“If a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate, would you want to know?”
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.