a haze of drunken googling and internet use. or maybe it’s the entire fucking pantheon. just because she didn’t believe or worship anything, and maybe all of this is happening just because she doesn’t have the protection of faith.
the thought makes her laugh so hard she cries herself to sleep.
sometimes she wonders about the sea and whether or not the pikes in her chest would sink her to the bottom of the ocean, or it’d ease slowly out of her chest in the weightless pressure of the water; whether she’d finally be able to breathe through all this easier while drowning.
she’s afraid to find out.
tiffany’s complaining about men tonight. how they’re all dumb and big assholes sometimes, but also sweet and warm in the same breath.
“maybe you should just date me instead,” she offers flippantly. like she’s not dying for the answer to be yes.
tiffany laughs and smoothly switches the topic to something else.
it’s supposed to be a regular day. regular hang out with the girls but she’s early like always, and tiffany is early too, but.
“tae, we need to talk, it’s…”
“…this needs to stop, it’s been troubling…”
and all of a sudden, it’s like the pikes in her chest have been ripped out. the feelings and thoughts that killed her so quietly, just leaving abruptly. like shadows before light.
and it doesn’t sound like her other ‘sorry’s. it sounds final. like this is the last time they’d be discussing it.
she thinks this hollow feeling is just the wind caressing the empty bits of her chest, where the pikes should have been. and when she smiles, it’s in that vacant, absentminded way of someone who has been killed so gently.
“oh,” she says. “oh, okay.”
tiffany opens her mouth to speak. taeyeon rises from the booth.
“okay. sorry for wasting your time,” she says, empty smile, empty eyes, empty heart, empty head buoying her out of the thick atmosphere surrounding the booth and the remnants of their one-sided talk.
“thank you.” the sound of her shoes scuffing the floor are like bombs in her head. she feels the shock travel up to her knees as she walks around the table.
she dips her head, glimpses tiffany’s expression, can’t look at it long enough to put a name to it before her eyes slip off to the side again. “thank you for letting me love you.”
the door beckons, and she can’t hear the ambient noise of the cafe over the sound and the shock of her shoes scuffing on the panelled floors. tiffany grabs her hand. it is warm.
she walks, her hand slips out of the warm grip and the wind shifts and closes around her hand, like it has always belonged.
the bell jingles overhead. the cold stings the raised welts tiffany’s long nails have raked across her hand. it stings sweeter than the hole in her chest.
the wind blows through her unbuttoned coat, and she knows she should feel cold. but it feels a lot more like ‘welcome home’.
tiffany disappears from the dorm following that, and taeyeon locks herself in her room for three days to think.
she should have listened. to sunny, to sooyoung, to literally anyone at all. they said it was a bad idea; multiple times, even. and she had been too stupid to heed it, too busy drowning in her stupid feelings and desperate for some sort of salvation.
not that it matters anymore at this point.
because tiffany’s gone away, and she did this to herself.
the emptiness scares her, and she thinks maybe walking around with her chest burdened and heavy with feelings of miyoung might have been better than this… nothing.
she throws herself into work.
because tiffany won’t dig her out now, with her soft hands and understanding smiles, so she has to do it herself, but she doesn’t know how.
so she works herself into a stupor and warmly welcomes the dreamless sleep of the exhausted.
and the members tiptoe around her like she’s made of glass and a stray mention of miyoung will shatter her, drive her to do something stupid.
they don’t know that she’s scared to die, that she’s terrified of the physical pain and the possibility of not actually dying, so she’ll think of a hundred and one other ways to hurt herself, instead.
unfortunately some of her unhealthier methods look a lot like productivity, so they leave her to her own devices.
it works, for the most part.
she’s occupied and sometimes doesn’t notice when tiffany’s in the room when previously that’s all she could be aware of at any given time. and she sleeps, sometimes.
so she keeps doing it, working and overworking until she blacks out going down some stairs and breaks the back of her fucking head on them.
and when the horrified doorman is calling for the ambulance, she lies there in her own blood, thinking about old english remedies for madness and how they used to put a hole in someone’s head to ‘relieve pressure’ and ‘help drain the bad thoughts’.
it’s not so different, she reasons, closing her eyes against the pulsating pain and the strange feel of something emptying out of her head.
she hopes it works, and maybe then she’ll stop being like this.
all she has to show for is a bald patch on the back of her head (that’s luckily coverable by the rest of her hair), and six stitches she can’t even see.
she wishes someone will laugh with her when she tells them about the bald spot, but they’re all horrified and concerned and pitying, that she has to mute the chat and throw her phone into the fridge where she’ll forget about it, to stop herself from looking at the messages and wanting to scream.
that night, when she tries to drink herself to sleep again because she can’t work, sunny bullies the beer out of her hands and keeps her up with mario kart.
(“shut up, shut up. you’re concussed, you’re on painkillers. you’re not allowed to fucking sleep. i’m going to kill you if you try.”
and she loves sunny dearly, but she also hates her for making her race the rainbow road while concussed.)
tiffany slides back into her life after the stair thing, like she didn’t try to leave.
she starts hovering like she knows taeyeon’s going to do something stupid again soon and strong-arms her into seeing a therapist and accompanying her to everything, waiting outside (like a security guard. she doesn’t know if it’s out of politeness or to make sure she doesn’t run,) while she tries to tell a stranger about her problems.
now, normally she’d be delighted that tiffany is giving her this much attention, but she doesn’t know which she’s more annoyed to realize; that she couldn’t be trusted to take care of herself or that tiffany was right.
she settles for crawling out of bed and getting some ice for her stupid head while miyoung eyes her warily from the living room.
the therapist gives her a name for the crazy, and she gets medicine that she now has to hide with her allergy meds, in nondescript vitamin bottles and organizing containers.
they explain things gently to her over a few days, and things start to make sense, little by little.
(“you’re sick, it’s not your fault,” they say to her. and she spends the entire session trying not to cry because it is.)
some days she gets two hours of sleep, other days she gets the regular six.
sometimes she takes sixteen and because tiffany is tiffany, she winds up being the one to drag her by the ankles out of bed.
taeyeon isn’t grateful at all, up until she sees the blue of the sky, when they’re taking a walk in the park, and the sun is warm on her face and through her clothes.
(holding hands, because tiffany thinks she’ll try to run away, back into the house if she doesn’t hold on tight.)
she wants to cut off her arm and run away, she wants to stay holding on to tiffany’s hand forever.
(she thinks some part of her will love miyoung forever, how can she not? but there are other, more ruthless parts of her telling her it’s just the best friend kind of love. that she should stop confusing it just because she’s sad and wants someone to lean on.)
they don’t talk about it. the stupid pink argyle elephant in the room.
mostly because taeyeon doesn’t want to, and tiffany is being accommodating, even though taeyeon can tell that she’s dying to address it.
because the tiffany method of dealing with problems is always to smash right through it head on, with nothing but good feelings and sheer determination.
she wishes she were that invincible, both to withstand tiffany’s problem solving methods and her own.
it takes a slow crawl of weeks and months and months on end. sometimes she slides back into her bad habits, and some nights she still winds up crying herself to sleep, but she thinks she’s getting better.
she’s built a fine tower out of her sadness, and part of her yearns to knock it all over; to stop keeping those things so close to her heart for no reason.
a bigger, heavier part of her just stands by to admire it.
she wonders if she’ll have to stare at it forever.