You’re Gonna Go Far

The calluses on Yunjin's fingers are becoming more prominent than it ever was before.


Gliding her fingers through the strings of her guitar, she noticed the little details of its worn-out textures. Yunjin couldn't remember the last time she replaced the strings of her favourite instrument; it's most likely over a year now. The sounds it made when she picked it up this morning clearly show that it's overdue for proper maintenance. Regardless, it still sounded nice in her ears. The fact that it aged a bit only gives the instrument a more rustic, down-to-earth feeling which is the concept that Yunjin is going for when writing her songs.


Speaking of which, Yunjin is finding it very hard today to write not a even single line of verse.


It was a Saturday morning. There weren't as many promotions and marketing gigs at the end of the year for her and the rest of the members of LE SSERAFIM, minus a couple of end-of-year appearances at several annual award shows. Preparations for their performances ended the day before and their management had given them a one-week buffer to rest and rejuvenate before jumping in head first into the Christmas and New Year's events that will last from early December to mid-January. So, to make use of their short, 7-day break, Yunjin thought that it would be best to wipe the cobwebs off her creative engine and administer the necessary oil to get back into the flow of songwriting. Once she woke up in her bed half an hour ago, she picked up her guitar from its stand that was placed next to her body mirror, put the capo on the 2nd fret and started strumming.


However, the mindless strumming didn't help. And this minor inconvenience did not help regulate Yunjin's patience levels.


Sighing defeatedly, she strummed a loud G chord on the guitar before putting her chin on its body. Her right hand started lightly drumming her fingers against the strings sitting at the top of the sound hole, creating an arpeggio of notes that sounded like poorly played ambient music. Yunjin stared at the window that overlooked the neighbourhood of Hannam-dong. The sky was clear of clouds which helped the bright sun shine its rays down on the inhabitants below. The sounds of roadwork about a couple of blocks away were muted by her bedroom walls, painting a clearer picture of city life in Seoul. Yunjin liked it quite a bit. It reminds her a bit of New York.


Soft knocks were heard from her bedroom door, disturbing her quiet daydream.


Yunjin's head turned towards the door, and she yelled out, "Come in, the door's not locked!"


The doorknob turned the opposite way, opening up a small space between the door and the person's head who peeked into the room. It was Eunchae, smiling adorably at Yunjin, her blonde hair falling effortlessly in front of her face.


"Morning, Unnie," Eunchae greeted the older girl in a singing voice. "Come out, I made some breakfast for the both of us."


"Really?" asked Yunjin in a surprised, almost mocking tone. "Who would've thought you were nice enough to cook something for us, let alone me."


Eunchae made a judgemental look, as she eyed Yunjin from top to bottom before responding, "Fine, I'll throw yours in the bin then."


Yunjin giggled at the younger girl's reaction. She stood up to place her guitar back on its stand and quickly made her bed before walking up to Eunchae and proceeded to pat the top of her head gently. "Thanks for cooking, baby girl."


Eunchae hummed in response. She walked ahead first to allow Yunjin to close the bedroom door behind her. Yunjin let out a loud yawn as the two girls made their way out of the corridor and to the dining table where Eunchae laid out a surprisingly decent-looking Japanese-style breakfast: a bowl of steamed rice, grilled salmon, pickled cucumbers, miso soup with soft tofu, rolled omelette and a glass of cold green tea. Living with the youngest girl of the group for a couple of years before and after debuting, it never came to Yunjin's mind that Eunchae had the courage to pick up a chef's knife, much less prepare a big meal such as this one.


"Whoa," Yunjin sounded her amazement. She looked at Eunchae, who had already sat down at her breakfast set with a proud look on her face. "This actually looks really good."


"Thanks!" Eunchae beamed with a bright smile as she picked up a pair of chopsticks on the table. "It took such a long time, though. I had to pickle the cucumbers overnight, then I woke up at 6 am to prep and cook the rest of the ingredients. It should taste as good as it looks!"


"Yeah, no kidding," said Yunjin, still in awe at the delicious food that was in front of her. As she sat down at the table in front of Eunchae, she noticed that she left her phone charging in her bedroom so she couldn't tell the time of day. "Hey, what time is it, by the way?"


Eunchae took a bite of the rolled omelette with steamed rice underneath before tapping her phone screen that was on the table. She glanced at it for a quick second before saying, "10:35."


"You woke up at 6 am..." asked Yunjin, motioning her hand over the spread in front of her. "To prepare all of this?"


"Yeah," replied Eunchae, tearing a piece of her salmon and chucking it in before placing a piece of the pickled cucumber in there as well.


"Wow..." said Yunjin, softly clapping her hands. She could feel start to water the longer she was staring at the food and not eating it. "What amazing character development."


"Alright, I won't cook for you ever again," said Eunchae, shooting an irritated look at Yunjin, who laughed at the sight.


"I'm joking, I'm joking," reassured Yunjin, picking up her own set of chopsticks, and then proceeding to tear a piece of the grilled salmon, pickled cucumber and rolled omelette and picked it all up in one scoop with some rice underneath. As the melting pot of ingredients entered , her eyebrows furrowed intensely as she began to chew on the food. It tasted amazing. in delight, she set her chopsticks and started clapping loudly, applauding the orchestral arrangement of the well-cooked, well-seasoned food. She pointed to the food with her hand aggressively, creating another satisfied sound from her full mouth before swallowing the food down and continuing her meal.


Eunchae stared at the older girl in admiration, smiling gladly for a second before getting back to her meal. The two girls continued to eat their meal in peaceful silence.


When it was time to clean the dishes, Yunjin volunteered to do it as a way of showing gratitude towards Eunchae's efforts in making breakfast for the two. Eunchae initially rejected the offer as she felt that she needed to clean up the mess she made, but since the older girl was very adamant about it, she had no choice but to let Yunjin and her stubbornness win the war. As Yunjin began rinsing the cutlery and other kitchen utensils in the sink and placing them inside the dishwasher, Eunchae walked over to the living room and lay herself down on the long, slightly creased white couch. Grabbing her phone out of her pocket, she began scrolling through various social media apps to pass the time.


Chucking a dishwashing tablet in the small, square-shaped compartment inside the dishwasher, Yunjin turned the machine on and set it on Eco mode before closing it shut. Three, high-pitched beeps followed, indicating that the cleaning process had started. Opening the fridge to grab a tall water jug and an empty glass cup to pour some cold water for herself, Yunjin felt a yawn coming and it didn't take long before she let it all out at a volume that even Eunchae could hear from the living room.


"Are you going back to bed, Unnie?" asked Eunchae as she watched Yunjin walk towards her with a hand massaging her belly. The latter shook her head and motioned her hand to Eunchae as if telling her to spread her legs apart. Once Eunchae did what she was asked, Yunjin set herself between Eunchae's legs and snuggled her head onto her chest, smelling her rose-scented white tee as a result. The new fabric softener Yunjin bought a week ago is working wonders for all of their clothes. It was almost making her feel drowsy.


Eunchae began to the older girl's hair while her eyes were still fixated on her phone screen, her thumb mindlessly going through the Instagram app and liking random pictures popping up on her feed now and then. After a minute of silence, Eunchae spoke up and questioned, "Do you have any plans today?"


Yunjin shook her head against Eunchae's chest, then she raised herself slightly to allow her body to switch positions so that she was facing the ceiling now. Checking her fingernails for any scum hiding underneath them, Yunjin replied, "Not really. Might go to the studio and write some stuff out. What about you?"


Eunchae locked her phone and set it down on the living room floor. Her fingers began playing with Yunjin's orange-coloured hair – a colour she had often complimented Yunjin about since it accentuated her Western-oriented personality – and making little braids with it. "I'm meeting up with Bahiyyih to go to this new café that just opened in Yeonnam-dong, then we're heading to the new Studio Ghibli popup in Seongsu-dong."


"Oh! That sounds like fun!" exclaimed Yunjin, sitting up straight to face Eunchae. She fixed her hair a little as she continued, "Let me know how the popup goes 'cause I wanna go there myself."


Eunchae raised an eyebrow and asked, "On your own?"


Yunjin nodded, looking at Eunchae weirdly as she retorted back, "Why's that?"


Eunchae shrugged her shoulders, standing up from the couch before stretching out her limbs and ending it with a loud sigh, and said, "All good. Just thought you'd go there with someone, that's all."


"Yeah, well, most of my friends are busy with their schedules so I can't make them come if I'm only being a nuisance to them," explained Yunjin. The last time she spoke with anyone outside of LE SSERAFIM was with Minjeong and Aeri, and both were busy with variety show appearances and promotional campaigns for both their new album and sponsorships with fashion and beauty brands. That was two weeks ago and Yunjin knew that a text in their group chat would most likely be replied to with a read message.


"Okay, well what about your guy friends?" curiously asked Eunchae. She was making her way to the shared bathroom where she would take a shower and prepare for her day with a non-LE SSERAFIM acquaintance.


"I don't..." Yunjin trailed off after thinking about it for a second. "Know anyone that are guys..."


Eunchae walked back to the living room with a towel hanging over her neck and some of her shower essentials in one hand, and said to Yunjin, "Unnie, I totally get it if you like girls, but you really gotta start mingling with the opposite to break out of that shell of yours."


Yunjin gasped dramatically and yelled at Eunchae whose presence had left the living room towards the bathroom, "What the hell, I do not like girls!"


Eunchae yelled back saying, "Still love you the same if you do, Unnie!" Yunjin heard the bathroom door close and the sound of running water coming from the inside.


Yunjin groaned in annoyance, feeling a little bit hot under the collar as she made her way back into the bedroom to get changed. It bothered her a bit every time her members questioned her uality; not that it was a sensitive topic to touch on, but it had become a constant of every joke made against Yunjin every time any of them mentioned the lack of a male figure in her predominantly female friend group.


As she entered her bedroom and closed the door behind her, she walked in front of her standing mirror and stared at herself for a moment. There was a saying that if you look at yourself in the mirror for long enough, your face will distort and contort in odd shapes and forms, making you look like, well, not like you anymore. Yunjin feels that this is true as she continues to eye every inch of her face, and then her neck, and then her arms, and then her chest and waist, and then all the way down to her bare feet. She scratched herself in confusion, thinking how and why her members and everyone close to her think that she swings for the same team.


She started to undress, taking note of each article of clothing she threw onto her bed until she was left with nothing but her body staring back at her in the mirror. Pinching her sides and thighs, she slapped her skin slightly to watch as it rippled from the contact like a tidal wave.


A slight sinking feeling could be felt in her chest. The kind that made it hard for her to swallow. The kind that clouded the blue sky outside her bedroom window. The kind that wasn't kind to herself. Shaking her head slightly to get rid of any unwanted thoughts, she quickly dressed into a pair of blue denim jeans, an oversized white sweater, a burgundy scarf and a black leather jacket. She put on her glasses and tied her hair up in a messy ponytail, taking a quick glance at herself in the mirror before grabbing her purse with her wallet and keys inside and carrying her phone in one hand as she exited her bedroom and into the corridor.


"I'm leaving, baby girl!" shouted Yunjin as she passed the bathroom.


Knowing that Eunchae probably couldn't hear her from the shower, she didn't wait for a reply and made her way to the front door where she quickly put on some white sneakers and headed out of the apartment.


The cold, end-of-Autumn air hit her immediately; a shiver ran down her spine as she thanked herself for putting on layers.


That funny feeling she felt in her room; she was going to take advantage of that and pen it down into words on a piece of paper.

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