Maria Smith

The Ten Dollar Soulmate Sale

I love love. I almost exclusively watch rom-coms and keep my book preferences in the same genre. I swooned over Bridgerton and will forever root for Sandra Bullock’s characters. Despite my love of love, I’ve never tried very hard to fall into it myself. While I’m an expert at first dates I never push myself towards a second. And despite having my reasons, each time I’m still left wondering what I could be doing differently. So, I recently paid a psychic to draw my soulmate. My sister was the one who put the idea in my head. She had already done it after seeing a Tik Tok about a girl whose drawing looked exactly like her current boyfriend. While I don’t have anyone to compare the picture to, I thought that it might be fun, and by God it was on sale! So, I paid a psychic to draw my soulmate.

Ten dollars and twelve hours later I got to see Bryan. The information sent with the drawing said that his name was likely to start with a B and R. So, it was either Bryan or Brooks and he really does just kind of look like a Bryan. He has dark hair and a fairly defined jawline with a shadow of a beard. He looks like he partied a little too much a couple of years ago and has since stuck to his personal rule of one white claw at the cookout. He looks like someone who wears a lot of button up shirts and khakis, except on the weekend when he trades the button up for a fleece vest because he doesn’t quite hike but loves a brisk walk. He seems nice in the way that everyone who’s a little too into grilling is nice, and a little boring in the way that everyone who’s a little too into grilling is a little boring. Bryan seems like the perfect guy that you would dream up in your plans for your family with 2.5 kids and an energetic golden doodle who all live in a two-story house with a two-car garage, but I don’t know if that perfect life is perfect for me. 

I have always had a hard time thinking about my future. I tend to build up my daydreams in my mind. I over and over build myself into a Barbie like fantasy. Where I’m a girl with a ton of outrageously successful careers, but with no clear path on how to get there. I’m going to be an Olympian, a professional puppeteer, a mail carrier, a nun, and the first lady. I want to do everything and have a life that I build to look exactly how I hope. The problem with that is I don’t know how Bryan with his supposed business degree fits in.  

As I get older, I see the people around me finding and failing in love. They are all heartbroken or all consumed, and while I’m aware that there is a happy medium out there it doesn’t seem to exist in my bubble. I love love, but when my friends say that they’re in love and then tell you all about the man who doesn’t text them back and who smells badly and drinks and drives you just want to grab them and say you are worth more than this! You are worth more than what they can give you. Yet everyone around me wants me to be as happy as they are. They want this love for me, but their emotions don’t feel real. I don’t want to force myself to fall in love. To convince myself that what I’m feeling is real and on top of that I can’t help but wonder what bits of me I will have to give up for this so-called love. Will they make fun of my puppet and the sweaters I make for him, or laugh at my dreams of making the Olympic curling team? Will they resent that I have to hear my car lock beep three times or that I block off a whole day when I have to wash my hair. Is romantic love really worth it if it diminishes what I love about myself? 

Maybe the two can coexist. Maybe I will find someone great who loves me and respects who I am. After all, how would I know? I’ve never dated anyone. As I get older, I get more in my head about this fact. I seem to be lagging behind my peers romantically, not that I’m too invested in dating someone who claims that Helen Keller is a hoax. But I’m almost halfway to forty and I’ve never been kissed. I’m almost halfway to forty and I don’t get asked out like my friends and I’m torn, because I don’t want to date the kinds of guys that my friends treat like gods who just end up crushing their worlds. I want to date the Hugh Grants, and Colin Firths, I want someone in my life who would run after me in the rain. But my disastrous first dates, and friends with shitty exes have left me feeling defeated, and you could probably argue that my love for rom coms have given me unrealistic expectations. But let’s be honest if someone is telling me that I have unrealistic expectations then that very well might be a red flag for them. And if I don’t find anyone who can live up to my expectations then so be it. I would rather be a whole complete person alone, than half of one with someone who can’t bother to remember my birthday or complains that they have to “babysit” our kids. The world does not start and end with romantic love. My life does not suddenly start to have more value because I’ve let someone else into it, much like it does not have less value because I’m alone. 

 Despite all of my thoughts and internal discourse on the subject I try not to put a lot of pressure on the idea of falling in love, mostly because I do resent the idea of having to compromise who I am for another person. And while I might not dream of my own wedding, I can’t help but think about how much I might be missing. When I read these books or watch these movies of people falling in love, I simply wonder what it would be like. I have less of a desire for an eternity of this feeling, but I want to be able to understand it. So, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to fall in love for research purposes only, and what better person to fall in love with than your soulmate? So, if you see a guy named Bryan matching my description let him know I’m looking for him. 

About the Author: Maria Smith Is from Kansas City, Missouri where she is a student at Rockhurst University. This is her first time being published in a literary magazine. And her hobbies, besides writing, include crocheting, and trying to curl as often as she can.