“If a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate, would you want to know?”
lol yes, so then i can shave.
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.”
“Thats weird…” I checked my wrist, the clock had just hit the 30 second mark but I looked around and there was no one there. I was a worrisome guy overall but I felt justified, I mean today was the day I was meeting my soul mate. Not that I expected my dream girl to be in the storage closet at work but still I was nervous.
Walking out with a box the boss had requested I walked back to my cash register setting it on the shelf. My wrist hit the 20 second mark
Where was she? I could not help but get worried that an error would pop up or that she was gone and my timer would run out with no response. I panicked, I’d change my own fate if I had to. Running out of time I hurried through the back door. There was a park outside and maybe I was supposed to be there to find my soul mate.
A faint ding of the doorbell hit my ear. Wait was that it?? She was here! I turned around running back to the counter. “Don’t worry I’m just in the back!”
I ran out looking at my wrist as it hit zero. Out of breath “Hi I’m Matt!” Sticking out my hand for a handshake it was met by a firm hand. Meeting my soulmate’s eyes for the first time they spoke.
“I’m Steven.” The man gave a smile “It’s nice to meet you.”
I watch my friend carefully. Her excitement is glowing all over her pretty face. Exactly 2 minutes left, she tells me. We’re waiting at the bus stop and the bus is coming in two minutes. I think she hoped she’d meet them on a beach at sunset or something.
”I mean that’s ok - these things can’t always be romantic I mean my mum met dad when he was working at the book store and it’s not like you can plan it to be romantic I just hoped, I mean everyone hopes don’t they-” she breaks off, looking at me awkwardly. “Sorry. It’s just a big day for me you know.” Yes I do know. You’ve been going on about it for the past year. I smile at her.
”Don’t worry. You nervous? You’ll be ok, you always are,” I grin, determined not to ruin this for her. It’s selfish of me to be moody. This is her future being determined. Right here. In now, precisely 1 minute 30 seconds.
She smiles at me, but it isn’t quite reaching her eyes. She’s restless and keeps tapping her foot. Her eyes are wide with.. fear? Excitement? Nerves? Probably all of them and a thousand more things I can’t imagine. She keeps checking her wrist. So do I. The bus comes around the corner. 1 minute 10 seconds.
”Hey. I’ll leave you alone now ok? The bus is here. I’ll sit a couple of seats away, and be there if you need me,” I say, squeezing her arm reassuringly. “Good luck.” I hope it sounded sincere.
The bus pulls up and I climb on first, taking a quick glance at her while I give the driver my ticket. She’s shaking and looks a little green. I want to give her a hug but know I shouldn’t interrupt now. I look at the passengers and it’s full of pensioners. My heart starts beating frantically. What? I can’t see anyone else at the bus stop. But she’s only 18, she can’t end up with a 80 year old.
I turn around and look at her - she’s breathing hard. The bus driver asks if she’s ok but she ignores him. Her eyebrows are creased and her face is flushed. Oh. Oh no. Stay calm. Someone is probably late. I give her a thumbs up and try to smile reassuringly. I think it’s more of a grimace.
I take a seat near the back. Look at my watch. 25 seconds. She sits down a few seats away.
Suddenly a dark shape runs past my window and a boy jumps on the bus. He has that same frantic look in his eyes. I breathe out with relief.
”Yeah get on, we’re running late,” the driver says, taking his ticket. The boy looks around, carefully stepping towards the seats. He’s tall and handsome, holding a sketchbook. I smile slightly; my friend hates art.
He spots her.
His eyes widen as he walks closer, as if being pulled by an invisible rope.
My friend stands up too, that same rope tying her to him.
1 second -
”I was worried the bus would leave. No way could I miss meeting my soul mate!” he jokes, though he looks just as nervous as she. They smile at each other as they both sit down together. I can’t hear what they’re talking about.
I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Suddenly I’m crying. Hot tears dropping down my cheeks.
I look at my wrist, scratching at it. Trying to get rid of it.
The numbers have never changed.
They’ve always been at 0.
Oh my god that last one…. My heart… The feels….
AGH ALL OF YOU WRITE A BOOK THIS VERY INSTANT. PLEASE.
this is beautiful and everyone needs to read it
Countdown: many different short stories all about the same thing, the count down to your souls mate
From the moment you knew what the number on your wrist meant, you hated it.
You didn’t believe in the concept of soulmates. People weren’t born with half a soul, that was a ridiculous concept. You believed that people could be important to each other, that people could love each other very deeply. But soulmates? There was no way that was real.
Because if it was, that would mean there was something wrong with you.
You cover it up, try to forget the numbers are there. But it’s hard to forget when literally nobody will shut up about it. Everywhere you go, people are talking excitedly about their numbers, counting down to the second they will meet “The One.” People with higher numbers are jealous of the people with lower numbers, you notice. They tell the lower numbers that they’re so lucky, they don’t have to wait to find their happiness. This disgusts you. Why are these people so obsessed with meeting this one person, when there are so many other people around who could make them happy? There are seven billion people on this planet, and they mean to tell you that only one person could possibly make their life complete? How blind do they have to be?
But you never say anything. You’ve learned to keep that sort of thinking to yourself, or else you get looked at like a freak. Right now, you better just focus on getting home without incident. Usually people leave you alone, but sometimes they notice that you cover up your clock. And people, being people, are always curious as to why.
As you walk, you notice your clock has shifted out from underneath your glove. Despite your best efforts to cover it without looking, you get a glimpse. You almost fall down in surprise. Shit, only seconds left??? In your shock, you don’t notice the person in front of you. You slam your forehead into theirs full-force.
“Shit man! I’m so sorry!” comes a loud and overexcited voice, and before you see the person you feel hands helping you off the ground. “I knew I was meeting you today, but I wasn’t trying to give you a concussion or nothin’. My name’s-“
Before they could finish you push the person away, scowling. There was no way you were falling into this trap. “I don’t care what your name is, get away from me.”
You can hear the person stuttering, flabbergasted behind you. “B-but, aren’t you… Isn’t your clock…?”
You turn around, and for the first time you see the person fully. There’s nothing special about them, as far as people go they seem pretty average. You don’t feel any attraction, any of that magnetic pull that people claim they feel. This satisfies you and saddens you at the same time. Part of you still wants to be wrong, to not be broken. You turn to walk away, unable to look at them any longer.
“The clock is bullshit,” you say, hoping the person doesn’t follow you. “If you want to be happy, you’d forget about it.”
That wasn’t the last you saw of them, to your everlasting chagrin. Somehow, they tracked down your address (creepy, you think) and came to your house. The first time they knocked on your door, you slammed it in their face. The second time, you threatened to set your dog on them if they didn’t leave you alone. You didn’t care what they wanted, or what they had to say. You just didn’t want to see them anymore. Just the very thought of them filled you with an unbearable guilt, despite your resolve to not care. This person must have put you on such a high pedestal, must have thought you were going to complete their life, and you’re aware it’s not your fault but you can’t let them into your life because you know, deep down inside, that you can never give them what they want.
The third time they knock, you open the door, determined to send them away for good.
They stand there, arms up in preparation for an attack or yelling or anything. When they realize nothing is coming, they slowly let their arms fall to their side, surprised. “O-okay,” they start, “Before you do anything, I just want to talk.”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” you say. “I told you, the clocks are bullshit. You’d be better off forgetting about them, and forgetting about me.”
“Okay, but why are the clocks bullshit? Is there something wrong with yours? Did it malfunction somehow, or was yours not in sync with mine, or…?”
“They’re bullshit because I-!” you stop, catch yourself, you can’t let this person know you’re such a freak. Your breath catches in your throat. “They’re just wrong, okay? There’s no such thing as a soulmate. It’s a fucked up concept that people spend their lives obsessing over and it means nothing. There are billions of other people in the world, go fall in love with one of them. I’m not worth your time.”
“But why?” they ask again, “Why do you think you’re not worth it? Is it something I did? Did I do something wrong? Please, if it’s something I did just tell me-“
“IT’S BECAUSE I CAN’T FEEL THAT WAY, OKAY!!!” In that moment it all comes rushing out, all the emotion and all the doubts. You crumple in the doorway, and the person barely has enough time to catch you before you’re sobbing in their arms, holding onto them for dear life. “I c-can’t feel that way,” you manage to choke out, “I d-don’t feel anything, I don’t feel love the way everyone else does. I’ve never wanted to kiss anyone, never wanted them t-to… hold me and make out with me and tell me that they love me. I’ve never wanted to sleep with anyone. I just can’t think about people that way. And you…” you look up at them, tears streaming down your face, “You were my last chance to prove I wasn’t broken. But I am broken. I can’t give you want you want. So you’re better off just leaving and finding someone else, because all I’ll do is hurt you more if you stay.”
The person is silent for a long time, just taking in everything you’ve said. Then, finally, a soft smile spreads on their face, and they pull you into a gentle hug. It’s unexpected, and you want to push them off but at the same time you need this, so you let the moment happen and hold onto it for as long as you can. Finally, they let go, and you expect them to leave. But instead, they move to hold your hand comfortingly, and they look you in the eye and say, “It’s okay. I’m that way too.”
You can hardly believe what you just heard. For a moment, you wonder if you just imagined it, or if they’re just lying to make you feel better. “W-what?”
“I don’t feel that way about people either,” they continue, “I never had. And for a long time I felt the same way you did. But then I realized, these clocks? They don’t have to count down to the moment you meet your soulmate. Maybe… maybe everybody has it wrong. Maybe it just counts down to the moment you meet the person that will change your life. And that person doesn’t have to be your lover, or your soulmate. Maybe that person just has to be your friend.”
They take your other hand, the one with the clock, and slowly they remove the glove covering it. You see the numbers, stuck at zero, and for the first time you don’t feel sad or angry at the sight of it. You feel happy, because you finally know you’re not broken. You’re not wrong. You’re not the only one.
“So!” They say, wiping their eyes (had they been crying too? You hadn’t noticed), “How about I take you over to my place? My brother has the coolest entertainment room and he told me he’d let me borrow it for the occasion, we can play video games and order pizza, if you’re into that…?”
You smile, they already know you so well. Maybe this can work out after all.
“That sounds amazing.”