It has been the most harrowing experience of my life. And by that, I mean the past two days of living the life of a covert agent—pause—pay attention now, up against an enemy that trumps all other enemies the world has ever known. More venomous than Venom, more unmentionable than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and darker than Darth Vader himself, she is none other than Mrs Kim. My mother.
I am almost certain there’s some kind of secret training that all mothers are put through post-child birth. The secret training, I suspect, includes the imparting of skills in sleuthing, mind-reading, interrogation and embarrassing the heck out of my social life, among other skills, at near-supernatural levels. I also suspect my mother had been specially selected for additional training in the honing of her womanly sixth sense. That’s the only plausible explanation I can think of as I try my darnedest to stuff the rolled up yoga mat behind the clothes in my closet.
How else can I explain her sneaky eyes following me as I returned home from buying massage supplies for the past two days? How else can I explain her rapid fire questioning session last night? She had entered my bedroom unannounced, planted herself on my bed and subjected me to hard and fast questions like these:
Why did you buy a yoga mat?
Why are you into yoga, all of a sudden?
What did you do at Yuri’s house?
Did you keep your hands to yourself?
Have you had—eyebrow waggle—any urges today?
“MOM!!!” I had yelled in protest before diving under the covers, refusing to re-emerge until she had retreated from my room.
So after being accosted by my very own mother in what I previously thought was my refuge from the war outside, I thought it imperative to hide my massage supplies. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now. I dread to imagine what Mom would think if she saw the massage oils. It would be just like her to put two and two together and get five. Or six. Or seven. I can feel the head-splitting, mind-crippling headache coming on just at the thought of it.
Hiding the massage oil bottle among my paint bottles allows me to breathe a little easier and I can literally feel the load rolling off my shoulders when I shut my closet with my yoga mat safely hidden inside. Now, the final hurdle to cross would be the manoeuvring of Tiffany into my room without revealing why she’s visiting for the first time.
At this point, I’m feeling thankful for Sunny’s decision to paint me as a masseuse student rather than a professional. Firstly, there’s no way I would be able to pull off being professional enough since a quick check with Google revealed that profession masseuses typically use massage tables, not yoga mats (which is all I can afford). Secondly, it provides me with a reason to have Tiffany over. ‘A student I’m doing a project with’ is an explanation less liable to cook up a storm with my mother than ‘A customer whose butt I’m about to massage’. So all is good. Good is all. I have covered all bases (I hope) and things should go smoothly. I cross my fingers and hope as fervently as I can that Murphy’s Law doesn’t suddenly decide to go berserk on me tomorrow.
I’m shaking with excitement throughout the entire day at school and my heart doesn’t think it can take much more of the irregular fast-slow thumping pace that fluctuates like the mood of a woman on her period. Yet, I make it through the day somehow and manage not to launch into an utterly embarrassing victory dance when I see Sunny approaching with Tiffany beside her.
THE FANNY IS HERE.
THE FANNY IS HERE!
I can hardly breathe so my voice comes out funny when I try to greet them with a smile. Sunny rolls her eyes while Tiffany giggles and I am left with a silly grin on my face that I wish I could rearrange to look more like a classy smile. Unfortunately, my face is incapable of rendering itself presentable and it is with a mind in total chaos when I wave goodbye to Sunny after preliminaries are done with and set off with Tiffany beside me.
She’s rattling on about her strained muscles as we walk. Something about the inhuman, intensive, insane training that their coach is putting them through. I’m really sorry if you fellow butt lovers want to know what she actually said because I can’t remember enough of it to tell you. Heck, it’s a wonder I can even remember where my home is; I’m that messed up. All I can think about is Tiffany’s butt. That’s all I can think about. I’m hopeless.
“…made you start?”
Butt. I can’t believe I’m this close to Tiffany’s butt. Tiffany’s fanny. Heheh—what?
To my right, Tiffany is staring at me with wider-than-the-universe eyes, pink lips ajar in question.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Are you alright? You look a little out of sorts.”
“Who, me?” I shake my head and flash a grin that hopefully sends a clear I-am-totally-fine message. “I’ve never been better.”
Tiffany looks a little doubtful but she doesn’t pursue the topic. Instead, she asks, “So what got you into massage?”
There’s no way I can answer that honestly. Saying ‘You’ would totally freak her out and send her fleeing for the hills so I settle for something ambiguous. “People like you, to be honest. I like to help. And I derive great satisfaction when people enjoy my massages.”
“Such noble reasons.” Tiffany’s smile is blinding and it’s got nothing to do with the three o’clock sun. “It’s wonderful that you’ve found your calling and are pursuing it with all you’ve got. I really admire people like you.”
I find myself blushing. It sounds like an affirmation of my love for butts and I choose to ignore the fact that she’s actually talking about what she thinks is my great ambition to be a masseuse. Besides, if this continues, I might just end up becoming a masseuse too. There’s just no telling when it comes to things like the future. I’ve learnt that it prefers surprising us to living up to our expectations. Just like how Tiffany surprises me when she mentions my radio segment.
“I also enjoy listening to ‘Nothing but the Truth’.”
“You do?” I choose not to mention that the ‘but’ in the title is actually spelt with a double T.
“Mhm. You’re quite a natural. I enjoy it when you ramble about random things. It’s therapeutic.” Her compliments make me blush even more and set my heart racing like a horse after a carrot. But it comes to a screeching halt when she says, “Though it’s strange that you’ve never mentioned a word about this. You could probably get a lot more people to come to you for a massage if you advertised it on radio.”
“It’s not really ethical though,” I say, not really knowing how I even came up with that.
“Unethical? Isn’t that a tad too severe an accusation? I would say inappropriate at most. Since it’s a school thing and the massage advert counts as personal.”
“I meant to say separating my two interests makes it easier to be professional.”
“Ah…” Tiffany smiles and nods. “You’re right.”
It’s all I can do to keep from releasing a loud sigh of relief.
We get to my home and a brick wall of panic hits me as we walk through the hall to get to my room.
What if I can’t control my urges when I see Tiffany’s butt?
What if my hands slip and injure her butt?
What if my mother comes home when we’re in the middle of ‘doing it’?
What if Tiffany finds out I’m not really a massage student?
“Your home is really nice, Taeyeon. Everything is so neat and tidy.”
“Yeah, my mom is really into cleanliness and stuff like that. She’s constantly nagging at me to clean up my room too. It’s a pain sometimes.” I open the door and usher Tiffany into my not-yet-a-dump-but-not-that-far-from-one bedroom.
“That explains why your room looks so…zen…”
I laugh. “That’s why she’s constantly nagging at me.”
“Ah,” Tiffany’s furrowed brows lift in enlightenment, “that’s why.”
Things are becoming increasingly awkward…
“Ahem. Well, why won’t we get started?” I point at my chair and say, “You can put your stuff down over there. I’ll get the mat out.”
I haul the yoga mat of the back of my closet and roll it out on my bed. It is the one place in my room that isn’t in a mess because it has to look as professional as possible. I then double check to make sure my door is locked before retrieving the bottle of massage oil from my paint collection. Alright. I got it all covered.
“Yes?” I spin around, bottle of massage oil in my hand, heart thumping at the thought of how close I am to doing the deed, and almost die of a heart attack.
“Is this okay for the massage?”
Is this okay? Is she seriously asking if that’s okay? That’s more than okay. It’s okay in capital letters, screamed-across-the-valley-at-the-top-of-your-voice okay.
“Er…that’s fine,” I reply and try to not stare too hard at Tiffany’s pink panties but my jaw loses complete control when she turns around and reveals the word ‘juicy’ stretched across her abundant posterior in bold black font.
Really?! JUICY?! Is she trying to drive me crazy?!
“Do I lie on my back or…”
I push my jaw back into place and shake my head to clear it. “On your tummy. I’ll start on your calves.” And work my way up to your fanny. I try not to drool at the thought of it.
I twist the bottle cap open and with my eyes hopeless homed in on Tiffany’s glorious ‘juicies’, I attempt to oil up my hands. There’s just one problem. The oil doesn’t smell like oil. It smells more like—blistering bumming blisters—paint. I look down at my hands which are now a pale shade of shimmering blue and groan.
“What’s wrong?” Tiffany turns and looks. “Oh…”
I want to kick my own ass but my legs aren’t flexible enough to do that. “I’m so sorry. I’ll just wash this out and—”
“Don’t worry about it. Go,” Tiffany gets off my bed and opens the door, “get it out. I’ll wait here.”
“Okay. Sorry. I won’t be long.”
I scurry to the bathroom and rid my hands of the paint as quickly as I can. Then, once my hands are back to looking like human hands instead of blue avatar ones, I scoot back to my room, eager to get started.
“I’m back!” I announce, grinning with glee, but it slips from my lips, dragging my jaw down with it when Tiffany holds up a familiar looking notepad. My blood runs cold as my heart fills with dread and thumps so hard that it hurts. Oh. No. No, no, no, no. Nooo…
Tiffany shakes the notepad in my face, the bold words MISSION GLUTEUS MAXIMUS making me feel sick for the first time. “What is this?” Tiffany’s voice is not in her usual slightly husky tone. It has risen into a rather shrill, high pitched tone that threatens to make my ears bleed and I am about to balk from the tension that’s building up inside.
“I can’t believe this whole thing is an elaborate scheme to touch my butt!”
“Pervert!” Tiffany puts her clothes back on in a huff, all the while glaring daggers at me.
I am frozen stiff like a block of ice, completely petrified by what might happen next. I don’t know what to say to defend myself because Tiffany is right. I am a pervert. And this is an elaborate plan to get my hands on her glorious ‘juicies’. I’m guilty as charged.
Tiffany grabs her bag, shoots me one more murderous glare and stomps right out of my room, leaving me standing there, wondering how on Earth I am ever going to show my face in school again.
Bummer of all bummers. My ass is officially screwed. And my hands are left empty, shrivelling up in desperate devastation.
MISSION GLUTEUS MAXIMUS FAILED.