There is a beautiful statue of a person in the middle of a large city, and the rumor surrounding the statue is that when they touch hands with their soulmate, they will become human. Naturally it becomes a perfect photo and video opportunity to pose while holding its hand. One cute selfie attempt results in an empty statue podium and you just barley catching a very confused person in your arms.
I had become obsessed with the soulmate statue. Since moving here two years ago, I studied everything about the legend of the statue. The story just spoke to me and my romantic nature. It had become such a tourist attraction that people designated a hashtag for it. I laughed when I found it, but I followed it religiously. I always wondered if the story was just something someone made up to bring more tourists to the area. There really wasn’t much that drew people to our city outside of the statue, so I’ve always assumed it was a made-up story to attract visitors.
As the legend goes, this man, Marcellus, was a known tyrant. He lorded his wealth over the town and forced the people to do his bidding. He was cruel and unforgiving. If you failed in his demands, you suffered harsh consequences. Many people lost their lands and their livelihoods because of his ruthlessness. He amassed many properties and businesses, but was never satisfied. People had no choice but to deal with his tyrannical ways. One day, a desperate family visited him to beg for a chance to extend their payment schedule on their land. They were on the verge of eviction, and they pleaded with him to give them more time. The father had fallen ill and could not work to provide for his family. Being the cruel bastard they knew him to be, he didn’t relent in his course of action as it pertained to their land. The woman begged him as she cried for her family. When her cries fell on deaf ears, she warned him that there were always consequences to being selfish and cruel. She urged him to reconsider his actions, to which he laughed and ordered her to be removed.
The next day, the woman returned with her coven of witches. She offered him one more opportunity to change his ways. Warned him that they would set him to have his cruelty turned back on himself. He laughed in her face and told her to go ahead and try. The witches left his building and gathered outside. In the early morning sun, they formed a circle and put a curse on him. The townspeople were all there to witness the curse being placed.
“Let cruelty, pain and selfish ways
Follow this villain through all his days.
Reverse the torment he creates
to turn on him a crueler fate.”
Marcellus didn’t take them seriously, and that was his biggest mistake. In the next few months, he had a terrible run of luck. He started losing all his properties and investments. Everything he held of value was ripped from him until they left him with nothing but the clothing on his back. He found the coven’s head witch and begged her for forgiveness. He promised he would be a better man.
The witch could see he was being genuine, but told him he had done too much damage to just be forgiven. However, she offered him an alternative. Another curse to take its place, on the condition that he proved to be a better man. For five years, the original curse would be lifted, and he could resume his uncursed life. Marcellus would have to prove he had become a better man, not only to the head witch, but to the entire town. She placed a new curse on Marcellus that was centered on love. Marcellus knew he put himself in this situation with his cruelty and lack of compassion. He never showed kindness or love to anyone but himself. At the end of those five years, the man would be cast in stone, and set in the center of the city, until his soulmate found him. Upon joining their hands would he be made human again, ending the curse.
In a way, I felt bad for Marcellus. If the stories were true, then sure he deserved to be punished, but to be turned into stone for an undetermined time seemed excessive. Then again, I was a sucker for redemption stories, and I guess I was just hoping that he got his happy ending after all these years. Supposedly, he’d been in that town square for over 100 years.
As for myself, living on the outskirts of the city made it difficult to visit the statue. Ever since I moved here two years ago, things have been tough. Jobs have been difficult to find, and my old car was on its deathbed. I’d been depending on my boyfriend to help, but he wasn’t always cooperative, making my relationship with him rocky. I had been contemplating breaking up with him for a while now. I didn’t know why we were still together. We fought more than we got along, and his selfish nature grated on my nerves.
Things were changing, though. I started my new job a month ago. The pay increase was substantial enough that I could buy a new car. Finally, I had the means to get to that statue and that’s exactly what I planned on doing. Nothing or no one would stop me, or at least that’s what I thought. My boyfriend came stomping into my apartment a few moments later.
“Marisol! Where are you?” John yelled as he stomped around my apartment. I sighed as I yelled to him from the bedroom where I was currently getting ready.
“Hey! Why haven’t you answered any of my messages? I’ve been texting you for a while now.”
“Sorry, I was getting ready to go out today, and I guess I didn’t hear the phone go off.” I said, without stopping what I was doing. We didn’t have plans today, so I didn’t think of even checking my phone for messages. I’d been so excited about my trip that I completely forgot.
“Where are you going?” There was accusation in his voice as he crossed his arms over his chest and stared me down.
I dreaded answering him. He didn’t understand my obsession with this statue, and I knew he was going to give me a hard time for wanting to go. “I’m going into town to see the statue.” I admitted to him, without looking at him.
“What? C’mon Mari! Really? I don’t want to waste my day going to see some lame statue.” He started whining like a child and it was really getting on my nerves.
I looked over at him standing there like a petulant child and snapped. “So then don’t go! You don’t have to come with me today. I didn’t ask for you to come because I knew you wouldn’t want to.” I needed to take a deep breath and calm down before I spoke again. I got it. He wasn’t into the statue, but I thought he might make an exception because I was very into it.
“I’m sorry Mari. I’m just saying, why don’t we do something fun today instead of making the drive for some stupid statue?”
I blew out a frustrated breath and looked up at the ceiling. He just didn’t understand, and I was tired of trying to explain it to him. “Look John, I’m going. If you don’t want to go, then don’t. I’ll meet up with you later.”
“So, you’re just going to go alone?” He taunted. “Who’s going to take your picture?”
I pulled my selfie stick out from my bag and wiggled it in his direction. “See, you really don’t need to come.” I said with a satisfied smirk. Honestly, I knew I’d enjoy this trip much more without him.
“Fine! I’ll come! We have to go get something good to eat afterward, though.”
“Ugh, whatever.” It annoyed me that he forced his way into my plans. My irritation was building to a boiling point. I was trying hard not to lash out at him again. I hoped he didn’t ruin this day for me.
We got into the car, and I connected my phone to the Bluetooth. I turned up my favorite playlist so I wouldn’t have to talk to him on our drive over. I wasn’t in the mood for small talk, and I was still mad that he forced himself into my plans. Thankfully, he didn’t complain and just fell asleep on the way there.
We pulled up about 45 minutes later and I was bouncing in my seat. Finally, I was going to see the famed statue in person. John was still sleeping, and I was tempted to leave him in the car. I poked him in the arm until he woke up. “We’re here. Let’s go!”
The town square was full of life and activity. There were food vendors everywhere selling delicious smelling meats and breads. There was even a section of small tents that sold various trinkets and cheap jewelry. The major draw, of course, being the statue. I wasted no time with any of the other things and got right in line. It seemed like there was always a line to see and take pictures with the statue. There was even a photographer standing there offering his services to people. I smiled wide as I waited in anticipation. Even John’s complaining about all the people and the blistering heat couldn’t take away from my excitement as I bounced on my toes.
When it was finally my turn, I shoved my camera in his hands and told him to take the picture. I also told the photographer to take my picture as well; just in case John messed it up. Considering it took me so long to get here in the first place, I would not be taking any chances. I ambled up to the statue, admiring it in person. It was so much better than admiring a flat image on my phone. He was standing up straight with his one arm outstretched like he was reaching for someone. His face captivated me the most. You could tell by looking at him that he was filled with sadness and longing. It broke my heart a little. I got myself into position for the picture and finally reached out to grab his hand.
As I smiled for the cameras, I felt odd and nervous. I was so focused on smiling and staring at the cameras that I didn’t realize the entire square had gone silent. I looked over to my boyfriend and I saw my him drop the camera and gape at me. I looked over at the photographer and he had a similar expression on his face. It was then that I realized that the stone hand I was gripping was no longer stone at all. It felt warm and soft. Alarmed, I looked up into the most beautiful brown eyes I’d ever seen. I stared up into his handsome face, amazed. Could it be? Was this really happening? Marcellus stared at me with awe on his face as he closed the distance between us.
“You’ve finally found me.” He said with a blinding smile.
“Yes, I guess I have.” I admitted. My heart was beating wildly with excitement. I’d never had someone look at me the way this man was doing. Before I could say anything else, he cradled my face in his hands and kissed me with a passion that filled my entire being. I heard catcalls all around us and knew pictures were being taken by just about everyone there. I got my wish. Marcellus had finally found his happy ending and it just so happened to be me.