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giraffe tears

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The wind is blowing today, warm summer breeze playing with the tendrils of Mihyun's hair as she brushes it out of her face a few times before throwing in the towel. The sky is blue, a bright cerulean through the tangled weave of her hair. She's not used to having it this length, and it's strange.

The grass scratches along the skin of her bare calves, catching on the hem of her skirt. The tops brush her palms, whispering as she passes by. Somewhere, beyond the curve of the hill, the ocean is crashing against the cliffs.

Where are you? she thinks, but she already knows the answer. Nestled amidst the green and yellow of the tall grass is the familiar curve of a head, and Mihyun soon emerges on the banks of a pond, crouched hiding amidst tall blades. Hyejin's hair is bobbed now, the chocolate ends barely brushing her shoulders. Mihyun liked her hair before, tucked up in a knot, or the gently-curled ends brushing the fabric of her shirt, barely touching Mihyun's hand resting in the centre of Hyejin's back. She likes Hyejin's hair now too.

"You abandoned me to your brother," Mihyun complains, toeing off her shoes and dropping to sit next to Hyejin on the bank. The water of the pond is cool on her feet.

Hyejin turns, grinning. "Don't make things up," she says, and nudges Mihyun's shoulder with her own. "Last I checked, you two were busy chatting about FIFA. Mikyung was probably thinking you were going to run off with her husband."

Mihyun sticks out her tongue. "Football is football," she says, and snips, her fingers brushing at her skirt, tangling with the fabric. "I'd have suggested a friendly game but none of us are dressed for it."

"You didn't have to wear a dress," Hyejin says, smiling. A tendril of the afternoon summer wind catches a lock of her hair, blowing it into her mouth so that she sputters. Mihyun laughs.

"It's a wedding," she says, and shrugs. "Anyway I don't mind. It's nice to dress up, sometimes." Hyejin is wearing a gorgeous ivory dress, and Mihyun reaches over to smooth her fingers over the silk of the skirt.

"I'm not complaining," she says, muffling a laugh, but Hyejin's cheeks flush pink anyway and Mihyun leans over to drop a kiss on her cheek. Her lips land on Hyejin's mouth instead, startled mid turn and kiss is sweet in the summer sun.

Hyejin's eyes are wide, surprise soon warming to happy familiarity as her eyelids flutter shut, brushing Mihyun's skin. Pressing closer, Mihyun's fingers wander up to cup Hyejin's cheek and kiss deepens for a moment before Hyejin pulls away with a small gasp.

"Stop it," she says, but she's short of breath, eyes sparkling. "You're so mean, when we have to head back for the reception in a few minutes.

"Then stop being so irresistible," Mihyun says, darting forward to press the barest kiss to the tip of Hyejin's nose, leaning back when Hyejin pretends to bat her away with her hands.





The blue sky has bloomed into a rosy dusk over the garden reception; Mihyun has just lifted the last bite of cake to her mouth. Hyejin reaches over, dabbing at a spot of icing in the corner of her mouth as she smiles.

"You're so messy," she says, but it sounds more like a compliment than a complaint. Mihyun swallows her mouthful and sets the fork on the plate before her with a small ding. "Come on," Hyejin says, glancing up at the table where her brother and Mikyung are busy talking with other guests who've wandered over to congratulate them. She wraps her fingers around Mihyun's hand, pulling her to her feet as they leave the trimmed lawn of the garden to trek further into the grass.

"Where—?" Mihyun starts to ask, but Hyejin just squeezes her hand.

"I want to show you something."

The twinkling stars are beginning to appear, scattered across the velvet expanse of the evening sky, and the ground slopes down slightly as they keep walking. It's been a while since Hyejin has had time to wander the grounds like she used to as a child, playing hide and seek with her brother in the long grass.

The evening wind, cooler now, plays across the bare skin of her arms and she shivers. Glancing at Mihyun walking next to her, their eyes meet.

"Almost there," Hyejin says, "if I haven't forgotten where it is." It's been years, but she's pretty sure she could find her way in the dark, the paths engraved on her memory with the indelibility of a childhood memory. Mihyun laughs, a tiny sound of delight that sets the stars ringing.

Just as Hyejin is wondering if she's perhaps forgotten the way after all, a clearing opens before them, the ground covered with soft clover.

And there, fluttering in the twilight, is a cloud of butterflies.

"Oh!' Mihyun's exclamation is hushed, pausing to watch. Hyejin smiles, tugging her elbow as she steps onto the clover.

"They're still here," Hyejin says. "I thought they would be, but there was a always the chance. . ." Her voice trails off, because the butterflies are there and there's no use wondering about things that haven't happened.

The butterflies flutter on the cooling breeze, Mihyun's eyes tracing them as they dart down to land on the clover, rise again into the air. Hyejin sinks down to sit cross-legged on amidst the clover. The ground is slightly damp, the skirt of her dress probably crumpling beneath her, but she doesn't really care.

Eventually, as the sky darkens further, pink fading to navy, the butterflies quiet and Mihyun flops down next to her.

"Thank you for showing me that," she says, and Hyejin smiles.

"That wasn't everything," she says, and tips back to lie on the ground, eyes towards the sky. Mihyun laughs, and copies her motions.

"What are we doing know?" she asks.

"Look at the stars," Hyejin says. "They're so much brighter out here." Over them, the expanse of the night sky glitters with the constellations. Reaching out, her fingers tangle with Mihyun's. It's cool now, almost night, but Mihyun's skin is warm.