Teresa Francis, 16 December 2011
When you get started on your very first job, you have an absolutely disgusting happy outlook on everything. You feel special, and you feel needed. After a while, you shall taste your first cynical thought. It may be something as simple as ‘she’s such a suck-up’ but it will taste bitter in your mouth, like accidental pith in an otherwise delicious lemon tart. Soon, these thoughts will become more common to you, and you’ll wonder if the tart was ever sweet to begin with, and you’ll become tired and skeptical and you shall overanalyze every minute action of your superiors.
I’m saying this to convey that more or less, all jobs are the same. Employment is a vicious cycle of joy, boredom, and eventual hatred. My job is no different. I’m no less cynical than an overworked salesman or lawyer, though my profession may be slightly more outlandish.
What exactly do I do, you ask?
Well, I find soul mates. More importantly, I help them find each other.
When I began work, I found that the most wondrous thing about what I did was that whenever soul mates die without having found each other, they would be reincarnated. The physical entity they reside in will have no memory of this. I thought this took a lot of pressure off of my back, but it turns out, that each life a soul goes without finding its partner, the more elusive it’s partner is to find, until the cries for help they produce are so soft that you cannot hear them at all.
The scariest part of all that is that to the soul itself, it is screaming.
As the world grew in size, so did my employees (if you can call them that). In the beginning, it was just me, but now we have thousands and thousands of us helping find love and restore it. I now take the most difficult cases, souls that are enigmatic and whose screams are merely whispers. I like to think I try my best, but every time I fail a soul, I hear it screaming in my dreams.
Kamile lived the monotonous and repetitive life of a writer stuck in the suburbs. The most terrifying bit about being one who enjoyed crafting words into sentences, and sentences into stories was living a life that is uninspiring. For writers, the process of writing itself is not as difficult as the process of finding a story. And if one lived, like Kamile, in a house that stood in a row of houses that looked exactly the same, with plastic children and wooden parents, who had every Sunday night the same polymer grilled chicken and steamed broccoli and wore the same polyester plaid sweaters and denims, then there was no scope, not even the tiniest chance, of getting inspired.
The words fought inside of her, trying in vain to escape, mauling each other as they made her vomit them out. But they were simply meaningless sentences strung together on paper, and they were never original or beautiful, for that was what happened when one was uninspired and a writer.
When her parents told her they were sending her to boarding school, she was surprised. She shouldn’t have been, but she was. They looked guiltily at their plates while she stared at them, contemplating.
Where is it?
In the Capital, 3 hours away from your grandmother’s house.
When do I leave?
Tomorrow you shall give your admission test, and then perhaps next week you can join. Don’t worry about it dear, your mother is good friends with the Principal: you will get in either way.
Lukas stared at the red markings on the paper, and felt nothing. ‘I’d like to see you after class’, Mrs. Peters said, and then moved on. His parents were going to be extremely disappointed.
That’s the way he liked it.
He started doodling on the paper, making the ‘2’ into a ‘200’ and the ‘F’ into a ‘Fantastic!’
He chuckled to himself.
Henri looked at him. ‘What?’ he asked, suddenly angry.
He despised Henri.
They were interrupted by the Principal. ‘Good Morning, Miss’. A chorus of voices that fluidly melded into one, nauseatingly loud, unruly phonation. He despised his class.
Behind the lunatic who ran this asylum was a person he hadn’t noticed before. She had red hair that she parted sideways, and was tall, gangly. She had the most fascinating eyes he had ever seen and at that particular moment they were (surprisingly) clear. Without exception, all the newbies he had seen walk into the school had red-rimmed eyes, crying because they would miss the pathetic people who had put them there in the first place.
Walking into the school had been a dream. The building, the principal had told her, was hundreds of years old, and it showed. The architecture was fascinating, almost as much as the concept that before her there had been several thousands of people who walked the very same ground and sat in the very same classrooms.
‘I’m sorry we were so late’, she said, and Mrs. Lecia simply nodded and smiled.
As soon as they entered, they class stood up to greet her. She looked at her future classmates, scanned their faces row by row. None of them really saw her, because as soon as they sat down they got back to their tasks, but one of them, right at the back, was staring straight at her. He looked like the word severe, she thought. Intense dark eyes and judging, pursed up lips.
When I found Kamile and Lukas, I shall admit, I was very proud. All their lives had been ones of tragedy, for they always managed to find each other, and then lose each together again because of some unfortunate series of events.
If Love really was a company, then I can tell you our greatest competitor would be Fate.
The months that followed were the greatest ones in both Kamile’s and Lukas’ lives. They had very little in common, which made them perfect for each other. They didn’t really become a couple until Lukas realized that she was the most beautiful person he had met in the world, and when Kamile realized that she was utterly and totally intoxicated in inspiration whenever she was with Lukas.
There was however, one thing that they did not agree on, and one thing that worried me incredibly. It is the reason I stayed, because I couldn’t afford to have another nightmare.
Every night, Lukas would stare at the main doors of the school. They were always locked at nights, but he had often fantasized of what it would mean to escape them, and just leave. The security guard was perpetually asleep, and at nights, when there was literally no way of escaping, he would simply slump in his chair and sleep.
Kamile was always a little scared of how violently Lukas disliked his school and even more so when he spoke of escaping. She knew that the complications that would arise from running away would be far more difficult than the possible joys it could bring if they did manage to.
And then one day, Fate presented Lukas with an opportunity like no other. She whispered in his ear seductively, and led him to the door. He realized that he could feel a drought, and in amazement, found it to be open. All he had to do was leave, leave through that glorious open door, and he’d find himself no longer waiting for any fantastical adventures because he’d be in one.
Here is what I hate most about humans- they do not know when they are happiest. They are constantly wishing for things they do not have, for the promise of happiness is greater to them than any present tangible form of it. It is this very despicable greed, however, that gave me my job.
The open door was a thing of beauty to Lukas. He looked at it and he saw all the fantastic possibilities unwinding before him, and just as he was about to make up his mind, he heard Kamile say ‘don’t leave’. By some inexplicable force of nature, Kamile had woken up and felt that something was wrong. She rushed to the door, felt that wretched drought, and saw Lukas.
‘I love you’.
This had always been an unspoken agreement, their love, and they had never said it out loud.
Something changed when she said that: she looked like she was glowing, and then, for a split second, she didn’t look like Kamile at all, but someone he had never met.
This often happens when worn out soul mates join for the first time. For just a split second, they change into their original carriers. Kamile saw a stranger as well. And suddenly, almost magically, the risk was worth it.
They ran together, out the open door.
As for me, well- I had a pleasant night’s sleep.