So I’ve decided to do a Jack and Dean drawing- with a little Daniel on Dean’s side- and it gonna be a bit more cartoon-ish than a photo-realistic drawing. Anyway, the thing is besides the boys and a ‘OMFGIT’SJACKANDDEAN’ sign at the top, I can’t think of anything and I was wondering you’d help me. Just please, if you have an idea for what else could be in it or scenery, tell me because it’d be helpful, thank.
“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?”
It’s just a couple more weeks, now. I’ve been watching closely as the numbers tick steadily down. Just a couple more weeks, I keep telling myself. Out of my group of friends, I’m on what they like to call the “fast track,” people whose numbers start much lower than others.
Two weeks, six days, fifteen hours. The clock keeps ticking. Two weeks, one day, four hours.
The days are getting so close now I’m pretty sure my uncontrollable excitement is starting to seriously annoy everyone around me. My friends tease me incessantly about who they imagine my soul mate will be. Tall, short, fat, dimples, nail biter, foot tapper.
At one week, three days, and seven hours, the clock stops.
Instead of a soul mate I get condolences, a therapist, and a broken clock.
I hurry down the clinic hallway as I slip on my button-down shirt. They just installed it- how could it have been just two minutes?
Two minutes, thirteen seconds to be exact, and I was nowhere near ready! My hair was a mess, and I felt something in my teeth. I had to look good for my soulmate. A perfectionist through and through.
A sign hanging from the ceiling pointed to a restroom to the right. I checked the time again. A minute and thirty-three seconds? Fuck! I picked up the pace and almost slipped on the time floor.
Time was almost up and my heart was racing. Finally, I dashed into the bathroom to fix myself up. The door shut, and as I looked into the mirror, I heard a click.
I checked the time. Zero.
What? This doesn’t make any…
I looked back at the mirror. Then back at the timer. Back at the mirror. Back at the timer.
Can this please become the new machine of death??? I want a whole book of little stories like this!!
Forgetfulness and loneliness could be such a deadly combination, especially in this case. Or perhaps it was just a lack of noticing how long I really had. The last time I looked down at my wrist was God knows when. Maybe yesterday, maybe last week. Possibly longer. And living in such a busy city should have really made me more aware of when I was going to meet my soulmate.
It was one morning when I was drinking my coffee when I realized already that it was already at 000 days.
And 00 seconds.
My heart drops. I could have passed my soulmate by in the crowd of people crossing the street. It could have been that woman who gave me directions to the bookstore or maybe the waiter who let me have a free cup of coffee. It could have even been that man who almost mugged me a few nights ago, knowing how strange fate can be.
But I never knew who that one person for me was. I’m going to have to go through my whole life without another chance to meet them again. I wonder how they feel about all this…
Not a half hour after installation, my clock went off. A doctor (very handsome, although clockless) was working on my bedside, assisting my nurse. Well then, we both must have thought, why not?
Early on, things went smoothly. But when your clock goes off, it usually does. There’s no not-knowing. You’re insured. It’s safe.
He and I were comfortable.
And I was bored (to tears).
This man was not what I had envisioned. He was safe, and easy and cut and dry.
He didn’t understand, and though he was happy (content) with me, I wan’t with him. I left.
Busted clock, I thought. A scam? Maybe it’s just not for me.
But what bothers me most, is that when I think back,
my nurse was clockless too.
And I’m not sure what that means.
‘Seventeen’ my mother said, like it meant something. She squeezed my hand when the put the clock in, as if it was a guardasil shot, some sort of painful, preventative measure against something that could hurt me.
I’ve heard the way she talks to the preacher when I’m not there- in her mind, it probably is.
On the drive over to the game months later, she tries bait my enthusiasm as my clock winds down; 0d, 1h, 29m 38, 37, 36s- She says; ‘what if it’s the football captain?’
And I joke; ‘what if it’s my band teacher?’
And her face turns white and cold, mouth hard over a smile that’s clenched into a grimace.
I take my place in the stands with the rest of the marching band, fellow flutists looking at my clock with varied expressions. Envy, hope, congratulations, curiosity. A few rows behind me, the percussionists start taking bets.
I play through almost mechanically, stomach churning with nerves as the game winds on and the clock counts down. Down on the field, the home team is crushing the visitors, which is bad news, since it means that for the next few weeks things will be tense back home as the team tries to recapture their honor after having lost so badly.
The game comes to halftime eventually, and the players file off as the home cheerleaders take the field once more, center stage while the boys regroup.
One girl with hair bright enough to see from the stands is lifted into the air by her teammates until she’s level-eyed with me, and my heart stops when the clock on my wrist does.
The beeping is all the way down in my lap but I can hear inside my skull. From the look my mother sends me from a few rows over, I can tell she either heard it too, or she’s been counting along as well. She follows the tracks of my eyes, and her face goes just as white as mine does when she catches sight of the cheerleader staring almost blankly at me.
I’m frozen. My mother stands.
Down, down to the field, leaving the flute behind, leaping the fence. I have to see her, get to her- Or at least, the was the plan.
My mother’s hand catches me sharply on the shoulder, pointed nails digging deep into my skin through my uniform before I’m even halfway out of my seat. Down on the field, the cheerleader is crying.
‘No daughter of mine’- she hisses and the next thing I know I’m in the car, crying quiet as she drives me to the camp from the brochure the preacher gave her two months ago.
‘There are people who can help’ my mother says through a clenched jaw, the muscles in her face twitching with rage and effort as her knuckles turn white around the steering wheel. They’re specialists in this sort of repair. Your clock is just broken, that’s all. You’ll be spending some time with them so they can fix this-
‘You mean fix me’ I say, and my mother nods shortly.
‘Yes. Fix you.’
So, there is a movie about this…but I think these are all better.
And now I’m going to add my own. Which will not be as good.
I had gone with my best friends to get my clock installed—for all of us to get them. Normally, people would go as soon as they were 16, but we had made a pact to wait for each other. To wait for me, really, as my birthday was the last by two months.
We were nervous and laughing too shrilly and I remember how kept reapplying my lip balm because my mouth was dry and it seemed like something to do and by the time I was called, I’m sure my lips were a greasy smear, but I hadn’t even noticed because it was the day I was going to find out when I’d meet prince charming. Or princess, I suppose. A soul mate is a soul mate and there’s no changing that.
The doctor and the two nurses had been nearly successful in keeping their faces smoothly professional, but in my anxious, hyper-aware state, I had caught the flickers of pity and known something was wrong. And then I had looked at my wrist.
79y 09h 12m 10s
I wanted to insist that it must be a mistake. But my case, though rare, wasn’t entirely anomalous. It was the longest wait I’d ever heard of, but it wasn’t unknown for some people to simply not be destined to meet their true love until long after the expected use-by date. I was just unlucky in love.
I won’t go into the details of what transpired next — how my friends tried to comfort me while simultaneously attempting not to vibrate out of their own skins in excitement at knowing their own zero hours. How my parents insisted that my clock must be faulty and insisted on a replacement. On all the awkwardness that the rest of my teens contained. About how I became something near to an urban legend.
None of that is important.
What is important is the decision that I made the night that my second clock had been installed, the fresh fuse still smarting as I lay staring up at the ceiling.
I wasn’t going to let it hold me back.
And I didn’t. I lived an amazing life. I did everything I was afraid of doing. I traveled, I climbed mountains, I wrote books. I even fell in love a few times, though of course it never lasted.
But now, I have come to the end. In more ways than one. The human body only lasts so long, and with the way I’ve treated mine, it’s a bit of a wonder that it has held up as long as it has.
I guess it has been waiting.
Because as machines breathe for me, I am almost convinced I can hear the inaudible counting down from the band bonded to my skin. Two minutes and 45 seconds until I meet whomever charming. Good. I’m exhausted and I have to finish this one last thing.
The door swings silently open, and a man in a lab coat enters. He’s painfully young and lovely — a resident I guess. Can’t be out of his early twenties.
He smiles as he picks up my chart and his eyes meet mine, bluer than the sky from the top of Angel Falls in mid-summer. I feel the connection thrum to life between us as the timer on my wrist grows warm for a moment and then flakes off onto the thin blanket like so much dry skin. I hear the quiet clatter as his falls onto the tile floor, and see the stricken realization in his eyes. I know mine hold the same pity that the doctors that affixed my own timer wore.
He is so young and I am so old and we had already lost each other.
“I’ve waited so long for you…” I sigh. I think I say it out loud. It doesn’t matter. He’ll know. I close my eyes and finally allow myself to rest.
I met my soul mate today.
Mid-twenties zero hour. Predictable. Boring. Wife, 2.5 kids, stable career.
I picked up one of her books on my lunch break and I’ve been reading every time I get a spare moment. She was extraordinary. Of course she was. (I want to hate her, but how can I? Obviously I can’t.)
And it’s gotten me to thinking.
I’m not waiting around for anyone, not anymore.
I can go do anything.
Anything in the world.
I’ve had this little clock for two years now. Every other moment, I would check my watch on the other wrist and the the clock, waiting for the day it would say ‘0000d, 0h, 30m, 45s.’
I could feel my heart pumping faster, faster. My dad used to tease me about it, his only son getting a clock that would tell him when he was going to meet his soulmate. At his mothers suggestion. Ridiculous. (None of my three sisters have one.)
So, maybe for luck, or because it is a routine, I visit my favorite coffee shop before class. I was hyper aware of everyone, the girl running with her dog, a mother pushing her baby in a stroller. I sit at my usual table, in the corner by the window, watching a girl I was in high school with stare at her smart phone and type. I wonder if she was it. I hoped not. The whir of the coffee machine brings me out of my daydream. I glance at my watch, an hour until class, and then at my clock. Less than five minutes.
And she comes up to me, tying an apron around her waist.
“Hi!” She said, with almost too much excitement for nine-thirty in the morning, “I’m Maggie. May I take your order?”
“I’m Tyler.” I told her, and gave her my order. She wrote it down and surreptitiously looked at my wrist.
“You too, huh?” She asked, showing me her right wrist.
0000d, 00h, 00m, 00s.
oh my god, the cheerleader one broke my heart and my hands are all shaky from reading them all. And now my own
I curl my hands into fists over and over, fretting over everything from my hair to my shoes. Will he like me? Will she? Good lord, I don’t even know what gender I’m getting. My eyes scan the park around me as I walk through it, wondering if it’ll be the casually dressed guy on the bench, doubting it’ll be the woman with two kids and a ring on her finger. Every now and then, I’d pull up my sleeve and glance at my wrist.
Suddenly, the sound of instruments pulls my eyes from my arm.
Across the street, a small band is setting up on the patio of a cafe. Instantly, I feel the urge to go over and I follow that instinct, trying not to over-think it and wondering if I’ll get a musician.
I literally had two minutes to go when I took a seat, two tables from the tiny stage. I kept jigging my leg and checking for anyone who seemed just as jittery. So far, it was anyone in the crow-
My chair abruptly tipped as someone’s foot caught it, knocking me over. I gasped, more from excitement than anything.
“Whoa, sorry, sorry,” a light male voice said. I turned and saw a skinny, blonde guy on the floor next to me.
“No, it’s fine, honestly,” I muttered, absolutely brimming with nerves. Only when I sent a glance at my wrist was I brought back to Earth.
What? No, that couldn’t be right. The blonde boy stood and dusted himself off ad helped me up, apologizing again before heading out the door. I stared at my chair, feeling irrational anger at the boy.
“Are you okay? I saw you fall.” I looked up, my eyes meeting a pair of big blue ones. A guy, looking about my own age of seventeen, with short brown hair and the cutest button nose I’d ever seen, and an apron around his waist. “I-Uh, I brought you a-a coffee,” he said, sounding nervous.
“Thanks,” I replied, trying and failing to take a sneaky glance at my wrist. He looked down at my arm and his mouth fell into an “O” before his eyes flickered to mine. He stretched his wrist so I could read it and smiled, rocking on the balls of his feet.
My heart leaped to my throat when I read the ‘0s’ on his arm, the same number that matched my own.
He let a small laugh leave his mouth before saying,”I’m Andrew.”