I guess I got the timer to appease my worrisome mother. She was convinced that I was going to end up old and alone because I'd rather spend my time watching TV than being out amongst "people". So I got the stupid timer and shut her up about it. It read 1482 days 12 hours 42 minutes till I met my supposed soulmate and I guaranteed my mom it wouldn't be because I went out with "friends".
I should have expected her to figure it out, to calculate the exact date I would met my One. I should have expected her to make a big fuss about it but honestly, I'd all but forgotten it. So when she called me that morning asking what I was going to wear I was quite confused.
"I don't understand what you are saying to me right now," I said into the phone as I pulled on a ratty pair of jeans. "What's happening today?"
She scolded me through the phone, "How can you not know that today is the day you meet your One?!"
I frowned looking down at my timer which now read zero, "Well look at that."
"This is no joking matter!" She growled into the speaker. "What are you wearing right now?"
I raised an eyebrow and looked down at myself, "Um… jeans and my bra." My mother made a sound resembling a dying whale while I chuckled and pulled on my old band tee.
"Please tell me you'll wear the blouse I bought you for Christmas," she said and I thought back to the expensive shirt that she knew I would never wear in a million years. I was pretty sure I'd donated it at some point shortly after new year's.
"Would you believe me if I said yes?"
Half an hour later I was standing up the block from the sub shop I worked at. The shop, which had never been very popular, was surrounded by a crowd of people. I raised an eyebrow as I watched the police hold back the mostly female group who shouted and cheered in an incoherent manner. It would have been amusing if not completely inconvenient.
"Huh," I rolled my eyes as I pulled out my phone and dialed my manager. "Are we running some kind of special you forgot to tell me about…?"
"Some actor with a crazy name is here," he explained a few minutes later as he snuck me in the back. "While I appreciate the publicity, the point it kind of moot if I can't let anyone in."
I smirked, "What do you want me to do?"
"We had a nice rush before he showed up," he said nodding towards the sinks. "Can you do the dishes? Also, the closing crew didn't mop back here-"
"I'm on it," I smiled as I started the water.
"Don't you want to know why he's here?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned back against the prep table.
I shrugged reaching for the wash cloth, "I honestly couldn't care less."
After doing the dishes and mopping the floors I filled all the preps and stocked the kitchen. Then I went to the bathrooms and made sure the toilet paper and paper towels were filled. It was well after noon when I walked up front to see the restaurant still empty except for one man sitting alone at a table facing the window.
"Why is he still here?" I muttered crossing my arms over my chest as I glared at him.
My manager shrugged, "He hasn't got what he's looking for."
"Oh good god," I growled making my way around the counter and across the room. "Listen pal-"
"What do you think of the timer?" He asked without looking at me. His voice was deep. His accent reminding me of a lullaby the way his words flowed off the tongue.
I paused, "What?"
He held up his wrist without words to show me an empty timer. "Today I meet my soulmate, I have no idea who they are what they look like, I don't even know what gender they are but I'm supposed to spend my life with this person." He shook his head and laughed once, dark curls bouncing in the light. "Honestly when I first heard of it I was so excited. I would finally meet my better half, get married, start a family but now… now I am petrified that it won't be what they want. You hear it all the time, soulmates who can't stand the sight of each other. Just the other day I read an article about a twenty year old girl whose soulmate was a sixty five year old man. Can you imagine that? He was forty five when she was born."
"I got mine to satisfy my mother," I said looking down at my own empty timer. "And honestly I couldn't care less about who or what my soulmate is. In the end all this thing is, is a piece of plastic. It doesn't rule our lives or force us to fall in love with these people. They choose to, when they look into each other's eyes and the timer goes off they choose in that moment to fall in love."
"What will you do when you're timer goes off?" He asked standing up from his seat. His right hand slid into the pocket of his jeans, giving him a distinguished silhouette.
"I don't know," I sighed. "But one thing's for sure, whoever it is… they are going to have a hard time convincing me to fall in love."
"I think that's why I'm so unsure," he chuckled. "These things make it so easy; there is no challenge to winning the heart of a woman anymore."
"So you're here to find your soulmate?"
He nodded once, "Something told me that I had to be here today." He looked at his wrist, "I woke up because it went off last night. I was already scheduled to fly in for a series of interviews and when we were driving by this little shop… well."
"You had to stop," I said looking down at my timer, "Huh."
I saw him turn through the corner of my eye, "It's strange how these things work."
"All those girls out there, praying to be your soulmate," I whispered, "And I don't even know your name." I braced myself as I lifted my eyes to meet his.
The alarm of my timer rang out around the room and echoed off the walls. His mouth hung open as his gaze poured into mine. "…It's you?" He asked his eyes raking over my face as I stood there staring back at him. What color even were his eyes? They looked like a light silver-green but then as you looked closer at the pupil they change to a dark blue with these brown specks scatted about. The color reminded me of a space poster my mother hung in my room when I was little. It made me feel…warm, safe, and at home. Already I felt a sense of connection to this man but I couldn't tell if it was real or imagined.
"Me," I whispered back. "I guess."
He took a step towards me and I took an equal step back. He paused, watching me carefully as he cocked his head to the side, "You knew?"
"It's wasn't a hard leap," I answered sliding my hands into my back pockets.
He frowned, taking another step forward and I took another, smaller, step back, "Why didn't you say something?"
"I don't believe in the timers," I said with a shrug. "What it says and what I feel are two very different things."
"And what do you feel?" he asked.
I smirked at him, "That's for me to know and you to find out." I spun around and started marching towards the back.
"Wait!" he called as I reached the door. "I don't even know your name."
My smiled grew, "Guess you're just going to have to work for it." And with that I slid through the door and into the kitchen. Soulmate, I pondered as I gathered my things and left the shop. There was certainly something there, the hint of a spark. Could it become something more? Perhaps, but on my terms. He wanted the challenge of winning my heart? I would give him the game of a lifetime.