The chatter of numerous students at the main entrance signaled the start of a new year at university. Taeyeon opted to major in Finance in her second year and she had decided to move into the student hostel in order to reduce the travelling time to and from home.
Clutching her duffel bag nervously, Taeyeon knocked on the door of the room she was assigned to. Unlocking the door, she pushed it gently and stepped in. Judging from the huge stack of randomly strewn clothes on one of the beds and piles of books on one of the study tables, it appeared that her roommate had moved in. Taeyeon shook her head and sighed. She could only hope that her roommate was someone she could get along with.
Taeyeon only met her roommate the following morning. To be exact, she tripped over a pair of legs as she got out of bed the next morning. She almost let out a scream but managed to hold it in when she realised it was a human being. Half of her roommate’s body was on the bed while the lower half was sticking out of the bed. A spray of messy dark brown hair covered the owner’s face and both arms were tucked under the face. Taeyeon tiptoed past her sleeping roommate cautiously.
After two weeks, Taeyeon hardly had the opportunity to speak to her roommate. Her roommate wasn’t around most of the time and would often return to the room in the wee hours of the morning. Even if she was in the room, she was usually asleep. When they did meet during her ‘awake hours’, it was usually monosyllabic replies or short polite exchange of greetings. Through their random short spurts of conversation, Taeyeon managed to learn of her roommate’s name (Jessica Jung) and that she majored in Arts.
Taeyeon also noticed her roommate’s odd fashion sense. To Taeyeon it was odd. However, she believed that it was probably the latest fashion trend which she didn’t follow. Once, Jessica appeared in a black tube top with a black leather jacket and black fishnet stockings with knee high beige boots. Another time, Jessica was seen sleeping in a sleeveless tattered looking blue top with white jumper and sandals.
One thing did catch Taeyeon’s attention; Jessica was beautiful despite her unkempt hair and odd clothing combination. Beneath the messy hair and occasional paint smudged face, Jessica had the brightest pair of eyes when she was fully awake. Her eyes would twinkle with excitement when she talked and it was a pleasure to watch.
Taeyeon attributed Jessica’s messy demeanor to her being an Arts major. Perhaps it was a prerequisite for Arts student to dress in a loud and outlandish manner so that they could stand out among the sea of ‘normal looking’ students from other faculties.
One afternoon, Taeyeon noticed a familiar figure lying face down on a drawing pad with her arms tucked under her face. Her dark brown hair cascaded down one side of her body and the sleeveless loose top revealed the porcelain skin of the back of her neck and arms. She could recognize her roommate without seeing her face as that was the common sleeping pose she saw Jessica in each morning when she left for her classes.
Taeyeon found Jessica rather amusing. It wasn’t common to meet someone who could sleep in any position anywhere. While staring at her roommate sleeping, Taeyeon noticed Jessica shifting in her seat and rubbing her arms as if she was trying to keep warm. Jessica’s loose sleeveless top and short denim skirt paired with fishnet stockings were definitely not suitable for the cold air-conditioning of the library.
“She must be nuts to wear so little to the library. This place’s nicknamed the freezer. Then again, maybe she finds it stylish to wear like this to the library,” Taeyeon muttered to herself. Shaking her head, Taeyeon frowned as she pulled off the sweater from her body. She draped it onto Jessica’s shoulders before heading off.
Taeyeon observed the sleeping girl for a little while more. Taking a closer look at the drawing pad that was peeking out from Jessica’s arms, she saw a few clothing design sketches. Recalling Jessica was doing fashion design, Taeyeon realised she hadn’t seen a single sketch from Jessica till now. Now, she could envision models wearing those clothes, sashaying down the runway in an Autumn/Winter collection. She was amazed at Jessica’s hidden talent and wondered if she would have the honour to telling the world she was Jessica’s roommate when the latter became famous in the future.
Jessica slept for another hour before she finally got up. Her legs were having pins and needles and she needed to stretch them. Extending her hands above her head, Jessica realised someone had draped a warm deep purple sweater over her body. She quickly grabbed the sweater to prevent it from falling onto the floor as she sat upright.
Bringing the sweater in front of her, Jessica examined the fabric. There was a huge white heart in the middle of the knitted deep purple sweater and white trimmings along its hem. She wondered who the kind Samaritan was. She was thankful for the warmth it provided else she would have turned into an ice block. Suddenly, an image of her nerdy roommate Taeyeon appeared in her mind.
“No, no, no…” Jessica mumbled as she shook her head. The sweater seemed too big for the petite girl. Moreover, the nerdy roommate didn’t seem to like her. Then again, a lot of students from other faculties seem to find that students who were majoring in Arts were weirdos. Nonetheless, Jessica pulled the sweater over her head, scooped up her drawing pad and pencils and left the library.
When Jessica returned to the hostel, she was surprised to see her roommate still awake. Taeyeon appeared to be reading a book while lying on her front on the bed. She noticed a strange smile on Taeyeon’s face and decided to smile back as a form of politeness. She gathered her toiletries and headed for the shower at the end of the corridor, not knowing that Taeyeon’s eyes never left her from the moment she stepped in.
Taeyeon couldn’t help but smile when she saw the sweater on Jessica as the latter entered the room. Her housemate had returned home earlier than expected and she was able to see her. The sweater fitted Jessica to a T and looked perfect on her.
For the next few days, Taeyeon noticed Jessica wearing the same sweater whenever she bumped into her. A warm feeling filled her heart each time they met. Taeyeon couldn’t bring herself to tell Jessica that the sweater belonged to her and that she wanted it back. As Taeyeon thought about it, she felt that it was perhaps a good thing she didn’t demand for the sweater as she would rather see it on her roommate instead. It was a little big for Taeyeon and it suited Jessica better.
Two weeks later, Taeyeon bumped into Jessica at the university’s cafeteria. She had never seen the Arts student eat anything proper besides the random packets of Chocopies at her desk in the hostel, hence she was pleasantly surprised to see Jessica here. The cafeteria was rather packed at lunch time and the only single seat available was the chair opposite Jessica.
Taeyeon approached the table and asked if she could sit, to which the Arts student nodded with a slight smile. Seeing the familiar deep purple sweater on her roommate, Taeyeon couldn’t resist asking the latter about it. It was also a good chance to her to strike a conversation with her roommate.
“Your favourite sweater? I noticed you have been wearing it.”
“It’s not mine. Someone gave it to me.”
Taeyeon chuckled inwardly. She wasn’t planning to give her sweater to Jessica and was rather amused when Jessica assumed it was a gift.
“That’s sweet. Who gave it to you?”
“Actually, I don’t know.”
Taeyeon pretended to be puzzled and frowned.
“Ahh…a secret admirer?”
A tinge of pink flooded Jessica’s cheeks.
“Maybe you should wash it. You’ve been wearing it for some time already.”
Jessica took a quick sniff at the sweater. “Is there a smell?”
Taeyeon wanted to laugh but decided to hold it in.
Suddenly Jessica glared at Taeyeon suspiciously. “Have you been stalking me?”
“Oh no no no!” Taeyeon defended herself. “A deep purple sweater isn’t a very common colour and it’s quite distinctive.”
Jessica’s glare dissolved into a smile. She played with the hems of the sweater. “Yes it’s quite special. I like the white trimmings at the hems.”
Taeyeon laughed. “I bought a sweater identical to this at the start of this school term. One of the reasons I chose it is for the white trimmings. I find them quite unique. Actually, did you notice there’s a special stitching on the underside of the right cuff?”
Curious, Jessica brought her right hand towards her face and flipped the cuff outwards. True to Taeyeon’s words, there were three letters stitched on the underside of the cuff.
“K.T.Y. I wonder what that means?”
“Kim Tae Yeon,” Taeyeon replied with a grin.
“Ah…Kim Tae Yeon,” Jessica repeated absentmindedly.
There was a pause before realization hit Jessica. She stared at the right cuff once again and looked straight at the beaming Finance student.
Taeyeon nodded, the grin still plastered on her face.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Jessica raised both arms in front of her and used them to hide her face due to sheer embarrassment.
“Well, you seem to like it a lot. If you don’t mind the special stitching on the underside of the cuff, you can have it. I have a pink one with the same stitching back home. I can use them instead.”
“I’m so sorry. I should have asked whose sweater it was but it seemed impossible to hunt for the owner among the entire school’s cohort.”
“It’s alright. I really don’t mind giving the sweater to you since you like it so much. In fact, I ought to thank you.”
Jessica raised her brows, puzzled by what Taeyeon just said.
Taeyeon leaned forward and clasped her hands in front of her. “Because of the sweater, I finally had the chance to hold a proper conversation with my roommate whom I have been sharing a tiny room with for the past whole month.”
Now, Jessica turned even redder than before.
“Please don’t be mistaken. I’m not blaming you for the lack of conversation. I guess we’re as different as day and night but I’m happy to be able to have a chance to talk to you and to know you a little better since we’re staying within the same room,” Taeyeon explained.
Jessica chuckled. “I’m not much of a talker though but I don’t mind trying.”
“Shall we start afresh then?” Taeyeon suggested.
Taeyeon stood up and leaned across the table, sticking a hand out.
“Hello roomie, I’m Kim Taeyeon, a second year Business student majoring in Finance. I’m pleased to meet you.”
Jessica quickly got up and shook Taeyeon’s hand.
“Hi Taeyeon, I’m Jung Jessica, a second year Arts student, majoring in Fashion Design. Pleased to meet you too.”
Both of them burst into laughter at the awkward introduction over a cafeteria table. It was the start of a beautiful friendship between the roommates.
= The End =
Inspired by this prompt:
Imagine that Person A finds Person B asleep in the library. Failing to wake them up, or too shy to try, Person A covers Person B in their sweater and leaves. Whether or not Person B knows who the owner of the sweater is when they wake up is up to you. (Bonus: Person B keeps the sweater and starts wearing it in public.)