This is the one term I am sure I will spend the rest of my life trying to explore, digest and decipher. I do not know if I will ever stumble upon the correct definition, and I do not know if I will ever feel every inch of the ground that the word spreads itself upon. What I do know, is that I do not know. And with that said, I would like to share the bit of what I think I know.
People will be what they are the best way they know how to be. Like life, they will evolve; they will change. But throughout the years, the lessons, the mistakes, the laughs and accompanying tears, they will be the unique individuals a small part of them painted into their innermost cells of self. Their souls will be their maps, despite what words and wisdom they gained from sources outside their own bodies.
They will not go to the Metropolitan Opera because of their undying passion for classical music. They will not go to impress the cloud of pretentious faces in their ball gowns, their bow-ties and skin glistening with sweat and diamonds. They will go because there will be something in that theater that calls to them. Something in that Opening Night advertisement that speaks to them. Something in Cecilia Bartoli’s voice that grabs them by the throats and allows for no satisfying breath until they step foot into that theater. It will not be a simple pleasure or want or even need. It will be a natural inclination to answer a call.
But who will be placing that call?
That is the question which I do not know the answer to. Maybe it is fate that points its light in the right direction, or a spirit that displays for us the paths on which we need to embark. Or maybe, a ghost. Maybe it is nature. Maybe it is something in the water we drink. I do not know. What I do know, what I am absolutely sure of, is that it exists. And with its existence, we are endowed with the obligation to follow the paths that it, whatever it is, displayed for us.
And sometimes a sign will point to a slight left, onto a road that dances with sunlight and good intentions. But you won't take that road. Nor will you take the road on the right, or the road straight ahead. Sometimes there will be a small path just an inch away from all the visible paths and the seemingly obvious directions. Maybe it will be a direction all on its own, without hiding under the signatures of North, South, East or West. It will be overlooked and it will seem hidden, but some sort of savage in you will seek a duel with your fate and you will head down that road into the darkness that blankets the unknown, simply because you just know you're not supposed to be on it.
But you are.
It is in those instances where you'll think you are flirting with the dangers of your own destiny. But in reality, that destiny, fate, ghost, water – whatever it is – put that path there. It may have been hidden. It may have been overlooked. But it was there. And that is all it could have done; to just have been. The way you just are. No questions. No justifications.
So in recognizing that there is something guiding us, what significance do soul mates hold? Who the hell are they and where can I find mine at my quickest convenience? I haven't gained any knowledge since beginning this essay, so my answer is still “I do not know.” But I think that our soul mates are very real, and that they are just being the way they are, the same way we are trying to just be. I do not know the process in which a soul mate is welcomed into our lives. I do not know how love works. I do not know how it operates and why it displays for us the tragedies and majesties that it does, all in such a compressed time frame. I cannot say that a man who makes you laugh so hard and so full of heart is the same man who can bear the title of your soul’s mate. I cannot say that that same man, who is able to exhale your breath without losing his own, can be deemed the man that destiny welcomed into the world for you. I do not know how it works.
But what I do think, what I truly believe, is that if for a moment you experience something you cannot put into words; if that man upon his first meeting you is able to strike a nerve or a chord that you didn't know you harbored in your skin, listen to it. Hold onto it. If when laying in his arms you feel a warmth you would have never dreamt in even your coldest nightmares, cherish it. Because he may very well be your soul mate. He will not come with the packaging or the embellishments or a “Soul Mate” sticker on his forehead. He will not know what he is to you. You might not know what he is to you, or the full extent of what he means to you. But you will know that he is something important; something truly, very special. He will just be, and you will just be, and together you'll just be who you are, bettered by what you both have been. It is simple and its simplicity will make it complex. It will be beautiful and sometimes it will be tragic. It'll be dangerous and disgusting and stimulating and vibrating with all the extravagance and pureness of a simple touch: Love.
Deep down, I truly believe these people that gift us with these unforgettable feelings and moments are unforgettable all on their own. Do I think there is one soul mate for everyone? Do I think there will only be one person out there that will take you outside of your skin just to feel your own heart? Maybe. I do not know. If we just are, and they just are, and life just is, there really cannot be an answer for how we are, how we operate, and (the most painful question) why we are. Maybe my destiny is not his, maybe your fate is not mine. Maybe your ghost is my water and his future is my past. Maybe there is no answer and there will never be one and this essay is nothing but a bruise on all brilliant minds. Water to quench a fool’s thirst. Solace to the hopeless romantics drowning in a stranger’s comforting words on a lonely, Friday night. I still, really, do not know. I do not know anything.
I think soul mates are real and few. The way we are and the way we love will one day, somehow, connect with the way someone else is and how they love. And if those two fates interlace and love and bed and share meals and kids and remote controls; then that is beautiful. And if it does not turn out that way, it is still beautiful. I think the existence and the thought of that one person is a marvelous justification all on its own. How we go about thinking about them, imagining them, finding them, keeping them, or letting them go, is not a matter of defining a “soul mate.” We call that a love story. Life gives birth to our blessings, our fortunes, and the people who can provide them for us. We simply return the generosity by giving life our stories.