“Can we pretend nothing is wrong?”
Tiffany turned, leaned against the pale metal bars, and sighed.
“How exactly do you expect us to do that when we’re locked in a cell in a police station, Taeyeon? Should I pretend this is the honeymoon suite at The Ritz? I can totally do that. That bench against the wall being held up by two chains is a dead ringer for a four poster king-size double.”
Taeyeon didn’t reply. Her eyes were directed at the cement floor. She tightened her hands into fists on her knees as she sat on that bench.
Tiffany sighed again, and turned to look out of the cell.
“You know how you always tell me I look cool every time I mow the lawn?”
Tiffany looked at her. “Yeah?”
“I know you only say that so I’ll be willing to do the gardening more often.”
Tiffany blinked. “So?”
“So, thanks. Thanks for that.”
Tiffany just looked confused, then annoyed, and then she looked away again. They listened to the sounds of the police station, the officers talking and phones ringing and computer keyboards clicking, before she glared at Taeyeon again.
“Why can’t you ever close a drawer properly?”
Taeyeon met her eyes. “What?”
“We’ve been living together for, like, a billion years, and every day when I go into the kitchen I have to close at least one drawer because it’s not completely shut. Why? Why, when you’ve already begun the closing process, can’t you just push it all the way?”
Taeyeon shrugged. “I don’t know, I guess I just don’t care. At least it’s mostly closed, right?”
Tiffany scoffed. She stomped to the bench and sat down as far away from Taeyeon as she could, crossing her legs.
“Well how about you and the eggs?” Taeyeon said, reaching over to poke her on the shoulder.
“What about the damn eggs?” Tiffany replied through gritted teeth.
“Every time we go grocery shopping, you don’t take the eggs out of their carton and put them in the special compartment in the fridge. That thing is made to hold eggs, you know? Instead you just put the whole damn box on the fridge’s shelf and take up space.”
“Well sorry if I’m taking up space you would use for your stupid yoghurt!”
“Hey, what’s wrong with my yoghurt?!”
“I just don’t see why you need to buy so much of it! And what’s so special about it? Why do you need to buy the one that costs three dollars more? Is it made of freaking unicorn piss or something?!”
“It’s good for digestion! And you’re hardly one to talk; you always have to get the special tomatoes from Brazil or whatever, even though you know they are the most expensive and taste exactly the same as any old tomato!”
“Those ones are naturally grown, without any of those dangerous chemicals, okay? Do you know the effects of those chemicals? They’re so unhealthy!”
“Unhealthy?! You always, always eat snacks and junk food only to complain a few minutes later about how you’re not at your ideal weight! Why do you eat junk food if you’re just going to complain about the effects of junk food? And why, why for the love of god can’t you see that you’re perfect! You don’t even need to lose weight. In fact, if you lost more weight you would be underweight. Can’t you see that? Stop worrying about your weight!”
Tiffany opened and closed her mouth repeatedly, looking frustrated and confused, before letting out a wordless scream of irritation.
“See?! I can’t even say anything in response to that!” Tiffany whined. “You do this every time we fight! You suddenly drop some veiled compliment and I can’t be mad at you anymore and that makes me so damn angry!”
“I don’t even know why it’s like that! You’re just so complex, Tiffany, you make every single thing between us into some complicated troubling obstacle when it could all just be so simple! I just don’t run on that wavelength. I have no idea what to do when you get like that.”
“Why do you always have to do something? You always have to solve the puzzle, fix the problem, and find something to do to make it right! You talk about simplicity as if you’re some laid back, casual person who just goes with the flow but you’re not, not when it comes to me.”
“Because I love you!” Taeyeon shouted. “I just love you so damn much that it scares me, the thought of anything going wrong, the possibility of something bad happening – I just want everything to be right because I love you.”
“Then why don’t you spend more time loving me than worrying about that? Every time we go to the movies you fuss around making sure I’m comfy and I have popcorn and my favourite chocolate, when I just want to hold hands with you! When we walk in the park you’ll offer to give me your jacket and your scarf and your hat because it’s cold, but I don’t want to waddle around like some Arctic penguin because I’m wearing all your clothes when you could move closer and share your body heat with me! I just want you to love me, Taeyeon. Just love me.”
They both waited in silence, breath bated as if to see what else was about to come bursting out. Their thoughts were rushing, formulating without their input and then – a rattling at the door caught their attention.
“You can come out now,” said the police officer, giving them a stern look. “And I do hope you’ve calmed down, ladies.”
Taeyeon and Tiffany felt themselves go slack. The burning air that had been created by their conversation dissipated. They nodded meekly at the officer and followed him out of the cell.
“It’s just not polite to create a public disturbance, you know,” he said as he led them down the corridor. “I hope you understand why we had to get you take you away, arguing like that in a supermarket. You’ve sorted out your problems?”
They shared a glance. The link between their eyes was intense, smouldering with the embers of their words, and then a tiny smile showed itself more than once. They shrugged nonchalantly at each other and looked away.
“It’s a start.”