Words by: Xenia Sanut Art by: Mikhail Volkov
I breathe the world of meet-cutes, dramatic confessions of love, and kisses in the rain.
My bedroom wall had references to my favourite love stories plastered across it, and each night I would fall asleep imagining who my soulmate would be, when we would meet, and how we would tell our story to our children and grand-children. To me, a soulmate was someone who, with a glance or a short conversation, already understood me and loved me for all that I was. My daydreams, my waking moments and my sole happiness rested on this imaginary person, and now that I think I have met him, I have learnt my first lesson about soulmates: the person of your dreams is different to the person destiny pairs you with.
When I first met him, I was 12 and he was 11. There were butterflies and our hearts were racing, but not for the reasons you may think. I was going to a high school far from my primary school friends and I was nervous about meet- ing people, about starting anew. During introductions at our class’ orientation day, he said he went to my best friend’s old primary school. Does he know her? I thought. Should I ask him? By planting those questions in my mind, I wonder whether fate sowed the seeds for young love then. Perhaps fate sowed them even earlier, when I first met my best friend and she told me the name of her old primary school, giving me the opportunity to even ask him. To tell you the ending, he didn’t know her, and if fate was at work, it sure worked at a snail’s pace — that was my second lesson.
Nothing happened for four years but during that time, I noticed that he held the door to let people pass, he borrowed books from the library often, he was witty, and that he was starting to notice me. The only issue was that our conversations were rare and short, and honestly, I thought I was content with that. If he wasn’t The One and we eventually went our separate ways, I would eventually come to terms with that. Then he messaged me after our literature class in Year 10. Just a couple of casual questions about school turned into sharing everything that you couldn’t know just through observation in class: our families, our worries and our joys. He was compassionate, intelligent, and he told me he liked me. I told him I liked him. And that was when I learnt my third lesson about soulmates — sometimes destiny needs a bit of prodding.
I did not know he was The One immediately like I thought soulmates would, and our four-year long story has not played out like a typical romance film. The music did not reach its crescendo when we had our clumsy first kiss, but it is now a moment that we laugh and tease each other about. He gags at cheesy lines, but
I know that the sentimental things he does say come from a sincere place of love. We were not elected formal king and queen, in fact, we did not even go to formal; instead I dragged him into a spontaneous dance while shopping at Coles. We sometimes disagree, break each other’s hearts and it takes a while to patch it up again. However, he knows the contents of my soul better than anyone else. Some people may find a kindred soul in a friend, a family member or a stranger, but it takes time and courage to know a person’s soul. It is ultimately a compromise between you and destiny. Fate can only lead you part of the way, the rest is up to you to discover yourself. In my love story so far, that was the last lesson I learnt — you have a role in creating and finding your soulmate.