“Do you have to be home soon?” Joohyun stops for a moment to look back at a lagging Wendy.
“You walk slow.” Joohyun said it so factually that Wendy had to fight back.
“I walk just fine! My walking pace is normal. It’s not my fault you walk like you’re about to be late to class. You’re basically jogging at that pace!”
Joohyun just giggles at the younger girl. She’s never going to get enough of riling up Wendy. How could she, when Wendy juts her lips out in a heart-melting, adorable pout.
Joohyun is amazed how quickly she’s grown to treasure moments like this with Wendy. Just weeks ago she was trying to calm down a jittery girl, but it’s hard to imagine now that the Wendy she has right now is that same person. This Wendy is not afraid to fight back at her harmful teasing. It’s endearing that Wendy has grown so comfortable in their friendship that they are able to banter like they’ve had years to learn each other.
Wendy huffs as she finally catches up to Joohyun. “What were you saying before?”
“Oh, I was just wondering if you need to be home soon.” Joohyun starts walking as soon as Wendy is beside her. This time she walks slower, matching Wendy’s pace. “If not, did you wanna grab dinner first? There’s this really good place that sells spicy cream cheese chicken and I’m kind of craving it.”
“Yeah, I could eat but unnie… What about your sister? Won’t she starve to death or get bored with you not there?”
“Don’t worry. She’ll be fine. I bet she’s happy I’m not there to distract her and nag her to stop playing on her computer.” Joohyun hides in a harmless excuse, hoping to spend more time with her newfound friend. Wendy has quickly become the highlight of her weeks. Somehow, the younger girl just finds a way to brighten up her day.
“Okay unnie, let’s go!”
Wendy feels a sense of calmness just walking with Joohyun by her side. She can feel the wind lightly brushing her hair out of her face. It’s not sweltering hot anymore, with the night winds carrying the summer heat away. Wendy doesn’t remember the last time she’s ever felt this content. Sure, she still worries about her studies and her parents, but for now those take a backseat in her mind. Right now, she’s enjoying this night stroll with Joohyun while her new bunny keychain hangs from her pocket.
They continue walking for a few more metres until they turn to a corner and see packed restaurant. The place had a homey vibe – paint peeling off the brick walls, wooden tables with metal legs, worn-out stools and a see-through plastic tarp shielding customers from the rain outside. It’s nothing fancy, but the evidence of ageing reminds Wendy that those are scars from weather and time – and it survived.
The sound of the sky crackling alerted Wendy of the light rain that has started grace them.
Joohyun lightly jogs towards Wendy who is frantically running to get under the tarp. “Wendy, calm down! It’s just a little bit of water.”
As if the heavens were offended by what Joohyun had said, the light pitter-patter quickly became a heavy downpour, accompanied by the loud roaring of thunder and lightning. Joohyun flinches and yelps at the loud sound, her jog turning into a full panic-stricken sprint.
Joohyun thinks about how the universe likes to play with her. How audacious. She tries to make a mental note to be more careful with her words. Turns out, the universe is always listening.
Finally reaching the restaurant, Wendy giggled lightly. “Unnie, I think it heard you,” Wendy says, clearly amused by what had just transpired. Wendy thought Joohyun looked extremely comical with her mussed and mildly damp hair. She looked annoyed, ready to curse at the skies for giving her a light shower, but Wendy continues to laugh, finding the situation all too amusing.
Joohyun stood before Wendy wide-eyed, as if still processing the rain’s assault on her before she is startled by the gentle pull on her hand. She looks down to see Wendy tugging her inside. “Unnie, let’s go! I’m starving.”
Wendy holds in her laughter and teasing aside. They have to eat first. She has more time later on to make fun of her Joohyun-unnie.
They settle on a table for two, situated at the far corner of a restaurant and Wendy is thankful for the privacy, able to bask in a comfortable bubble that she has willingly trapped herself in.
It’s almost midnight when Wendy and Joohyun actually left to go home. Wendy was absolutely stuffed. She didn’t realise Joohyun would order so much. The spicy cream cheese chicken was indeed heavenly. But they also ended up getting bibimbap and kimchi jiggae. Wendy thinks back to the last time she was this full – it’s been a while. She usually likes to watch what she’s eating, making sure she stays in shape. But she finds herself forgetting a lot of things