Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
I would’ve liked to have started this story with an ‘I woke up to my alarm clock beeping’, but it’s just not the truth. The truth is that I didn’t sleep at all tonight.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
I don’t want this day to start. This can’t be happening.
I’m not even sure what’s going to happen today, you see, my timer isn’t normal.
Everyone else’s timer- “Beth, turn off the damn alarm” my mum tells me as she walks into my room and opens my curtains. I silently swing my arm out of bed and turn off the alarm. I drag myself to the bathroom and look in the mirror. I look at myself, judging my own face. This is it. This is going to be your first impression. I pick up my contact lenses and slowly move it to my eye, at that moment my eye catches sight of the horizontal white band on the inside of my right wrist, 0000d:08h:23m:37s
My soulmate timer, the clock on your wrist that’s supposed to tell you when you’re going to meet the one person who’s perfect for you. I look over to my left wrist, 0097d:17h:01m:15s. I quickly pop my contacts in and stare from my left wrist to my right wrist and back to my left. All these years I’ve been wondering what this means, all these years people have asked me what it means, but honestly I have no clue. There’s no guidelines for these timers, all they can tell you is when you meet “the one”, the numbers can’t tell you where or who or anything like that. And they certainly don’t tell you what it means to have two timers.
The endless possibilities start playing in my head again. Does it mean that I have two soulmates? Would that imply both of them at the same time? Can you love two people at the same time? Or would I have to choose? Are there two people out there who’s numbers match mine exactly? How would I be able to pick one? Or would it mean that I can’t be with one of my soulmates so they made me one that I can be with? But what happens to the other one? How can my soulmate and I not belong together? How can we not end up living happily ever after together? I start getting mad again as I furiously try to brush my untameable brown curls. My timers make no sense! Nothing good has ever come out of having these stupid double timers. It doesn't make me feel excited and happy like the timers make everyone else feel. Instead all I got were worried questions, pitiful looks and therapist appointments.
I get dressed in my ever so fabulous school uniform and put some make-up on, hey I have to look at least somewhat nice for my potential soulmate. I walk into the kitchen and make myself some toast and sit down at the kitchen table. My mum takes the seat in front of me and puts down two cups of tea “It’s today huh?” she asks me while I simply nod. Usually everyone is really nervous when you hit 0000d, but I’m not and neither is my family. Everyone is worried, worried that I might get hurt, they have no idea what is going to happen. In school they teach you about your timers and what you’re supposed to do and what you’re supposed to feel, none of that applies to me though. I’m terrified.
My heart’s pounding, my stomach’s twisting, I can’t eat. I push my plate away from me and go back upstairs to thoroughly brush my teeth. I can’t stop looking at myself in the mirror. The fear of him rejecting me based on my looks is just too much. My hand stops mid-brush. What if he rejects me based on my deafness?
I grab my phone and school bag to see that I got a text from Lynn, which is quickly followed up by a second text.
From: Lynn Mealing:
hurry up you lazy arse!!!
I’m sorry, I love you, hurry up babe
I smile, typically Lynn.
There’s a tap on my shoulder and I turn around to a very nervous face “Good luck today. I hope you meet the person who will make you happy.” My mum signs to me. “Thank you” I tell her.
As I walk down the street I see Lynn who is waving at me like an idiot. “I’m so excited for today! You’re going to meet your soulmate! Your soulmate!”
Bless her. She’s the only one who’s excited for me, the only one that’s not worried that I might get heartbroken, the only one who doesn’t think I’m weird for having two timers. Also, she’s the only one apart from my family who learned sign language for me. At school I have a professional interpreter but outside of school she’s my personal interpreter. As I reach her she pulls me into a very tight hug and tugs my right sleeve up to look at my timer and starts making, what I assume must be, very high pitched sounds of excitement. Her timer isn’t going to reach 0 in another few years. How I would’ve loved to trade places with her, she seems so excited about the whole soulmate thing and I just wish that I could’ve had a few more years of numbers on my wrist.
I smile at her and tell her “Come on, we can’t be late, I can’t afford to get detention and not meet my soulmate because of it.” Lynn’s eyes widen “You’re right, we need to hurry”.
The day is moving incredibly slowly. Lunch was horrible to say the least, my tummy is full of butterflies, I’m so nervous that I can’t eat.
I stare at my interpreter who is stood next to the teacher, but I can’t focus on her signs. Who can blame me though, I couldn’t even focus on my two favourite classes this morning: geography and English and now they’re expecting me to pay attention in algebra. Suddenly everyone stands up and I look back at my interpreter who signs to me that the school bell just rang. As Lynn and I walk down the hall I look down at my wrist and push my sleeve up a bit 32 minutes. My breath quickens, it’s too early I’m not even 18 yet, how can I meet my soulmate at this age? I barely even know who I am, how can I meet the person I’m going to marry at this age?
My last class of the day is IT, a class I sometimes hate and sometimes love. Depending if we have to involve music in our assignments. As long as we have to set up programs and use Photoshop I’m completely fine, but as soon as we have to make videos I panic. I never really got good grades for those assignments since my videos never had sounds until Lynn decided to help me. She’s really good with music, we kind of work as a team now. I look for lyrics that fit my video and she tells me what kind of feeling the music gives her, she even taps the beat of the music on the back of my hand. She’s an actual angel.
As we take our seats my interpreter lets me know that we are supposed to finish up our magazine cover Photoshop assignments and email it to Mrs. Delifire. Luckily I finished mine last time and all I have to do is submit it. I glance at my right wrist, at my “wrong” timer, 10 minutes. I start getting nervous again and avoid looking at my timer by keeping my eyes on Lynn’s computer screen as she finishes up her assignment. Suddenly she taps me on my shoulder and points at my interpreter “-,please. As you all know I’m going on maternity leave today, so I arranged for your substitute teacher to come in and introduce himself to you before I leave. So I’m going to the teacher’s lounge, find your new teacher and bring him back here. Be nice to him though! This is going to be his first teaching experience, he just graduated from university.”
As Mrs. Delifire walks out I feel a hand tugging on my sleeve, I look and see my timer say 2 minutes and 13 seconds, I look up and see Lynn staring at me wide-eyed. Her expression says it all: the substitute teacher is my soulmate.
My head starts spinning. That’s why I have two timers. That must be the reason. I can’t be with my teacher, so the timer on my left wrist must be the right one, that must be my real soulmate and not my teacher. My breath quickens, I want to run away, but I can’t. It feels as if I’m glued to my chair, exactly like I was always taught in school: you’ll know when to move and you’ll know when not to move when you’re nearing your soulmate meeting. My eyes search the room for a distraction and lock on the big screen in front of the class that is linked to the teacher’s computer.
A girl called Rebecca looked up a music video of some band on the screen, I watch it as it comes to an end. Suddenly Lindsey snatches the keyboard from Rebecca’s hands and types in a video while she starts talking enthusiastically, out of the left corner of my eye I see my interpreter sign, but I can’t bring myself to look away from the screen. The video starts playing and I feel my timer start to give little taps meaning I’ve reached the last ten seconds of my timer.
My eyes are glued to the screen.
My heartbeat quickens.
My breathe hitches in the back of my throat.
I expect the substitute to walk in any moment now.
I can’t bring myself to look at the door to see if they’ve arrived yet.
There’s a guy on the screen with a plaid shirt wrapped around his waist while he sings into the microphone.
The image switched to a guy with blond hair and a weird patch of unnatural coloured hair right on top of his head.
Why can’t I look away?
The screen stops, someone must’ve paused it. I don’t look up, I can’t look up, I’m still not able to breathe. The bandana, the way his big hands hold his drumsticks, everything about him, makes my heart flutter and my stomach twist. My soulmate. He’s right there. In a music video playing the drums.