#NP 11: Memories of Us

[h] nowplaying 11 memories of us

#nowplaying: Berpisah Itu Mudah – Rizky Febian & Mikha tambayong

An artist stood in the centre of tiny stage in a small, homy cafe. She introduced herself cheerfully before starting to pull her guitar strings, and sang the song. Taeyeon smiled as soon as the intro was played she knew it from the first chord, it was her song. She sipped her tea peacefully as she listened to her own song. It was strange for her to sit in a cafe, at the quietest corner of the room, watching the musician played her own song, without no one bothered. But the strangest thing for her was to be here, in Jeonju, the city she left five years ago.

Taeyeon continued reading the novel she had in her hand. Sinking herself in the couch, listening to the song, while reading book were the luxury she could not get ever since she decided to pursue her musical career. She could not track the time until the artist excused herself and a waitress came to her table.

“Excuse me. We’re about to close. Do you have anything more to order?”

Taeyeon looked at her phone, noticing it was midnight already. She looked up to the waitress and shook her head. “Could you give me the bill.

The waitress almost gasped in surprise when she noticed who her guess were. “T-taeyeon-ssi?”

Taeyeon gave a silent sign. “It’s been a while since the last time I visited my hometown. I need my me time.” She smiled charmingly to the waitress who immediately shut her mouth and excused herself to get the bill for Taeyeon. She came back a moment later, bringing the bill, along with an A4 paper and a marker. “Could you please sign this and give testimony for our cafe?”

Taeyeon smiled and signed the paper, also writing a nice testimony. She then paid for the bill before leaving the cafe. Five years ago, no matter how often she came to this cafe, no one paid any attention to her and Tiffany.

Tiffany

She smiled upon remembering the girl who filled her life back then when she still lived in Jeonju. Tiffany was her best friend, her best supporter in life, and her first love. She looked up to the sky and smiled wider. Coming back to Jeonju was something she could not do often ever since she had become an idol. She took a deep breath and walked towards the place she knew, to reminisce the day when she was just Kim Taeyeon, not an idol.

oOo

Tiffany flipped the sign pasted on the door from ‘open’ to ‘close’, a sign that the cafe was closed. She smiled as she stared at the glass door. She could not believe that she came back to this small city. She left the city almost five years ago, but here she was, coming back and opened a cafe near her old home. She never imagined she would be back, especially after her break up with her ex-girlfriend, Taeyeon.

“Unnie, you can go home now. I will take care of cleaning duties.” A calm voice took Tiffany’s attention. She turned around to find a young girl, holding a broom in her right hand and a mop in her left hand. She chuckled and took the broom.

“It’s okay Juhyun-ah. I won’t come to cafe tomorrow morning. I can take the cleaning duty, and you can go home. I don’t want my most talented barista gets kidnapped.” She joked.

“Aigoo, Unnie! Don’t say such words! It’s scary!” Juhyun protested.

“I believe you have a class to attend in the morning, right? Now, go home! I don’t want your part-time job making your grades drop.”

Tiffany took the mop as well and put up a stern face in front of her part-timer until the young girl gave up.

“Okay, then. Thanks Unnie! Take care okay?”

Tiffany smiled and put the broom and mop down. “Sure. You too, Juhyun!”

With that the young girl left the cafe, leaving Tiffany alone. The brunette started her cleaning duty, making sure that the small cafe she started a month ago was all cleaned up. After another final check, she decided that everything was good and prepared herself to come back home. She walked out of the cafe and locking the door. She looked up to the night sky and somehow felt overwhelmed with the realisation that she now breathed the same air she breathed almost five years ago. She smiled and decided, tonight she wanted to take some time to walk down the street for old time sake. To reminisce the time when she was just a young girl who was deeply in love with her best friend.

oOo

The stalls lined the route, and Taeyeon took her time to observe the sight before her eyes. People bumping into each other while trying to find what they were looking for. She chuckled a bit and joined the crowd, silently wishing that no one would notice her. Her small nose caught scents that used to be familiar for her. She continued walking as she noticed there were some new stalls in the market, but there were also some stalls from five years ago. She skipped most stalls, aiming for the street snacks section. A midnight snack was not something she could have at any time. Her agency would be very angry if she was caught eating at times like this, and she would receive an earful lecture about how she should take care of her body.

She continued walking until her eyes caught a signage couples meter away. The signage read “tteokbokki jjang!” and Taeyeon laughed at the sign. She still remember it was one of her favourite stalls in this night market. She walked towards the stall and saw a middle-aged woman, with a glasses hanging on her neck, was busy cleaning up the table.

Ajjumeoni!” She called out the woman, gaining the attention right away: a loud gasp which soon silenced by the woman’s own hands. The ajjumeoni immediately walked towards her and put on her glasses.

Omona! Omona!” She immediately closed her mouth again, afraid to get unwanted attention from the crowd. She took off her glasses and put it on again. “Omo! Is it real???”

Taeyeon laughed at the response she got. “Yes, ajjumeoni. It’s me. Taeyeon. Kim Taeyeon.” She grinned wide, it felt good to see someone she knew.

Omo, omo! Aigoo, Taeyeon-ah. Come here.” The middle-aged woman immediately prepared a chair for Taeyeon to sit inside her stall. “I can’t believe it. My eyes must’ve played a trick to me.” She chuckled and took a sit right in front of Taeyeon. “Is it really you? The naughty Kim Taeyeon who used to lie to me about the number of tteokbokki she ate?”

Taeyeon laughed hard at the question and nodded. “I owe you a lot when I was young. I need to repay them all, don’t I?” She grinned like a kid.

“Aish! What are you talking about??? You were just a kid back then!” The woman patted Taeyeon’s arm and looked at her in disbelief. “What are you doing here?”

“Ah, I miss my hometown. It’s been five years since I left. And since umma and appa also moved to Seoul, I didn’t have reason to come here. But I miss this place, so I came!” She gave a peace sign with her index and middle finger. “How are you, ajjumeoni?”

“I am good, Taeyeon. How are you?” The woman smiled sincerely.

“I am good as well, ajjumeoni. I am glad to see you’re so healthy.” She took the woman’s hand and gave a slight squeeze.

“What are you saying? I am the one who is glad right now. To have my stall visited by an idol!” She laughed and shook her head. “How’s Tiffany anyway? Do you guys still in contact?”

Taeyeon smiled without saying a word at the question. She was not prepared for any questions related to Tiffany. Ever since they broke up, both girls agreed not to have any contact, for their own good. So, they could move on from each other.

“From your response, I think you’re no longer in contact with her.” The middle-aged woman assumed. “Anyway, how many tteokbokki do you want? Let me prepare!”

“One portion would be enough, ajjumeoni.” Taeyeon smiled as she watched the woman prepared the tteokbokki for her.

Tiffany… it’s been a while. How are you?

oOo

Tiffany walked down the street aimlessly. She just followed where her feet brought her to, enjoying Jeonju’s night, observing people around her.

“Aish!! Umma will scold me!!!” A loud voice was heard from across the street and it caught Tiffany’s attention. There were two school kids, one girl, and one boy, in front of a mini market, seemed like they were arguing.

“I am sorry, Gyuri-ah. I lost track of time. I didn’t know it’s already this time.” A school boy, bringing guitar case on her back, apologised to the girl in front of her.

“Aigoo, what should I say to umma this time. This is the umpteenth time this month I came home late.”

Tiffany watched from across the street. She noticed that both students wore Jeonju Art High School uniform. She smiled at the realisation and chuckled when she noticed the scene in front of her was exactly what happened long, long ago when she and Taeyeon was still in high school. She usually came home late because she insisted to accompany Taeyeon for singing practice. And at the end of the day, Taeyeon always walked her home, just to make sure she would arrive safely, and share the lecture from Tiffany’s mom.

“I am gonna walk you home. Don’t worry. Let’s hear your mom’s lecture together,” The boy finally said and the two students walked in rush.

Tiffany smiled and looked up to the sky again.

Taeyeon… you’ve done really well. I hope you’re always healthy… How are you, Taeyeon?

oOo

“One makgeolli for the young lady.” An old man served Taeyeon a copper kettle filled with makgeolli, along with some side dish.

“Thank you so much!” Taeyeon smiled politely and started to serve herself a cup of makgeolli. She felt warm in instant. She looked around, noticing that most of the customers were either old men, or middle-aged men, which was normal since most youngster would prefer bar instead of makgeolli stall like where she was in at the moment.

She took another gulp of her makgeolli and smiled. For her, the makgeolli from Jeonju was the best makgeolli in the world and it was impossible to visit Jeonju without tasted one.

“Hey! You should stop drinking!” A loud voice distracted her. She turned her head and saw a young couple sat couples table away from them. “You’re so bad at drinking, even makgeolli can make you drunk.”

Taeyeon could not help but to laugh upon hearing the statement. She was not good at drinking as well, but to watch someone being scolded for it was really amusing.

“It’s okay, you will take care of me, won’t you?”

Her heart skipped a beat when she heard the sentence. It reminded her many years ago when she and Tiffany used to drink together. Tiffany would scold her for drinking too much despite the fact that she could not handle it, and at the end of the day, Tiffany was always the one who took care of her, and making sure she went back home safe and sound.

What a memory…

oOo

Tiffany stopped her way in front of a church. It was the church she used to go back then when she still lived here. She could not remember the last time she went to this church. Couple months after she and Taeyeon broke up, Tiffany decided to move to other city. She tried to live normally, which she could but every single corner of Jeonju reminded her of Taeyeon.

She was about to move when she noticed a figure nearby the gate. A figure she was familiar with.

“Father Lee?” She called out.

The man turned her head to her direction and smiled in disbelief.

“Tiffany?”

Tiffany smiled back and nodded. “Yes, Father Lee. How are you?”

“I am good, I am good. I am getting old but good nonetheless.” The man smiled wide. “Where have you been? It’s been years since the last time I saw you in church.”

“I moved to Busan. But now I am back.”

“Ah I see. For good?”

“Yes, for good, Father.”

The man nodded and patted Tiffany’s shoulder. “Look at you, you’ve grown a lot into a very pretty woman. Your best friend also has grown great. Who know Taeyeon would be a star, right?”

Tiffany chuckled. “Yes, we never know what the future will brings us, right Father?”

But I always believed that Taeyeon will make it. She is Taeyeon, she’s always been a star for me.

oOo

“Thank you for the makgeolli.” Taeyeon bowed politely to the old man.

“You’re welcome, young lady! It’s nice to know that young people still appreciate makgeolli.”

“Your makgeolli is the best. I will come back to your place if I get to go to Jeonju again.” She bowed once more before finally leaving the stall. The makgeolli made her body warm and now she did not even want to go back to her hotel at all. She looked at her watch, it was almost four already. Only couple of hours until sunrise. She stopped a cab and asked the driver to go to Wansan Park. The sunrise was always amazing over there, and it held one of her most important memories there.

oOo

Tiffany had her mind wander while her feet brought her to another place. As if the universe was playing with her at the moment, after her one month in Jeonju, why her random decision to reminisce the old time, ended up with memories about Taeyeon.

She still remembered when they decided to break up, Taeyeon told her that they would be okay. Their life would be just fine, and she was right. Her life went just like before but the memories of her and Taeyeon could not vanish at all. Everything she saw reminded her of Taeyeon. Break up was not hard. To erase all of the memories they had was the hardest thing to do.

She stopped her step right at the bottom of a hill she knew really well. The well-paved road lead the way to a beautiful part on top of the hill.

Why am I here?

She shook her head, and continued her way.

Just once. For old time sake. It’s okay to reminisce once in a while, isn’t it?

oOo

The soft orange hued rays touched the mellow blue sky. The night had surrendered to the dawn, and now morning was ready to greet. Cold breeze hit Taeyeon’s face but the smile never faded from her face.

The view was breath taking. From where she stood, she could get a birds-eye view of Jeonju, watching the sun showed its glory over the city.

”Taeyeon-ah… one day you will be the sun.” Tiffany put her head on Taeyeon’s shoulder as they watched the sunrise on top of the hill.

”Uh?” Taeyeon stole a glance at her girlfriend and stealthily intertwined their hands together.

”You are gonna be the sun. Everyone will look up at you when you raise to the sky,” Tiffany continued, as she shifted her gaze from the sky to the person she loved the most, admiring Taeyeon’s side profile from where she laid her head on.

Taeyeon laughed at the remarks and turned her head a bit, just enough to see Tiffany in the eyes. “Me? Going to be the sun?” She questioned.

A nod answered her question. “Yes. People will see you up there, glow with glory.” Tiffany straightened her position and stole a peck on Taeyeon’s cheek. “But I am the one who gets to see you since dawn and witness the most beautiful scene when you rise.

Taeyeon smiled as her mind played the old memory she had for this place. It was six years ago, when she and Tiffany watched the sunrise together. She felt warm at heart. Tiffany was right, now, as an idol, a lot of people knew her but no one knew her as much as Tiffany. Only Tiffany knew how hard she fought to be what she was right now.

oOo

Taeyeon’s cheeks reddened at the sweet words and the light peck on her cheek, but her lips formed a wide smile. Looking straight into Tiffany’s eyes, she whispered gently, “If I am the sun, then you are the morning sky.”

Tiffany raised her brows, expecting Taeyeon’s next words. “Why am I the morning sky?”

Because, if it was not because of the morning sky, the sun would not be as beautiful. You are the one who makes me beautiful, Fany-ah…” She smiled cheekily and laughed at her own sentence.

”Cheesy, Taeyeon-ah!” Tiffany laughed along as she crunched her nose playfully.

”I learned from the master, you know? I am not good at saying sweet words.” Taeyeon grinned and leaned closer before stealing a peck on Tiffany’s lips. “But I know I love you.”

”And you know I love you too.” Tiffany smiled shyly and put her head back on Taeyeon’s shoulder.

A piece of memories played in Tiffany’s head. A small smile painted on her face but her eyes portrayed her longing. Walking down the memories she had with Taeyeon was too much for her. Five years had been passed but she knew the memories will always be there.

She took a deep breath as the sky turned brighter. It was enough memories for today, she could not handle any additional nostalgia she had in this small city. Memories was what happened in the past and she needed to go on with her current life. She turned around from her spot but soon froze when she saw someone right in front of her.

She could not believe what she saw, but the person who filled her head from night to morning was in front of her, staring back at her in the same surprised expression.

“Taeyeon?” She whispered.

Taeyeon was as surprised, staring at the person who just turned around in front of her. She would believe that what she saw was just her imagination because of the nostalgic feeling she had today, but when she heard the soft voice calling out her name, she knew, what she saw in front of her was real. Tiffany was in front of her.

Both women, froze in their spot, letting the morning breeze filled the silence between them. All of their memories rushed in, as if the universe had time for the two souls, the time stopped as their eyes met.

Five years was what it took for both, trying to live their own lives, leaving the city to keep going on. But it only took a second and a blink of an eye to realise, the memories of them was too precious to be forgotten.

A soft melodious chuckle broke the silence, and Taeyeon was back to her soul.

“Hey…” Tiffany smiled at her, showing the same pair of crescents Taeyeon used to see every single day.

“Hey to you too…” Taeyeon’s heart skipped a beat at the sight.

“You were right,” Tiffany said without leaving the eye contact.

“Uh?” Taeyeon did not get what Tiffany was saying. She was expected an awkward ‘how are you’, instead of the affirmation.

Another chuckled. “The one you said before you left.” Tiffany took a step closer to Taeyeon. “You said that we were going to be okay. Our life would be just fine.”

Taeyeon knew what Tiffany said now. “Yes, right.” She chuckled along. “Look at where we are know. Living our life well.” She took a pause before continued her words. “Breaking up is not the hardest part, though…—“

“The memories we won’t let go is the hardest one.” Tiffany continued the sentence.

Both chuckled and shook their head. Even after five years losing contact, they both knew what each other was going to say.

“Yes, you’re right.” Taeyeon smiled, looking at Tiffany. “What brings you here?” She asked.

“I guess the same reason what brings your here.” Tiffany smiled along.

“Let’s say it on three.” Taeyeon initiated. “One, two, three.”

“Reminiscing the memories.” They said in unison, making their smile wider.

“I can’t believe, we do it right at the same time.” Tiffany took another step forward.

“And ended up at the same place,” Taeyeon continued.

“I blame you for putting up so many memories in this city, Taeyeon.” Tiffany faked a sigh, making Taeyeon laughed.

“Fany-ah, we can’t erase the memories we have, can we?” Taeyeon asked.

“As long as I know, I can’t erase our memories. It doesn’t mean that I can’t get over you. It’s just…” she took a pause, trying to understand her own feeling. “The memories are too beautiful. Even though we’re no longer together, it’s part of my journey. It’s part of my life.”

Taeyeon nodded understandingly. “I do feel the same way…” she smiled. “If we can’t erase our memories, why don’t we create new memories?”

Both girls smiled at each other, knowing where this would lead them. A new memory. They did not know where would they end this time. But they knew, what they want was another memory to remember.


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