A little late, but here's another Year of Short Stories addition. This one came from several story starter ideas about soulmates. I liked the twists soulmates can have, and have wondered if soulmates were necessarily meant to be only romantic or could be platonic as well.
“Six more hours,” Mom sang as she danced through the living room. “I can’t believe it in six more hours you’re going to be a grown-up, functioning member of society, Greye!”
“Funny how you put it,” I grumbled. “I thought I was already a grown-up functioning member of society.”
“Ah, you have a flat and a job, but you need a car, house and the sound of little feet.” She sighed for the umpteenth time. “He’ll be a good man. Hard-working, local boy.”
“You mean I need to live out here like you and Dad wanted did.”
“Exactly. Everyone, when they find their soulmates, moves out to the country to have children. It’s expected. Life’s better out here.”
Arguing with my mother proved pointless, so I put my feet up on the sofa and ignored her, as best one could ignore someone dancing around the house, occasionally picking up my wrist to check the time. All babies are born with a number on their wrists. It began counting down from their first breath to the day the babies would find their soulmates. Mine had finally wound down to six hours some thirty odd years after I was born.
For my sisters, one older and one younger, they had found their soulmates sitting in English lit classes on the same day, six years apart in age. Our older brother’s time had suddenly blinked out one day, leaving him as one of the many numberless ones while our younger brother had met his soulmate, a wonderful girl, six years, two days and twenty hours after he was born. To date, his was the quickest, and I the longest.
It wasn’t as exciting as my mother made it out to be. I had watched too many friends and family flounder on the days it came closer. Sometimes it was funny; sometimes it wasn’t. One of my closest friends in elementary school, Sara, had contemplated suicide when she learned her soulmate was another woman, Mary. Sara didn’t swing that way, and truthfully, neither had Mary, but they found friendship that proved soulmates didn’t always marry like my parents and sisters and brother had.
I had to come home for my brother’s wedding, and it was during the wedding, while everyone chatted about how they met their soulmates, the question arose when I would meet mine. When someone discovered I was under the twenty-four hour mark, pandemonium broke out at the wedding. Now, eighteen hours later, I still felt the repercussions of it all.
“I’m heading out,” I told my mom, as I slammed the door shut behind me. Growing up in the country had been nice, but I missed the ebb and flow of the city. Besides, Sara and Mary had opened a joint quilting show two days ago, but I hadn’t the time to see it.
My biggest fear wasn’t finding my soulmate to be the same gender – Mary and Sara had proven it could work even with both having wonderful husbands. No; for me, the biggest fear was to find out that my soulmate was everything I hated – narrowminded, adventureless and generally all my mother wanted for me.
Hard-working, humorous and with a broad outlook was all I desired, beyond that, I had little interest in anything. Didn’t want a short man, though unless he remained a friend. Could I even find a man who could remain with a platonic friendship? It wasn’t as though I didn’t have a sex drive, I just didn’t have an active one.
I parked and entered the gallery. The quilts were beautiful – Mary chose bright art quilts whereas Sara was more traditional. Four of the quilts were join pieces with Sara’s underlying traditional blocks countered with Mary’s wild artwork.
Oddly, all worked in a strange counterbalance.
“Amazing aren’t they?” Mary asked, standing to my right.
“Lovely,” I agreed.
“Heard you’re under a day.”
“Four … no,” I checked my wrist. “Fifteen minutes.”
Mary whistled. “Scared?”
I shrugged. How could one be scared of something unknown, but every day? “Intrigued.”
“You’ll be fine,” Mary assured me. “Happens to us all, eventually.”
I checked the clock on my phone. “Do you want me to pick up something for you two?”
“Thanks – we haven’t left all day, and I’m hungry.”
There was a coffee shop around the corner that had some of the best meals in the town. Standing in line, I looked around the area to see if anyone checked their wrists for the time. Two people from the register, a wheel bumped my leg, and I turned to see a boy, near fifteen grinning up at me from his wheelchair. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered.
A kid?! My soulmate was a freaking kid?! I looked at my wrist. No, still thirty seconds left. “Hi,” I said. “Thanks.”
“I didn’t think you’d be so beautiful,” he said, awe in his voice. “He’ll be thrilled.”
The door opened again and a man entered, he was near my age, but what side I couldn’t tell. His hair was dark, and thank heavens, he was taller than me. “Hello?” He offered a cock-eyed smile and looked at his wrist – the time had run out.
I held up my wrist, time also having run out.
“Met her before you did, Uncle Neville.”
“Hello, Greye,” the cashier greeted me. He was friends with my younger sister. “What can I get you?”
“That’s a beautifully exotic name,” Neville said behind me.
“Three daily specials, I’m taking food over to Sara and Mary as well.”
I turned to Neville and his nephew. “You two want something, my treat.”
They ordered, and we left for the gallery. “You’re going there?” Jaime, the nephew, asked. “We wanted to go in, but people give us weird looks if men go to a quilt show.”
Every day mundane. Not what I expected, nothing I hated, and someone interesting. Maybe the soulmate thing wasn’t such a bad thing after all.