By Birth of Eros

Writing Prompt: Soulmates do exist, you just have to find yours. Well, it’s easier said than done when you live in a world where everyone finds their soulmate by matching necklaces that are given at birth by the god Eros—except you.

You’d think finding your soulmate would be easy, in a World where Eros had provided the key. The key to knowing who your perfect match would be. The answer was provided in the form of a necklace, to be worn at all times, like a birth mark upon the heart. The idea was you searched for the missing half to your whole, the mirror image that would fit so wonderfully inside your own. Easy, surely? Or so it would seem.

Sophia had been abandoned at birth, not through lack of love from her parents, but from the loss of love in her own heart. Of a necklace she hadn’t one to show. Some speculated she was cursed, a demon risen to plague the Earth. Others reasoned that her necklace must be lost, and that she needn’t fear for all those that were lost were eventually found (this was on account that Eros had created each necklace with a vague sense of sentience, jewels fashioned from love that bore a love of their own for their holder, and should they ever be forgotten they’d work restlessly to find their way back home).

Whatever the case may be Sophia was fast approaching eighteen, and the void within her being cried out to be soothed by the touch of another.

All throughout her life Sophia had face ridicule. It was common practice in school for students of an age to share their necklaces with one another, to compare likeness, to experiment on whether his would fit hers. What more do you expect? Kids will be kids as they say. We were all young once, you know! 

Eros may have written that true love is found pure and untainted, but life is for the living, and too many would never find their perfect match, content in settling down with one they cared for deeply. Sometimes deeply was enough, sometimes a close match was enough. But even this required one vital ingredient that Sophia sorely lacked. A necklace! Eros, please. Why me?

Therapy had been an option, one well supported by Sophia’s elders. Meetings were held between groups of unloveables, vagrant souls who felt that they deserved no taste of love. Their jewels were fixed! you see. Cursed are we, by God. Gifted a necklace without a match. Not one! Not a single one in all the World to fit my own ! And it was commonly subscribed to, this school of thought, especially by the elder and more impatient single souls that were left alone. It couldn’t be through lack of looking, nor through the fact they chose to isolate themselves from love. It was simply Eros, playing games. After all there must be fools in love.

Sophia reluctantly agreed to the pestering demands. Please Sophia, take no offence. We know what’s best, we’ve seen this all before. Leave misery behind. Take what company you can. Love isn’t always the answer. But that was the trouble, in a World under rule of Eros love quite frequently was the answer, a satisfying retreat from the monotony of life. The piece to your puzzle left incomplete. Like day without the night, one must chase the other if either should survive.

But perhaps, just perhaps, there was a way out to be found…

“Please, introduce yourself.” Jeffrey, an elderly man riddled with arthritis, sat upon a tin can stool with clipboard shaking in his hand. He’d been reeling off their names; Krystal (with a K), Grant and Johnson. Belle and Mae. Meghan. Jacques and Gareth, too. Not forgetting Mrs Blue. And at the sound of a half-muttered yes he’d plant a shaken tick upon the board.

“Sophia.” the girl with brazen honey eyes and freckles on her cheeks looked about the room, and only one looked back. Mrs Blue.

She wasn’t a day older or younger than Sophia as she sat there, and yet that title – Mrs Blue – betrayed her youth. A girl of eighteen, too, with bright blonde hair and dark grey eyes. She wore denim dungarees with patches on the arms. A sunflower, a rainy day cloud, a red balloon, a sleeping teddy bear.

She’s beautiful. Sophia smiled, a thin line of pink. But Mrs Blue shied away, folding her arms over her chest.

“It might be good,” Jeffrey continued, “If we heard from one of the group. Grant, perhaps you’d like to speak?”

The thick shoulder man with painted skin (tattoos of penny dreadful pin up girls and hooligan skulls) shook his head politely and tried on a smile of his own. It looked ugly on his piggish face, tears welled behind his eyes. There was a deep sadness to this creature, a wounded puppy in the body of a wolf. One who wished only to love and be loved.

Jeffrey quickly turned away, “Quite alright. Then Belle I’d ask, what of you?”

A rose poked out from behind Belle’s ear, red petals flaked her snow white skin. She tugged sulkily at the sleeves of her frayed cardigan, trying to hide from watchful eyes the painful scars of yesterday.

“I’ll speak.” Krystal (with a K), exclaimed, “If no one else has the stomach to say it, then let me.”

Jeffrey sighed, “If you must.” he sat back, holding pen to shaking paper, taken by a sadness of his own. He loved his job, but at times it seemed that love was far from mutual. A man who wished to help, to help those in the most dire of need, forced into the late age of his life alone, with only his work to console him.

“We know why we’re here.” Krystal began, “We know what we are. Cursed. Plain and simple. Eros has his favourites, and I’m sad to say that we ain’t them. You get a necklace, a chance at life, but it’s all a lie! There’s no one waiting out there, no perfect match for us. We’re unloveable, and that’s a fact.”

“How can you be so sure?” Jacques argued, “The World is as big a place as you’ll find. What if we’re just not looking hard enough?”

Krystal started to laugh, she clambered from her chair and walked over to Jacques, “Oh Jacques, sweet Jacques. If there’s one thing I can promise,” she sat herself across his lap, pulling puppy dog eyes and sticking out her front lip, “it’s that I’ve looked awfully hard and I ain’t found a thing. The World might be big, but Eros is bigger. If we weren’t meant to find the one…” she kissed Jacques gently on his cheek, and whispered in his ear, “…then we’d have found them long by now.”

Grant started to whimper, tears strolled down his cheeks. Johnson gave a empathetic smile, placing an arm round his shoulder. “Come on big guy, it’ll be alright.”

Several meetings passed until at last Sophia was called to speak, to reveal her own dark secret to the group of lonesome hearts.

“Please, Sophia, your story is a little different, is it not?” Jeffrey, so much like a father, radiated warmth and the promise of safety. To be able to speak freely without judgement… more or less.

Sophia nodded, and this time Blue’s eyes met her own, she gave a weak sort of smile and in an instant Sophia’s heart began to melt. Those eyes across the room begged her to speak, to open herself to the arms of this group. To lust is human, but to ache is divine.

“Go on.” Jeffrey waved a frail, shaking hand, “We’re listening.”

“I was three years old, when my parents left.” at once the room fell silent, “It wasn’t that they didn’t love me, it was that they weren’t exactly sure I could love them. Ironic really. To be left hurting by those who were so scared of being hurt themselves.” she laughed, Blue bit her lip, their eyes met and both quickly parted to the floor.

“Why’d they leave you?” Meghan asked. “Was your necklace broken? Scratched or damaged?”

Sophia swallowed, her mouth at once felt dry.

“Go on.” Jeffrey waved again, “Tell them.”

With a deep breath in, and one back out, Sophia let her secret fly, “My necklace wasn’t broken, my necklace never was.”

“What bullsh*t .” Krystal muttered under Jeffrey’s glare.

“What do you mean?” Grant asked, suddenly curious, toying with his own tattered, beaten necklace.

“I mean…” Sophia shrugged, “I’ve never had a necklace. Never will. It’s not lost, it just wasn’t ever there. My parents reasoned it was because I lacked a heart, that Eros had been mistaken in His design when creating me. The Doctors soon put that idea to bed. My heart beats just as loud as any other. So they left. No parents. No necklace. No hope.”

“And I thought we were freaks, but you…” Krystal stood up now, kicking back her chair, “…you’re something else entirely. You’re a f*cking degenerate. How can you think to call yourself human? You might look like us, but you’re not like us. You’re disgusting.” Krystal pressed her lips together and spat in Sophia’s face, fiercely growling in contempt.

“That’s enough!” Jeffrey cried, but his voice was hardly deafening. It battered lightly at the ears, far from being able to command.

Sophia fled in fits of tears, running from the hall. All the others sat in silence, stunned, repulsed, confused.

But this wouldn’t be the end, far from it. This was simply the beginning. After Krystal’s foul mouthed assault Mrs Blue found her courage and out the hall went running. She came upon Sophia curled against a locker, head tucked between her knees.

“Hi.” Blue whispered softly, offering her hand.

Sophia wiped away a tear and reared her head for long enough to see…

In Blue’s hand, clear as day, she held her necklace limply, “I think I’ve found a way, for us to both be happy.” she dropped the necklace to the floor, it sounded out a dull thudding on the tiles, “It’s a fake, you see. My parents gave it to me. I never did fit in.” she shrugged, though whether her tale so sweet was a lie would remain to be unseen. “So now we match.” Blue giggled, bent and kissed Sophia on the forehead, “We were meant to find each other, you and I.”

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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