Emma Guthrie '22, Writer

I never liked the idea of soulmates. Someone you were tied to for the rest of your life, brought together by fate. The bright red String tied around my finger is a constant reminder that my future is not my own to decide. My heart is supposed to belong to someone that I don’t even know, whom I may not meet for years. And I’m just supposed to be okay with that?

The school bell rings, breaking my train of thought as everyone around me gathers their materials to go home for the day. I watch as people walk towards my String, and then right through it. Even after my 17 years of living I still feel a spike of panic when people walk towards it, thinking they are going to trip. Rationally I know that isn’t possible, the rules don’t allow it. I hear my elementary teacher’s voice in my head from when she had listed the three rules to us:

  1. Your String can only be seen and touched by you and your Soulmate.
  2. You cannot change who your String is attached to.
  3. Your String can only be broken through the death of one or both soulmates.

That last one is my least favorite rule. As much as I wish to take my fate into my own hands, I do not want anyone to die for me to do so. When we were taught these rules in elementary school, they told us that it was very rare for a soulmate to die before we met them. The teacher saw our panic after we were told this, and to calm us they told us to look out for other people’s cut strings, to see how uncommon they were. When a soulmate dies the remaining string can then be seen by everyone on the living soulmate. We had never met anyone who had a cut string. We had only seen the elderly with cut strings because their soulmates had died of old age. That sole fact calmed my young classmates who were worried they would one day wake up with a cut string. I however felt my heart sink, knowing that I would never be able to escape the bind of the String on my own. 

When walking through the halls, I see two freshmen facing each other, staring at a space between their hands. Some upperclassmen have soft smiles on their faces, while others look sad and slightly jealous that they found each other so young. 

“At this point, I’m no longer surprised when soulmates find each other. Especially during this month.” My friend Dan appeared behind me. I nod in agreement. It was February. Scientists don’t know why, but February is the month where soulmates find each other at the highest rate, despite it being the shortest month of the year. 

A voice to my right laughs, “It is kind of cute though. Whenever freshmen find each other they always look so scared.” My other friend, Jess, looks at me with a smile. I knew both her and Daniel before high school, and was actually the one to introduce them. Unbeknownst to me, they were soulmates and have been together since that fateful day three years ago.

“Like you two were any better,” I tease. “If I remember correctly when you two realized your Strings were connected you could barely say two words to each other for a whole month without stuttering.”

Daniel’s face was red, “Well yeah, but you can’t talk! You haven’t met your soulmate yet so how do you know you’ll react any better than us?” Jess nods along with him.

“Because unlike you two I don’t care for soulmates. Whenever I meet them they’ll just be another person in my life.” I turn towards my locker to open it. “I honestly don’t care if I never meet them. My future is mine to decide, not some stupid String’s.” 

Suddenly everything went quiet, which is very unusual for a high school hallway after school. I look around and everyone is staring at me. Jess looks shocked, with her hand covering her mouth, and Dan looks at me with sadness and shock clear on his face. He points at my hand on the locker door, “Flynn, your string…”

My heart stops. I slowly look over at my hand and see that all that is left of my string is a dull red knot tied around my finger. It looks so strange and kind of… sad. I bring my hand to my chest and hold it there. 

I feel a hand on my shoulder, but don’t look up from the knot. I hear Dan talking to me. It sounds like we’re underwater. “Hey,” he says. “Are you okay?” 

I laugh, “Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be? I never wanted to listen to that old string anyway.” I smile weakly at the knot, my voice is shaking, “I’m now free to decide my own future. It’s what I’ve always wanted, so I’m fine.”

“Then why are you crying?”

I snap out of it and lift my hand to my face to feel the wetness of tears rolling down my cheeks. I look up at my friends to see them holding each other, a look of shock and sadness on both of their faces. Why am I crying? Isn’t this what I’ve always wanted? Freedom? 

When I look around to see everyone staring at me, I realize that I can now see all of their strings. Everyone is connected to someone, has someone waiting for them. 

Except me. 

I look down at my string – no, my knot, and it is almost as if a blindfold has finally been lifted from my eyes. I realize what has been taken from me, and realize that I took what I had for granted. I didn’t realize that having someone who you were destined for, someone that would love you unconditionally, would be so important to me. Not until I lost it.