The three girls neared the edge of the forest, the sunlight shone through the leaves, reflecting on the ground like flowing silk. “So, Sophia.” Julie looked over at the young girl whose long brown curled hair was blowing in the wind.
“Do you like him?”
Sophia stopped a few steps in front of Julie, “Like him? What do you mean?” She looked over to check on Rose who was picking flowers a few meters ahead of them.
Julie walked up to the girl, “I’ll put it a different way.” Julie put her hand on Sophia’s shoulder, “Do you love him?”
Sophia stood there for a moment. “Well,” She looked up the path toward the beach, “I don’t really believe in love.”
Julie began walking ahead of Sophia, “You don’t believe in love, eh?”
Sophia followed behind Julie, the two lively girls were now quiet, the only sound was Rose’s laughter as she skipped ahead of the older girls. Have I said something wrong? Sophia looked up at Julie, she was so confident and beautiful, there was no way Julie would ever let anyone hurt her, Julie seemed so strong. The way she held her head up when she walked, and the glimmer in here eye suggesting she knew something you didn’t. She probably just doesn’t get it.
A few minutes passed and the two girls arrived at the beach, Sophia took off her shoes and hid them under a rock, Julie did the same. Rose kicked her shoes of in the general direction of the rock and grabbed Sophia by the hand, “Come on!” She yelled, pulling her toward the shoreline. Rose and Sophia walked along the shore, their feet becoming damp from the small waves hitting land; seaweed and shells were scattered less than a meter from the water the whole length of the beach. Every now and then Rose or Sophia would stop to pick a shell up from the ground and place it in the basket.
As evening began Sophia, Rose and Julie set back toward the house. Once more Rose was skipping ahead on the path, picking flowers, humming tunes.
“I don’t believe you.” Julie said, walking beside Sophia, still looking forward.
“I think that you do believe in love.” Sophia continued walking not knowing what to say, “That happiness you get when you’re with people you care about, that’s love.”
Sophia shook her head, “That’s not what I mean when I said I don’t believe in love.”
“Well, the thing is, we’re all supposed to have soulmates, right?”
“And everyone has ‘the one’, right?”
“Well, I don’t believe that. Because, if you’d never met the person who you’re currently ‘in love’ with, then you’d just be ‘in love’ with someone different. And, I don’t know, that just seems so faux to me.”
Julie looked over at Sophia whose gaze seemed distant. “I guess so.”
“And also,” Sophia began, looking toward the pebbles and grass on the ground beneath her, “If love were real, people wouldn’t fall out of love. If people really did have soulmates, or if love was real, then you’d never fall out of love, and you couldn’t love anyone else.”
Julie stopped and grabbed Sophia’s arm, “But that’s the thing Soph,” She smiled, looking up at the setting sun as they arrived in the back yard, “People can believe they’re in love and be wrong, but when they do fall in love, like really in love. Head over heels, you’d do anything for them kind of love. When people fall that deeply, they can tell the difference, they realize how faux those other loves were. And they will never truly stop loving that person.”
Sophia watched as Julie entered the house, she followed behind.