"will you please stop with the tugging? i can feel how you keep pulling it if we're this close, you know," joohyun says.
she sighs for the nth time that morning since she stepped out of that souvenir shop along with this newly-found soulmate of hers.
who would have thought things like this still exists?
"i'm sorry," the woman says, looking not sorry at all. "it's just that i can't believe this is happening. i want to keep testing if this invisible thread is real. who knows if you guys are just scamming me."
joohyun presses her lips against the teacup and smiles before taking a sip. "if that ahjumma is scamming us, i don't think she'd give us these bracelets for free. we didn't even buy anything from her."
the two of them stare at the red rope couple bracelets on the table. it was given to them as a gift by the old woman.
"you're right." the woman turns away to look at the beach. "isn't it funny how we met just today? i mean, why only today? you could have been a little early, you know."
"are you saying you're gonna break off your wedding if i showed up in your life yesterday?"
"no. of course not. i am in love with my wife."
"good." joohyun clears , feeling somewhat envious of that. "because whatever that ahjumma says, or whatever the spirits want, it will still depend on the two of us. many people have forgotten this soulmate thing. and i'm sure some couples aren't soulmates but are still happy."
the woman nods as she sips her coffee. joohyun notices the wedding band on her soulmate's finger.
"you said you got married yesterday. i assume this is where you are spending your honeymoon. where is your wife then?" joohyun asks.
"she's still sleeping back in the hotel room. too tired after our great last night."
joohyun raises an eyebrow. "do you really have to tell that to my face?"
the woman laughs. "come on. you can't be jealous. we just met. you don't know anything about me. i don't even know your name."
"it may be best if we keep it at that. let's not make this soulmate thing a reason to get attached, especially now we're both in a committed relationship."
"ooh. so you're here with someone too, huh?" the woman inspects joohyun's ring finger, noticing the absence of a ring. "a boyfriend or a girlfriend?"
"where is she then? why are you wandering the beach alone this morning?"
"well..." joohyun settles her cup down, a playful smirk appearing on her face. "she's still sleeping back in the hotel room. too tired after our great last night."
the woman claps and laughs. joohyun realizes how she's getting attracted to her soulmate's cheeky smile.
"how does that feel hearing it, huh?" joohyun asks.
"i get you now," the woman says, pointing at joohyun. "yeah. it felt something."
joohyun smiles and sips her tea again.
there was silence after. the sound of the sea rolling in and out of the shore fills the air.
"you're gorgeous," the woman says.
"you're gorgeous. just want to let you know that, in case we won't see each other again after this."
they never had an actual agreement, but it seems they are both thinking to keep things in this way--as strangers.
"thank you," joohyun says after a few more seconds of silence. she flicks one of the bracelets with a finger. it slides along the table towards her soulmate. "can you at least keep that one for me as a memento?"
"i would." the woman pockets it and stands. "i should head back now."
joohyun stands up. "thank you for breakfast."
"no worries. anything for my soulmate." the woman pats joohyun's head. "can i at least get your name?"
with a smile, joohyun shakes her head. "too dangerous."
"even just an alias or something?"
"hmm. you can call me irish."
"right. that's the name written on the woman's nameplate who served our breakfast."
joohyun laughs. she looks around, a finger on chin and sees the coffee house name: serene coffee house
the woman trails her line of sight. "oh. great. now you're coming up with a name for me." she turns to joohyun. "should i call you serene? maurene? irene?"
"irene sounds nice." joohyun nods. "i like the sound of it."
the woman scratches her nape, smiling. "fine. fine." she picks her phone when it buzzes on the table. "i really should go now. wifey's up."
"go ahead. i need to go back too."
"it was nice meeting you today." the woman reaches out and pulls joohyun into a hug.
and joohyun feels like thousands of butterflies exploded in her stomach with that warm hug.
but the woman had to pull away. "i'll see you around, soulmate. take care."
"you too." she smiles as she watches her soulmate walks away from her.
joohyun couldn't explain what she feels. like her soulmate, there's no doubt she's in love with her significant other. but why is she feeling a little sad today after seeing that woman walk away?
maybe she should have at least given her name and ask for her soulmate's too.
she shakes her head. that's when she noticed the receipt on the table perched under the glass. she remembers seeing her soulmate pay the counter with a card.
she checks the paper, a full smile finally breaking out after finding what she's looking for.
"hmm. kang seulgi, huh?"