“If a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate, would you want to know?”
One minute, 37 seconds.
My legs are shaking. Holy cow, there is no way I can do this. None.
One minute, 29 secods.
I glance around at the faces surrounding the room. Of course my Meeting would take place in the gross, overcrowded cafeteria.
One minute, six seconds.
Somewhere within these four walls, someone has the exact same countdown on their wrist. They’re going through the exact same pressure as me.
Mom said I should be excited, not nervous. Yet I still find myself wiping my sweaty palms on my dress. I can’t believe she talked me into wearing a dress. I mean, shouldn’t my Soul Mate meet me as I normally am? All plain jeans, blah shirts, and wild brown curls?
Something deep within me tells me to stand up. I do, drawing the attention of my tablemates. They all know too. They smile encouragingly up at me. I chew my lip nervously.
That same feeling pulls me towards the center of the room. My stomach drops away from me as I take a step in that direction.
I continue in that direction. With each step the tempo of my heart picks up.
17. More rapid.
16. It’s racing.
Oh my god this is it. The moment my life changes forever.
My eyes search frantically around the cafeteria, searching for someone who looks as nervous as me. For someone who’s heading towards their future with no sense of direction like me.
The feeling directs me slightly to the left. I turn to accomodate.
5. My heart has given up entirely.
4. I stop walking.
3. Just waiting left.
2. Everything is about to change.
1. Deep breath.
0000 d 00 h 00 m 00 s
Someone bumps my shoulder. I twirl around and my gray eyes meet blue, blue ones.
“Hello there, love. It appears as though we’re Soul Mates then, eh?”
As my words fail me, the only thing I can think is “I’m so glad I shaved this morning.”
I’m sitting outside a cafe when it happens, sipping some cheap drink, pretending to enjoy the sunshine. The counter runs to zero, and there is an audible click, the tab deactivates, falls off. The clink of polyurethane to cobblestone floor is echoed a few feet ahead of me. I shake a proffed hand, look up at a disdainful face.
"This is all I get?"
All of my friends’ clock ticking down. Anne’s at 3 weeks time and Jen’s only have 2 days left. Some had longer. Monica’s 6 months and Rui’s in 5 years. Lara’s reached zero last week. She’s been spending a little less time with us since. Her lunch hours are pass with her soul mate instead. The nice tall guy I had a crush on during middle school. My clock didn’t stop when I first met him, so I didn’t even hope.
"Marline!" I jolted. Rui pulled a face. It seems, that in an attempt to get the lunch talk away from her 5 years countdown, she been trying to ask how much time I have left.
"Marline, you’ve never told us what your clock says. We have all shown ours. We wanna know when you’re gonna meet your soul mate!"
I sat still. Everyone is looking at me. I’m the only one who has yet to show anyone my clock. It suppose to countdown to the time I meet my soul mate, Many clocks are reaching zero now, in high school where, it seems, every boys and girls are meeting their soul mate for the first time. Or at least they are excited about it even if it’s still years away like Rui’s.
And then there’s me.
"Well… I don’t know. Thing is, i think mine must be broken or something. Or I’m doomed to be forever alone." I started, trying to make excuse for what is waiting and hope that they won’t be weird about it.
"Why" Is it not counting down? Or is it just a ridiculous long time from now? C’mon. Mine is like, forever!!" Apparently 5 years define Rui’s forever. Either way, she grab my hand before I could hide it.
"What?! You’ve already met yours!! How come we never know of this! When did it happen?"
"It’s been zero since I can remember"
"That’s why I said it must be broken"
"My mom doesn’t remember when it wasn’t zero either. I’m telling you it must be broken"
"Lara?" She’s back from her soul mate time. standing over us with a hand on her hip. Among us, Lara cherished her timed destiny like no one else.
"The clock doesn’t lie and it doesn’t broke" She said.
"But then what.."
"It means you have already met your soul mate"
"But when? Where? If it’s been zero since.."
"You were a baby. Maybe you saw your soul mate when you were a baby"
That rings a bell. Like a burst of glaring bright light in my face.
I was born premature and and had to stay at the hospital for a while before coming home. It must have been someone at the hospital, in the maternity ward. No one would bother to check a baby’s clock.
Hope dawn on me. I am not born without a soul mate to share my life with.
And then it sank, like dusk spreading across the sky that is my future.
How am I ever going to find this person?