Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? How did you survive it? I’m going crazy without her.
Tiffany begins the day at 8am precisely, reaching for the mobile phone on her bedside table as soon as her eyes are open.
The message lies nestled in its usual place. It has been there for almost a week now. The words ramble around her head on a daily basis, and yet she can’t turn them into an answer, even though the first step is simple.
Yes, Tiffany has been in a long-distance relationship, but she feels like she doesn’t even really know with whom. They met online, they talked online, they developed together online, and they had barely begun to mention the possibility of meeting face-to-face when it all faded away. But it still counts, right? It was a relationship. Tiffany’s not so sure, and if she’s not so sure then how can she help someone else who is just as uncertain?
She closes her eyes again, lets the phone rest on her chest, and she thinks of Taeyeon.
It was anonymous, at first. Tiffany often takes in anonymous messages on the internet and answers – but not totally as herself. She uses a different name, gives away very little about herself, and sometimes gets a little paranoid that she would leave some sort of clue leading back to her real life. And in this way, she talks to people from all over the world without ever knowing each other’s name, face, voice, or anything at all. It’s perfect. Ideal. It makes the conversation almost smoother in a way; no pre-existing judgements cloud the words exchanged.
One night, she got a message from Taeyeon. She didn’t know it was her, she didn’t know anything about who was on the other end at all, but when she looks back on those messages now, they’re full of Taeyeon without a trace of unfamiliarity, easily identifiable amongst the blankness of the messages that remained anonymous. That part of her past has become Taeyeon’s, no longer the free flowing current it was meant to be with the anonymity they treasured at the beginning.
It started with a joke. Someone else asked something, Taeyeon asked a follow-up, and she toyed with Tiffany. Then she blew it off and asked about the name Tiffany used. And she was playful; apparently they already knew each other elsewhere online, apparently Tiffany guessed her identity wrong, apparently they weren’t meant to be. They kept talking. Friendly, funny, serious, deep, random, nonsensical, overly sweet and it grew and grew until they talked privately and knew each other’s names, locations, ages, hobbies, occupations, opinions, morals, histories, dreams, fears and then came the pet names and the flirting became more intense and then it was a relationship. They were happy together, they worried together, and they relied on each other.
Maybe it was too much, too fast, too weird. They never saw each other. What is the definition of a relationship? Maybe neither of them could handle it, and that’s why they drifted apart. That’s why Taeyeon said she thought they should stop and Tiffany was relieved because she wasn’t sure if she could go on down the path they were treading.
But it was Taeyeon. It was special.
Tiffany looks at the anonymous message again, and the words take a turn around her mind one more time. She knows why she hasn’t answered because she knows the answer.
Yes. I didn’t survive. I’m going crazy without her.