Friday, January 20, 2012

The Philosophy of the Soul Mate

A Prologue to the Philosophy of the Soul Mate (32 Blaring Trumpets Greet the God of the Brash Rising Sun)
Once upon a time there was a young man named Jeremiah and a young woman named Elsabeth. Though they had never met, they were bound by fate to be each other’s one and only, for time and eternity. In a pre-existent state these two had been one; they had shared a body with four arms, four legs, and two faces, like every other pair of soul mates that had come before, and like every other pair that would come after. But upon coming into the world they were split, then tasked with finding one another. One could not exist without the other, their lives tied together. So what would happen if one died?

First Part: The Girl (Sugar, Spice & Nothing Nice)
            On this particular day Elsabeth woke up and decided “Today I’ll lose a leg!” and went about her way. While not many people would wake up and decide something horrible would happen to them, Elsabeth did only because she was convinced that if she kept on thinking about horrible things happening, they never would. She assumed it was much like the old saying a watched pot never boils. As with most days lately she was particularly bitter for no apparent reason and thought the only way to solve this was by doing something rash.
Among the foolhardy things Elsabeth had done in her life, the list most recently included her dyeing her silky blond hair a cobalt blue then insisting on chopping it off without giving it so much as a second thought. Continuing on, in the past few months she had changed her style of clothes from perky pinks to baggy jeans and polos, from all black to army pants and tank tops, and then to baseball tees and capris. She finally settled on plaid skirts over jeans and ironic t-shirts that basically said “I’m cool but I don’t care.” She got new piercings, then removed them; she’d gotten a tattoo of the symbol for infinity on her shoulder, and thereafter wished it wasn’t permanent; and then decided to start taking golf lessons because she was going through a plaid phase. Today’s adventure, she was determined, would involve driving a golf cart through one of the outdoor malls. How she would get a golf cart she wasn’t sure, but it would happen.
            Dear baby-faced Elsabeth, precisely cute as a button in lieu of the plaid, stopped at the crosswalk on the corner of Monroe Way and Hepburn Road on the east end of River City. She waited impatiently for the light at the walk to change so she could cross and even thought about jay walking once or twice, but she stayed put. She was restless. She spotted a dog rounding the corner. The thought crossed her mind that her patient impatience had been rewarded with a disgustingly adorable distraction. This delighted her. However, as the dog drew nearer, something didn’t sit quite right with her.
            The deceitfully dandy dog, a lean Dalmatian, staggered with each step it took. Through weighted breathing it picked up the girl’s scent, lifting its head and staring right at Elsabeth with deranged red eyes. The dandy dog picked up its pace and ran at her. Her body released a smell of fear now and the dandy dog picked up on it, allowing it to fuel him, motivate him. Before she could fully turn to run the dog had clawed at her leg, nails gouging her pale skin. Tiny Elsabeth produced a scream bigger than seemed possible. She swatted the dog with an arm decorated in bracelets that covered scars, and she wondered how bad of a mark the dog’s scratch would leave if she got away.
            Into the street she stumbled. She heard a horn. She saw the car. She saw her life. Then, she saw nothing.

Second Part: The Boy (Hairs, Snails & Tall Tales)
            “You are all forgiven!”
            Those words rang loudly through Jeremiah’s head. Honestly, he had no idea he had even done anything wrong. Granted, as a twenty-something young man he was in fact the most likely candidate to do something that needed forgiving, on average and statistically speaking of course. He was in fact painfully average; short brown hair he didn’t do a thing with, an average frame that he tried horribly hard to build muscle on, and a slightly less than average but typical biblical American name. Boring was the best way to describe his life. Mediocrely boring. He woke up, went to classes, work, and then home. On Tuesdays he hung out with the guys, every other Thursday was karaoke night at the bar, and twice a month on a Saturday he would sit in his boxers and watch cartoons all day. Sure, sometimes he’d stay up late to watch infomercials or poorly dubbed foreign movies during the week, but did that really put any excitement in his life? Not really, no. The most exciting thing that had ever happened to him was that golfing cart accident he had when he was sixteen, the effects of which caused him to forget how to tie his shoes and the purpose of q-tips. Overnight Velcro had become his new best friend.
Today especially all of this information really hit him hard. He needed someone to stir spontaneity into the mundane soup of his life.
            Something felt off-balance in his universe. There was a shift, like something important had been lost. His entire being was affected, as if a part of him was suddenly killed off and left a gaping hole in its place. Jeremiah stared at the man on the box preaching to all the people who were getting off of the trains and buses. How was he any more special than any of the people here? He wondered what they had all done that needed forgiving, and if any of them took the man on the box seriously. These thoughts gave the young man a strange connection to those around him, a unique sense of bonding to the complete strangers. They had all screwed up, apparently. They all needed forgiving. And he appreciated that brief sensation of xeno.
It was not the sensation he was looking for, unfortunately. It did not fill his void. The sensation he wanted was for someone to complete him, the hopeless romantic that he was.  Jeremiah couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t stand feeling so dreadfully bland, like he was lacking any significant achievement to make him special.
As if it were an answer to his unspoken prayer, or by some cosmic force, he saw a sight he could not un-see; a man stealing a woman’s purse. This wasn’t boring. This was excitement. The chance he had been waiting for, an opportunity for achievement. He could be a hero. He saw it on the news all the time, normal people taking opportunity by the hand and doing something brave for the sake of helping out a fellow human. He could help himself by helping a fellow human.
            The purse snatcher ran from the woman and right towards where Jeremiah stood waiting, further proving that opportunity was presenting itself to him. Jeremiah shouted “Stop!” and tried to block the purse snatcher, who brushed past Jeremiah, escaping his grasp. Jeremiah gave chase. The thief turned around. He brandished a gun. He pulled the trigger. With one shot Jeremiah’s mediocre life began fading away.
His body lay in a crumpled heap on the pavement in the west end of River City. He could see the preacher from the box standing over him, probably saying the same thing—You are all forgiven! Was the shooter even forgiven? The man who had taken Jeremiah’s short-lived existence without much thought, all for the little money he could gather from a stolen purse, could he even be forgiven? Yes or no it didn’t matter. What mattered was the serenity and completion he felt in the image of a girl in plaid that kept flashing before his eyes.

An Epilogue to the Philosophy of the Soul Mate (32 Whimpering Trumpets Greet the God of the Eternally Waning Moon)

            Two who used to be one cannot, shall not, live without the other. Bound by something great in a world filled things shiny and new, yet terrible too, they will always arrive at their final destination: Each other. And though happenstance prevented them from meeting in this life, both died because of their bond. They were united once again as they had been before their separation. The down to Earth man and the girl with her head in the clouds were two pieces of one whole, and together were perfect. Everybody has somebody, and why should one live without the other?

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