There are broken glasses by the window. She’d thrown it. Somehow. Out of frustration, anger, she can’t remember. All she can remember is the stinking smell of alcohol that now clings to her skin and the scent of burnt ashes that comes from the cigarettes scattered across the room. Across the room is someone else slumped against the wall, curled into a fetal position, arms hugging her knees tightly as she rocks back and forth, face buried and hidden. For a moment Bora couldn’t recognize her, the pulsing headache hindering her memory, and it wasn’t until her vision fully cleared out that she recognized it was Minji. Again. Like every other time. Bora starts to move.
Almost immediately, Minji looks up and her response was automatic. Hands on hands to help her sit up and a glass of water and some aspirin.
“Don’t move too quickly,” Minji starts as Bora swallows the pills.
Up close she can smell her, chocolate and perhaps a bit of rum from when Bora threw a bottle at her last night, too furious and too uninhibited to care but Minji still stays. Bora doesn’t want her to stay.
“I’m sorry,” She starts and Minji looks up, hopeful and naïve, eyes looking at her with too many things hidden behind her silent gaze and Bora could get lost in it but instead she breaks it, shatters everything like she always does because Minji isn’t her and Minji will never be her.
“- but when the hell are you leaving?” Bora continues, snatching her hand away from the older girl as though her touch burns her. And perhaps it actually does.
Minji steps back, jaws clenched, eyes dark and deep and sad and Bora has to look away.
“I can’t, you know I can’t, Bora.”
Bora throws her a look, “You can cut the strings, Minji.”
And she can. Bora had seen it. She’d seen it when Gahyeon begged Minji to cut hers from Handong’s, seen the older girl weave Yoohyeon’s and Yubin’s together, like a tailor, sewing love stories and breaking them with a flick of her wrist. Bora needs Minji to break theirs with a flick of her wrist.
She needs to be free from her because she can’t live with a soulmate she could never love.
“I can’t cut strings that connect to mine,” Minji whispers, desperation in her voice, “I tried, Bora. I swear I did.”
Bora doesn’t even look at her, couldn’t stand the crack in her voice, refused to see the tremble in her hands because she doesn’t care. Bora would never care.
Siyeon is beautiful.
Hands intertwined, feet dangling off the rooftop as they stare at the sparkle of the city lights at night, like some romantic cliché she’d heard from Minji but she loves it, Bora loves it because it’s Siyeon. Siyeon with the short midnight blue hair and her cigarettes unlike Minji’s flowing red hair and the pastel pink pillows she holds on. Siyeon is sharp edges with breathtaking smiles against Minji’s soft ones. Siyeon is wild and free and intoxicating, no strings to hold her like Minji’s, all gasoline and motorbikes and fast food chains instead of the smell of coffee Bora usually wakes up too.
Siyeon is everything Bora loves.
“Did you know I don’t have a soulmate, unnie?” Siyeon starts and Bora perks up, her heart lightening at the words and she leans closer, head resting on the younger girl’s shoulder as a smile grazes her lips.
“Lucky right?” Siyeon chuckles and holds her tight, “What about you, unnie?”
Bora swallows, her mind screaming at her to spill, but she can’t, she wouldn’t, she doesn’t.
“Me too,” She breathes, squeezing Siyeon’s hand a bit, “I don’t have a soulmate.”
The night goes on, alcohol in their veins and smoke in their lungs, everything between them intoxicating, a blur, a haze, like flying or floating or dreaming. Bora won’t remember everything but the one thing she most definitely does is the ache in her heart, gut-wrenching after what’s said and done.
Sometimes Minji is exhilarating.
Like when Bora wakes up with her head buried on the girl's neck, arms looped around each other or when Bora comes home with her senses liberated, home to Minji and her half-lidded eyes, sleep still lingering, red hair tangled, soft and bright and too beautiful and Bora hates it.
She hates the rasp in her voice when she asks her where she came from, hates the way her soft lips move for every word she utters, hates the utter confusion in her eyes when Bora would push her inside, feet slamming the door close, finger curled around Minji’s collar as she pulls her closer, eyes hard and steely and why did she have to be her soulmate?
Close, too close, and Minji’s eyes may not be as dark as Siyeon’s but they are enchanting, spellbinding. Maybe it’s some kind of curse, like how she can break and mend hearts and perhaps it worked for a few seconds before Bora’s mind cleared and she pushes and let go, watches her stumble and crash, gaze never leaving each other’s and maybe that’s cruel. Too cruel but Minji needs it more to let go.
“I hate you so much,” She hisses, voice cold, eyes on fire.
Minji looks away, “I’m sorry I love you.”
Bora doesn’t remember if it’s been days or weeks but she never sees Minji again when she comes home.
She’s not worried but the house is still clean and everything is still in place, Minji is still all over the place so perhaps she’s avoiding Bora. She’s not sure how and why and where the hell the girl stays at night but it’s finally better. Somehow she can finally breathe, somehow the room is much emptier than it once was and it’s okay until it wasn’t.
It’s okay until Minji comes back, sweat glistening, heaving hard.
Bora’s about to curse, every colorful word at the tip of her tongue, when Minji looks up and smiles. Something she hasn’t seen for a long time yet something unfamiliar as well because it’s genuine but it’s sad, almost relieved but not at the same time, like she’s finally about to take a leap, like something painful and agonizing but not for too long.
“Can I ask you a favor?” Minji asks, still with that smile painted on her lips and Bora doesn’t understand but she feels a kind of dread crawling up her veins.
Bora doesn’t nod or give any sign of agreement but Minji continues anyway.
Minji wraps her in a tight embrace and she’s all Bora could see, hear, smell, feel. She’s every memory in Bora’s and she’s every corner of everything and any other time Bora would feel like it’s been an eternity but at that moment it wasn’t, at that moment everything was short and not enough and Minji’s already pulling away, already slipping something inside her back pockets before she leaves with a whisper and finally lets go.
She stands back and Bora finally looks at her, truly looks at her this time, feeling nothing.
Minji’s smile breaks for a second, eyes downcast as she flicks her wrist and for a single moment, Bora fails to understand. Bora fails to remember and when she did, Minji’s already walking away, leaving her heart heavy instead of the relief she longed for, suffocated rather than breathing.
“Be free, Bora.”
Minji says but Bora knows and hears everything hidden behind.
I’m letting you go.
‘I’m sorry I couldn’t hate you. I’m sorry I don’t regret loving you. I’m sorry I couldn’t be enough. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop loving you.’
Bora burns the note Minji leaves, eyes on fire, hatred in her heart.
She’s heard about it, Minji’s inability to love again for her sake, Minji giving her up for her sake but she’s not breathing anyways, her heart’s not lightening, wings not spreading. She’s suffocating again, though this time it’s hollow, drowning in the emptiness in her, like something’s missing. Bora knows but she wouldn’t admit it. Would never but Minji’s words sting, cut deep and reverberates in her mind and maybe Bora owes it to her.
That maybe she’d also loved Minji.
‘I’m sorry I didn’t want to love you.’