The following prompt went around on Tumblr a few years ago (I think I was junior in college at the time) and I used it as a small writing exercise. Enjoy.
“If a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate, would you want to know?”
The sun slowly begins to set over Grant Park as everyone leaves and goes home. I sit on the concrete wall that overlooks Lake Michigan as I stare at the clock on my wrist.
"10 minutes." I sigh. In just 10 minutes I’ll meet the person I’m supposed to be with for the rest of my life. The person who’ll complete me. The person who’ll make me feel like I’m important and mean something.
The clock was installed on my wrist by the government after scientists created it and tested it on a bunch of mice or something, I don’t know. But, due to its effectiveness and its ability to measure brain activity and heart beats or whatever, it’s now legally required to be installed on every US citizen. It’s terribly itchy and a bit of a pain sometimes, but hey, if it does lead me to my soul mate, then I guess it was worth it.
I check back at the clock. 5 minutes left. I start to panic as a jolt of fear grabs onto my heart and mind. What if they don’t like me? What if I’m too weird? What if I’m not pretty enough? What if this is just a realization that I’m meant to die alone? What if it’s my death that is actually coming my way? How could the government even know what’s best for me? How could the scientists? How could they know when I don’t even know? I think back to all of my past relationships: repeated emotional turmoil, attacks on my self-esteem, the occasional gendered slur, and finally heartbreak. Every. Single. Time. Maybe I’m not meant to be with anyone. Maybe all those assholes were right about me. My breathing speeds up and I lose the ability to think clearly. I’m on the brink of tears as I watch the seconds click downwards "….5….4….3….2….1."
The sun has completely set. A few stars appear in the sky and the full moon begins to rise over the lake. My wrist clock beeps for a few seconds… and then there is silence. I look around and see no one. I melt into myself and begin to sob uncontrollably.
“Stupid government! Stupid scientists! Stupid clock! Stupid me! Stupid, stupid me! Why did I ever think I was worthy of anyone’s affection!? My time is up and I’m through." I scream and sob into my arms, staining my clothes with tears and snot when I feel someone’s hand on my shoulder…
"Hey, you okay?" says the voice. I raise my messy, scrunched up, wet face and turn around to the person standing behind me. There stood a beautiful young woman with wavy red hair, ebony skin, bright green eyes, some freckles on her face, a slightly chubby figure in a Marceline t-shirt and jeans, and a clock on her wrist that read “000d 00h 00m 00s." I look back up to her and, after a few failed attempts to be coherent through my excess tears and new-found emotions of joy, I show her my own clock. She looks at it, looks back at me and smiles.
"Stand up, soul mate. I can’t hug you if you’re all the way down there." she said. I stand up slowly and try to remove any remaining tears and snot that may still be on my face as I awkwardly present myself. She comes over to me and gives me one of the best hugs I had ever received. She let’s go of me and just laughs for a second.
"Y’know, I was expecting they’d set me up with some emotionally abusive white guy and I was kinda hoping I’d get Robert Downey Jr’s son." she said. “But in all honesty, even though we just met, I can already tell that we’re meant to be together. I never thought I’d get set up with such a beautiful woman."
I’m frozen in shock. Within a minute or so of knowing each other, this woman has made me feel more important and more worthy than anything else in the world. I know she can’t solve my problems, I don’t expect her too, but I feel like life will be much easier to live if she’s there experiencing it with me. I manage to string together a few words and make some sentences.
"There’s a cupcake place near where I live. You want to get some cupcakes and drinks and head back up to my apartment? I have Netflix, so we can watch Adventure Time…" I offer, referencing her Marceline shirt. "…or anything else you want to watch."
"That sounds lovely, honey. Though I think I’m in more of a Firefly mood tonight, let’s watch Serenity." she said.
"I love Firefly! Let’s do it!" I scream. She laughs and takes my hand. We walk away from the lake as the moon’s reflection glistens and the Chicago skyline makes its own constellations for aliens to describe the shapes of.
"Since we’re soul mates" she started “I should probably tell you my name. I’m Kendra. Kendra Osbourne."
"My name is Sadie. Sadie Johnson." I stutter.
"Well, Sadie, let’s go get some cupcakes and liquor and get to know each other a little better." she said, smiling with a certain sparkle in her eyes. I smile back with the same sparkle in my own.