Jack reminded me today; her name was Samantha. Kind of forgettable a name for someone with such dramatic effect.
I fell hard for her short blond bob, cat-eye sunglasses and amazing dedication to red matte lipstick but what really sealed the deal was her solitude. There had a(more)n impenetrable forcefield around her at all times and then one day, she let me in. Just for the afternoon actually, one early summer day as we walked on the piers over the water.
She was leaving for Europe in two day. We talked with abandon, she took my hand as we walked, we kissed very briefly and softly and I was very sure that I had fallen in love.
By the end of the day, the forcefield was back up but I was blind to it. I was so delighted that she had let it down for me, even for a few hours, I couldn't recognize the change in her behavior. I didn't want to see it.
It took me the length of the summer to get over her. She sent one letter; "I have discovered Artuad. I have become a lesbian. I hope never to return to America." etc. She was not being cruel, just herself but I could not find her in these words. I didn't know what they meant. I was hurt and it was beyond repair.
When she did come back, she moved in with her parents and got a job in retail, became heterosexual again and liked a boy that I knew was stupid but pretty. I don't think she ever went into the theatre. It was suddenly clear how wrong I was.
98% forcefield, 2% lipstick and not the one for me. It still took me about twenty years to forget her name. (less)
Who created Earth and man
and gave him dominion over
all the creatures of the planet
and science and mathematics
and vegetables and sacrificed his
only kid so that his people may
(more) beach that sacred shore?
Who cracked the genetic code and
sailed the world to discover the
fantastically wide unknown,
built the Pyramids and pasteurized
milk so that man could drink it
undersea and on the moon?
Then who liberated Poland and
united the nations and snatched the
race of dolphins from the fate of the
tuna fish sandwich and made sure
migrant workers got a fair shake?
Well, who helped old Mrs. Johansen
cross the street and picked up trash
and adopted a shelter puppy
so it wouldn’t face the needle?
Held a steady job and supported the
nation by simply existing, not
committing crimes, and paying taxes?
Got up before ten and put on a shirt
before going out to check the mail?
Jina turned away from Johnny, left him sputtering and swearing. She walked to Lucy’s house, heart throbbing not so much in her chest but down somewhere in her gut, still sore from the gouge of the handlebar earlier.
Jina saw, through the open window, Lucy laying on her bedroom(more) floor. She was making slow, lopsided angel wings in the thick brown carpet. Jina leaned on the windowsill and watched her a while, chin in hand.
She loved Lucy. Not more or less than Johnny, but differently.
She must’ve sighed a little too loudly because Lucy cocked her head up off the carpet and gave Jina a glassy stare.
"Come on in, baby. Where've you been?"
"With Johnny and Lindsay." Jina slid over the windowsill, and slumped against the wall, her legs in their frayed jeans slung wide.
"I like them and all, but you gotta be careful hanging out with people stuck so frickin' firmly on one side of The Wall."
Lucy was a devoted fan of Pink Floyd, among other things.
"Lindsay kinda is, but I don't think Johnny so much. He's going to Russia and all. And you've talked to him when he's stoned. He's pretty deep." Jina tried to be careful with her tone, but she bristled.
Lucy giggled and rolled over onto her elbows. Her dreadlocks fell over her eyes and Jina's spine prickled.
"He's not the one for you, baby."
Jina yanked the leg of her jean up and pulled a cigarette from the pack she kept in her sock.
"I never said he was. I don't think there is one for me, anyway." She watched Lucy's eyes, which were following her slow swirl of smoke.
"Maybe not here, there isn't."
Jina was quiet.
"So what about the guy who's been following you?"
The man was tall. The tallest of the lot. She'd said he was tall. He wasn't fat, but he wasn't thin either, but then none of them were. One was a little heavier set than the others, one looked a little skinnier, a couple were a little chubby. He(more) had a couple of day's worth of stubble that she didn't recognise, but clean-shaven could be fixed.
His hair was the right colour, but it was short and very neat. The sort of neat that came after a haircut. She'd described the man as having long hair, nearly down to his shoulders. Straight and lightish brown. A couple of the others had hair that length, or longer. Long hair could be fixed as well.
His eyes were icy blue. Just like she'd said. Looking into them sent a chill down her spine. She couldn't work out whether that was because of how they were, or just because of the memories that came with looking into those eyes. She'd had a good hard look that night. Eye colour could not be fixed, especially when you had those eyes. He was the one.
She looked into those eyes again. Looked over the man that, in another time, another place, she might find quite attractive. What he'd done to her made it very hard for her to consider him like that.
"He's not the one," she lied to the policeman. "I don't think so, anyway."
A look of surprise, puzzlement and thanks flashed across the man's eyes. His face didn't change, only his eyes. He was good. Maybe he was used to this.
She wasn't sure why she lied for him. He was the one who raped her. He should be going to prison.
Is anyone ever “the one”? Is there really just one person out there that we are all meant to be with? If so, then why do so many marriages end in divorce? Is it because they just didn’t find the one? Did they walk down the aisle on their(more) wedding day knowing they were heading toward a place holder until they found their true love? Or did they realize that finding that soul mate was like finding a needle in a haystack?
In my life, I’ve learned that you should never answer a question with a question. So maybe the only answer I can provide is this:
I have a friend who says everyone is her soul mate and maybe she is right. Maybe everyone we meet, in one way or another, is connected to us in some important way. There is not just one person we are meant to be with because we are the sum existence of the people we have met in our lifetime. Who would I be without my mother, my father, my brothers and sisters, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, neighbors and co-workers?