"isn't it funny how out of all the souvenir shops here in the resort, the spirits guided the two of you to meet here in my hut?"
joohyun shots her head up at the store owner, unsure if the old woman is talking to her.
the old woman smiles and nods her head towards the other customer's direction, who looks as equally as confused as joohyun.
"excuse me?" joohyun says, wanting to make sense of the situation. "are you talking to her or me?"
"to the two of you." the old woman lets out a satisfied smile before turning away to walk around her shop.
joohyun looks her fellow customer who shrugs at her and smiles.
"do you kids still believe in soulmates?" came the old woman's question as she stands in front of the bracelet section, staring at a particular red rope bracelet. "do you believe the tale of the red thread of fate?"
joohyun doesn't want disrespect the old vendor by ignoring her, but she doesn't know what to say either. she was thankful when the other customer finally speaks up to voice out her opinion.
"it's nice to believe those things. but i don't think it's true. having a soulmate is just a fad in the early days. we can't even prove if that red thread exists. i mean, it can't be seen as far as i know."
the old woman turns to them, hands on her back, a smirk on her face. "what if i say i can see how you two are connected by a red thread attached to your ring fingers?"
joohyun whips her head at the other woman who's looking back at her with bulging eyes. she seized that opportunity to take in the woman's appearance; red flannel, comfy-looking shorts, a pair of converse, hair tied up in a bun, and those sharp eyes.
as much as it sounds crazy, joohyun's glad her "soulmate" is hot.
but this soulmate of hers breaks the mood with a hearty chuckle.
"ho ho ho. hold it right there, ahjumma. i got married like seventeen hours ago. are you telling me this pretty woman is my soulmate?"
joohyun heart drops at that news. damn fate!
the old woman nods. "i can clearly see your thread attached even with these old eyes of mine." she smiles once again when she sees the youngsters' unconvinced faces. "it's sad how modernization and capitalism have consumed your generation. you forgot the existence of supernatural beings looking over us, controlling our lives and guiding us all the way."
"wait. are you saying the spirits are pro-homouality?" the sharp-eyed woman motions to herself and joohyun. "because this isn't natural, right?"
"the spirits are all about balance, kid. they always find a match for everyone. but despite their interference, we're still humans. we are driven by our emotions, by our decisions, by our free will. spirits are just there to give us clues and lay a path for us. by the end of the day, it's still us who's going to decide what happens to our lives, like you deciding to marry your now-wife."
the woman's eyebrows scrunch together. "how did you know i'm married to a--"
"i worked as a shaman for fifty years before tourism took away my source of living. now, i am left with this souvenir shop as my bread and butter." the old woman looks around the shop. "i won't blame you two if you don't believe me. but if you want to test it, you can try tugging each other. you can feel the pull if you're that close enough."
her soulmate, as what joohyun likes to refer the hot woman in the meantime, turns to joohyun with an expression like she wants to try and test it.
it is an absurd idea, but joohyun finds herself nodding. "sure. by all means. but is it okay if i try it first?"
the woman nods as she stands in front of joohyun, about two feet away. she notices how the woman is taller than her by a few inches.
joohyun looks at the old lady. "how should we do this?"
"concentrate on your left ring finger, then tug it."
"okay. i'm ready." the woman rubs her palms together.
still unsure if she should play along or not, joohyun tried tugging an invisible thread with her finger.
and to their surprise, the other woman's ring finger flinches.
"! i felt it!" the woman looks at joohyun, amazed. "can i try it too?"
"s-sure." joohyun is still skeptical. for all she knows, that could be just a placebo effect. or it could be a scam where joohyun's is the victim and the hot woman in front of her is an accomplice.
but before she can even find clues to support her idea, her soulmate closes her fist, gripping the invisible thread in her palm, and pulls hard to the point her arm swings to the back.
and for some unknown reasons, joohyun felt a sudden force pulling her towards the woman.
she squeals as she slams onto the woman's body, who catches her with both arms.
both of them stay silent in that position while they process what happened.
joohyun feels the fast heartbeat of the other woman from her chest. she raises her head to meet gaze with those sharp eyes looking down at her.
the woman's mouth is hanging open. but in the end, she manages to say, "holy schnikes. we're actually soulmates, miss."