Season 1:1 ‘Flutter’

by P WIlliam Ross

Tomorrow is my eighteenth birthday.  Only one more day until I discover my soulmate.  It feels a little strange, but everyone’s life just seems to get better after that day.  Some people try and guess who theirs might be.  I haven’t given it much thought.

“Excited for tomorrow?” Felix asks.  He’s been one of my closest friends through high school.

“I guess.  Everyone tells me how big of an event this is, but I don’t know,” I say.

We take our time walking back from school.  The sun radiates a comfortable warmth on the first clear day in months.  A bus chugs past us.  Most kids live too far away to walk home, but Felix and I are only a couple of blocks down the road.

“Come on Liv, all the other girls practically explode the day before they find out.  They all call in sick so they can pick out an outfit to wear.”

“See, that never made sense to me.  I’m not meeting the guy tomorrow, just finding out who it is.”

“True.  But still, you’ve got to be a little excited.”  I shrug.

Our parents were the first generation in the matchmaking program.  On the whole it turned out pretty well.  The divorce rate is at five percent across the whole country.  Of course, everyone gets married at a younger age.  A lot younger.

“It just feel weird.  I don’t want to be one of those people who gets married three months from now.  Can we talk about something else?”  I look away from him.

“Fine,” he sighs, “how’s Astro?”

“Good, he’s still teething on our dining room chairs.  My mom has to keep a close eye on him.  But he’s so cute.”

“I wish my dad wasn’t allergic to dogs, and my mom actually liked them.”

We chat for a few minutes more before arriving at my house.

“Well, happy early birthday,” he says and gives me a hug.

“Thanks.”

Mom and dad are still at work.  Astro charges to greet me at the door.  He’s a white german shepherd puppy we got two weeks ago.  We hadn’t had a dog in eight years and my mom finally thought it was time to get another one.  I’m not sure why they decided on a puppy, but he’s too cute to think about it.  I scratch under his chin and he wags his tail.

I’ve heard so many stories about the letters people get.  For the past few months I scoured the internet for accounts of how these people’s lives turn out.  Deep down, I do care about the letter because it’s going to determine the rest of my life.  What most people don’t realize is how much the contents can shock them.  There’s a document on my computer of all the stories I find really interesting.  I get a weird sense of comfort out of reading them.

Colby Knox’s story is a pretty typical one.  I kept it just because it serves as a good baseline, and I liked his name.  He got the letter at nine o’clock on the morning of his eighteenth birthday.  Trudged downstairs from his bedroom in his sweatpants and flip-flops at the calls of his mother.  She was so excited for her son.

He sat at the kitchen table.  The spot normally occupied by his breakfast was filled with a thirteen by seven inch envelope.  Colby picked it up and opened it at his own pace, despite the excitement of his mother.  I’m not sure of the exact wording in a letter since it’s illegal to post one online, but the name and address of the match is in there somewhere.  He was paired with Alexis Belrose of New York.  You’d think a guy from north Georgia would have very little in common with someone from New York city.  They’ve been married for seven years.

Colby tracked Alexis down a few days after she got her letter.  Knowing who his soulmate was had given his life a new meaning.  Before, he was kind of a self-absorbed soccer star, but then he sort of had an epiphany.  Life shouldn’t be lived alone.  Everyone realizes at one point or another that having someone else, just having them, makes a lot of things better.

She got around to nicknaming him “Cheesy” and he told her he loved her every hour of every day.  Piecing together their sporadic blog and social media posts was like crafting the script of stereotypical teenage romance movie.  Everything about them was cute and mushy and perfect.  They even looked perfect together.  At one point I thought about how flawless their children must look.  His smile was adorable and her features were stunning.

They went to the same college and graduated with impressive grades.  Now they have a house in Maryland and two kids.  He heads a nonprofit in Washington and she’s at home for the time to take care of the family.  I suspect they’ll live happily ever after.

Astro and I sit on my bed and think.  My life could turn out “perfect” like Colby and Alexis.  One piece of paper spit out by a souped up algebra problem will determine the rest of my life.  Even if I meet my soulmate and hate him, even if I love him, even if we never meet, my life will be changed.  I recognize my match might be a girl, but it’s less likely.  For now, I wallow in my ignorance and hope for the best.

 

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