For exactly three years and six months, Seulgi has been a nobody.
For exactly three years and six months, Joohyun has also been a nobody.
Two nobodies who live side by side and tangled together in a life with a simple apartment with white walls, simple jobs in cubicles where the paint has dried a decaying yellow. Two nobodies who were once somebodies, young and free and with a bright, artistic future.
Jinri, she's a somebody now. Away from the world of keys and recitals and into the world of dances and drinks and tall, pretty boys that whisk away from the limelight to make her feel pretty for a while, wanted for a while.
Seungwan, she's a somebody now too. Standing at Jinri's side with a fake, wide smile and a sparkle that only reaches her eyes because she's put tear drops in to make those moments more convincing. A pop duo of upbeat, electronic songs with soaring vocals, a real life duo of broken glass and shattered friendships, stolen kisses and stolen boys.
Seulgi and Joohyun, they could have been somebodies also. Could have dressed in extravagant clothes, could have sat side by side in an auditorium instead of an apartment they can't really afford. But then Seulgi thinks of Yerim, young and flowery and beautiful climbing the steps to the stage to replace her after the accident that had torn away Seulgi's ability to play the piano. She thinks of the bright innocence in her eyes that had dimmed after she'd turned eighteen, when she'd gone on tour with the orchestra, to play behind Seungwan for her solo tour.
After Yerim had been broken by the reality that any art brings, that any musical scene causes to weight down upon someone's head with a heaviness not even the strongest man could hold, that not even Seulgi, now nineteen and yet old behind her years could hold.
Seulgi can't play the piano anymore. Her fingers don't bend the way they're supposed to and after three years and six months she still can't hold a mug of coffee the way she wishes, brain struggling to cooperate with the joints of her hands.
There's still a piano in their apartment though. Too big for the small space it sits in, startlingly beautiful in contrast to the cramped corner it sits in, to the paint that peels off the walls behind it. The piano is too beautiful, too young to be pressed into a place like this, to be covered in dust and the odd piece of cat litter fallen from Joohyun's cat's paws.
Seulgi thinks that Joohyun is also too beautiful, too young to be pressed into a place like this, to be covered in ink when she gets home from work and the printer has malfunctioned at her call centre job downtown.
(Joohyun thinks that Seulgi is too beautiful, too young to be broken in the way that she is, to have nothing but Joohyun's weakened support to get her through a life she never wanted).
They're not unhappy. Seulgi has Joohyun, and Joohyun has Seulgi, and it's been that way since they were young. It's been that way locked in stone since they'd rested on the floor of Seulgi's bedroom three years (and six months, two days) ago and Joohyun had decided to quit the piano, to stay by Seulgi's side with the knowledge they'd never practice together again.
Seulgi thinks that Joohyun should play again, that no one should quit a dream, a passion, a talent for another person. Seulgi may not be there one day, and neither will Joohyun's cat, or Jinri or Seungwan or the old man downstairs that gives them fruit from the farmer's market.
But the piano will.
Joohyun could be a somebody still, could easily pick up where she left off as a first place pianist, as the beautiful doll like girl that played with all the emotions of someone with many heartbreaks, all the technicality of clockwork. Joohyun could easily sit down in front of their piano that had once sat in Seulgi's house and wipe it clean, could easily press her pretty fingers to the keys and restart the life she'd paused for an accident.
It makes Seulgi feel guilty as she sits and watches it, listens to the piano whisper and taunt and tells her that Joohyun doesn't deserve this. Seulgi knows and she wishes the guilt would stop screaming day by day, wishes she could forgive herself for being careless, for getting hurt and crashing not one, but two careers the way a vehicle had crashed into her.
"You're moping again," A soft voice, one that interrupts Seulgi's thoughts and has her mind whisking itself back into reality, back into the dreary apartment where the piano is silent and dusty, where the cat is meowing pitifully at her feet, starved for attention. Seulgi looks past Joohyun and at the chips of paint that bother the order inside her mind where everything is perfect and places into tiny boxes. She looks at the piano and then she looks up at Joohyun, sees her angelic face beaming, eyes tired but smile bright.
"You're too young to be this tired," Seulgi mumbles and above the steady thump of her heart she can hear a haunting melody that threatens to consume her mind, one Joohyun had once played. Joohyun sits down effortlessly, legs encasing Seulgi to press a gentle kiss to her forehead.
"What brought that thought on," Joohyun says with a laugh, one of the sweet ones she uses when Seulgi gets this way, which is always.
"I want to hear you play," Seulgi blurts out, and her eyes flicker from the chipped paint to Joohyun now, who's eyes have widened in mute shock. "I want you to play again."
"You know why I quit, you-" Joohyun stiffens, but her grip on Seulgi's arms is still gentle, weight still light even as she pulls back slightly. "I can't do that to you."
"It's not to me," Seulgi says with a sigh. And she's tired too. Tired of her mindless job, tired of being away from her family and their old life, tired of wishing for things that can never return. "It's for me."
Joohyun ends the conversation as abruptly as it starts with a chaste kiss to Seulgi lips that feels more like the offtune crash of too many piano keys at once. "I can't," Is all Joohyun says before she's lifting herself off of Seulgi and pulling them both to their feet. "Come on, let's eat."
I'm the one that can't, Seulgi thinks bitterly, but there's a shy smile on her lips as she follows Joohyun into the kitchen. You're the one that won't.
Tomorrow, Seulgi will try again to convince Joohyun, try like she has been for the past while. Maybe she'll clean the piano herself, get the cobwebs out from beneath its belly where she knows the spiders have been hiding. She'll try.
hunhunya you're up! Sorry I know that was quick ~