All humans are immortal until they find their “soulmate”, after which they age regularly. You, however, have been around since the ice age…
I got up to face another day, unsure why I bothered. I was so tired of this life and its never-ending pursuit of “the soulmate”. It was bullshit. I felt the sneer take over my face as I thought about it. To say I was old was an understatement. I have been around for over a hundred thousand years, give or take. I stopped counting a long time ago.
I felt the jealousy rise in me as I remembered all the family and friends I’ve had over the years. They’d found their soulmates and happily continued to live mortal lives until the day they died. I squeezed my eyes tightly, trying to dispel the riot of emotions bouncing in my brain. It was no use. I saw their faces as I remembered, and it always brought me down to a very low place. I’ve met and lost so many over the years that I had actively stopped trying to meet people. Although this course of action was counterproductive to meeting “the soulmate”, I’d lost hope entirely. This choice was easier than making attachments to people I’d inevitably lose.
I’ll admit, I’ve become a bitter bastard, but it was better than the alternative. I’ve loved and lost too many times over the years. I went through some dark times where I tried everything I could to end my life, to no avail. Realizing I had no choice made my despair and depression much worse. I knew living like that wasn’t helpful, so I took things day by day. It’s not much of an existence, but I felt it was key to my survival. Shutting my emotions off going through the day-to-day activities numb to the world around me.
I got up, starting my day as usual. Staring at the same face that hasn’t seemed to age, permanently stuck looking like a common thirty-year-old even though it’s so far from the truth. It irritated me to see that same young face looking back at me. It seems petty, but I’ve been young long enough. Oddly, I longed to see myself age and move from this stagnant place both mentally and physically. For this reason, I had taken to avoiding my reflection altogether. The only time I forced myself to look upon my face was in the morning when I shaved and brushed my teeth. Now that the unpleasantness was done, it was time to get moving.
I bought 30 acres of land about ten years ago and had taken to growing my food. I had almost everything I needed here. I only ventured into the city to get what I needed about once a month and whatever I couldn’t get there I’d buy online. I’d grown to depend on my isolation and the quiet way of life for survival. I’ve done so many things, lived so many lives, but this quiet life seemed to suit my mood best. I wasn’t always this way. I used to love to live life to the fullest. I used to hold hope in my heart that I too would find love and age. That outlook has dulled significantly over the last 100 years. I just couldn’t muster the strength to be positive anymore.
Through all my years many things have changed, and I’ve adapted as best as possible. Some things were still difficult to grasp, but at least computers haven’t been an issue for me. I took some classes, not wanting to get left behind and now know enough to survive in this technical world of smartphones, apps, and online ordering. One thing I loved about this modern world was that you could have just about anything sent to you. It’s one luxury that I enjoyed and even depended on. Especially considering my hermit lifestyle.
I’d picked up a hobby that required online buying. Metal sculpture had become my new obsession. I was expecting a package that week with my new tools and supplies. I’d become good enough that I had a steady stream of buyers waiting for my next project to complete. It was something that helped me forget. I got lost in the creative process. Spending hours refining my craft and watching an idea come to fruition. It was the only thing that gave me a genuine sense of happiness these days, and the only thing I lived for.
My latest project was almost complete. I had a buyer coming at the end of the week to assess the piece. It pissed me off that he had to come in person. He’s bought three of my previous pieces and appreciated the quality of my work. I knew I was being a bit of an asshole, but I took my solitude seriously and I didn’t enjoy entertaining people anymore. I put up a bit of a fight but, in the end, I caved. One in-person visit was better than the relentless texts, emails, and phone calls. Back to hating technology again. I huffed. It was so much easier to hide from people in the past.
A loud banging at the front door interrupted my thoughts. I knew it must be the delivery person. I wasn’t expecting them to arrive until later this week, but it would be nice to have supplies earlier and get a jump start on my project. When I opened the door, the delivery guy was hauling the last of my packages to my door, panting and sweating profusely. I shook my head in disgust. The supplies were heavy, but not enough to wind a young man such as this. Even though we were immortal, you could always sense the ones that hadn’t been around long. It was in the eyes and the way they carried their bodies. He grimaced at me as he handed me the signature capture device. I rolled my eyes as I signed and shoved the device back at him, dismissing him altogether as I brought my packages inside. I heard him mutter “asshole” under his breath as he walked away. I had a good mind to call him out on it. I was never one to shy away from a good fight, but my excitement over my package overruled my need to teach him some manners.
I looked at my watch. It was still early. I had to tend to the crops and animals before I could get lost in my craft. I rushed through it all, not taking the time I usually did in my routine. This project was special. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I knew it was going to be my best. By the time I finished up around the farm, I forced down a quick lunch, eager to get to my metal shop. I had this idea in my head of how I wanted it to look and I knew given what I had already completed it wasn’t right.
I jumped right into the work. Taking longer than needed to adjust the pieces to look exactly as I imagined them. This piece was a mix of several metals, making it stand out more than anything else I’d ever created. When I finished I stared at the face of a woman I’d never seen before. She was hauntingly beautiful. Her bronze hair flowing out and around her face as if she stepped into a gust of wind. She had sad eyes that had seen too much. Maybe I was projecting my feelings of loss on my sculpture. Her eyes and face mirrored my feelings exactly. It was all there to see plain as day, but it didn’t deter from her beauty. I was in awe that I created something so beautiful. I’d be sad to see this one go. I wondered briefly if I could create another piece before Friday so I could keep this one, but I didn’t have enough supplies on hand to start over. This immediately put me in a bit of a funk. I’d never grown so attached to my pieces. Sure, I’ve kept many pieces over the years, but if anyone ever offered to buy them, I let them. Knowing that in my mind it just gave me an excuse to keep creating. It was late now, and I could feel the drag of exhaustion catching up to me. I took one last longing look at the sculpture before I turned off the lights. As I headed back to the house, I realized I hadn’t checked my phone in all the time I was working in the shop. I had five text messages and four missed calls.
I rolled my eyes as I read over the messages. Apparently, my Friday buyer, Mr. Miller, was going to be in town early and wanted to come out to see my work tomorrow. I felt anger and frustration bubble up inside. I didn’t want to let the piece go. I texted him back and tried to put him off till next week, but he insisted that this was the only time he had available to make the trip. He assured me it didn’t matter what I had on hand, that he’d be interested in something. I looked around, cataloging my other finished projects that had yet to sell. I had a few decent pieces there. I hoped I’d get lucky, and he’d prefer one of the others. It was a small hope, but I held tight to it as I completed my nightly routine. By the time I made it to bed, the exhaustion took over, and I fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, the blaring alarm startled me out of sleep. I was dreaming of a woman. She looked a lot like my sculpture. I must’ve been so obsessed over it that I dreamed up a woman who resembled it. I shook my head, trying to dispel the grogginess. It felt so strange to dream. I hadn’t remembered a dream in years. Why was this dream bothering me so much? I blew out a frustrated breath as I climbed out of bed. I avoided the mirror completely today, forgoing a shave for some peace of mind. I was already struggling with my feelings over my project.
I got to work quickly and took my time, unlike yesterday. It made me remember why I liked to do this work and the peace it brought me that seemed to settle my soul. By the time I finished and headed back to the house, it was almost 10:00 and I was starving. I whipped up a quick breakfast when my phone started going off. I picked it up off my table, realizing I forgot it again when I was outside. Irritation rose when I saw there were 15 messages there already. I rubbed my face with my hands. Today I really hated technology. I started going through the messages and most were from my Mr. Miller. He was here and would come by in about an hour. He wanted confirmation and kept texting me every ten minutes. I texted him back, letting him know it was fine. Thankfully, the incessant dings finally stopped. I knew I needed to shower and get presentable.
True to his word and promptly on time, my Mr. Miller showed up exactly an hour later. He was a serious man, dressed in a perfectly pressed suit and a professional smile. When I shook his hand, it was firm. He knew what he wanted and went after it. I knew he wasn’t young, but he wasn’t as old as I was, though rarely anyone these days was. He wasn’t overly verbose either. I asked him if he wanted a tour, but he declined, stating that he only wanted to see the pieces I had on hand. Straight to the point which I could appreciate. We stepped outside where I had four recently completed pieces. I had a dragon that towered over the both of us, an eagle with its wings spread out, a lion head roaring with its hair flying wild around its head and a huge Dire Wolf protecting her pups cowering underneath her body. While I loved creating all of them, I didn’t feel attached to any of them. Mr. Miller took an immediate liking to the dragon. He spent the most time looking over it before moving on to the other pieces. I waited patiently as he appraised each piece. I sat back in the shade, allowing him the privacy to decide. Finally, he turned to me and told me he’d take all four of them but didn’t ask to see any others. Relief filled me. He offered an obscene amount of money for the lot of them, and while it flattered me, I honestly didn’t care. I wasn’t doing this for the money but understood this was a major part of selling art. I took his offer without emotion.
“You have an uncanny attention to detail. Your metalwork is unlike any I have seen in my long life. I sense you’ve been around for a long time and have seen many things. It shows in your work. It’s a rare gift. Please keep me informed of any other pieces you have in mind to sell. I will have my assistant here tomorrow to manage the pickup and delivery of these four pieces. It was a pleasure doing business with you.” Mr. Miller extended his hand to me and I shook it.
“Thank you. I’ll let you know when I have more pieces finished.” I assured him with a small smile. At least the money he was paying would help me finish a few things here at the farm and update my metal shop.
“Good to hear.” He said with a polite smile. “I must go now; I have another meeting to attend. My assistant will contact you tomorrow with the details.”
“Let me show you out then.” I motioned for him to walk through the house again and lead him to the front door. “Thanks again,” I said as he walked out of the house and towards his car. He smiled again before waving and getting into his car.
Once he was gone, I went back inside and sunk down into my couch. I thought about what happened and wondered why I was so attached to this last project. I shook my head as I tried to sort out my reluctance. She didn’t resemble anyone I knew. I had no idea if she was even real. Maybe I’d seen her on tv or in a movie. Not that I watched them often, but it could’ve been a possibility, right? Irritated with my fixation, I got up off the couch and set off to catch up on my responsibilities. I spent an excessive amount of time yesterday working in the shop, and I had a few things I needed to catch up on today. The work was a welcome distraction. I put everything into my work and by the end of the day; I felt the result of my many hours of physical exertion weighing down my body.
As I trudged back towards the house, I could see my shop just off the path. I walked towards the shop instead of the house. I felt compelled to look at it again before I went to bed. As I looked over the sculpture, I sat down and took it all in. I had to have seen this woman before. There was so much detail there. The shape of her lips and how the bottom lip stuck out slightly, the gentle slope of her chin, the small button nose, and those sad eyes. I stared at those eyes the longest as if they would speak to me and whisper where I knew them from. I huffed at the ridiculous notion of my thoughts. Sculptures didn’t speak. I got up abruptly, turned off the lights, and hightailed it out of there.
The next morning came as usual. As I woke from my sleep, I could swear there was a wisp of a dream hanging on the edge of my consciousness. A woman with brown hair and olive skin reaching out to grasp at something, but I couldn’t remember what. As I closed my eyes again to see if it would come back to me, my phone started that incessant beeping again. I gritted my teeth as I reached out for the modern monster. There were three text messages from an unknown number. Then I remembered the assistant would arrange a time to pick up the pieces. The text messages were asking for directions and for a pickup time. I scheduled for them to arrive after lunch so I could get my morning routine done before they got there. I had no idea how long it would take, and I didn’t want the farm to suffer for it.
By the time I finished, it was nearing 10:30. I gave my pieces a good wipe down. They had a light film of dust and dirt from being outside. I felt it was important that they arrive clean, even if he saw them a little dirty. After it was clean, I got inside and cleaned myself up. As I waited for their arrival, I felt a little nervous. I wasn’t sure why. I’ve had people there in the past for pickups. The sculptures were heavy and needed a crew to move them usually. Why did today feel different? Maybe it was because I was losing so many at once. I felt antsy and restless. I kept pacing the floor, waiting for them to arrive. It wasn’t till the truck arrived that I settled. I stepped out front and directed them to the side of the house where they would have an easier time picking up the pieces and getting them into the truck. I walked them around the house and showed them where and what they were picking up. I was a little irritated this assistant wasn’t there yet.
Not long after they moved the truck did the second car arrive. When I looked over at the car my heart stopped, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The car was a convertible and inside was a woman with long dark brown hair flying around her face. Her skin was the same color as in the dream I had this morning. She slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the car, looking frantic and crazed. She collected her things that fell on the floor as she got out and practically fell over her own feet as she tried to make her way to me. She was apologizing about being late and explaining how she got lost when her boss Mr. Miller called while en route. When she finally looked up at me, I gasped. It was her! The sculpture, the dream, those sad eyes.
She stared at me as I stared at her. Whatever she was saying seemed to die on her lips as she took me in. “It’s really you…” she whispered. For the first time in a long time, I smiled an authentic smile. She was real. I wasn’t sure who she was or why I knew her face, but she was here in the flesh and she seemed as stunned as I was.
“Who am I?” I asked in that same low whisper.
“I don’t know your name.” She paused as she reached out to touch my face. “But I know the curves of your face, the shape of your eyes, your sad smile, and your shaggy blond hair.” She pulled her hand back just before she made contact, almost as if her hand had a mind of its own and she was just realizing what she was doing. “I’ve been dreaming about you for years. It was making me think I was insane. I’ve been hoping that one day I would finally meet you.”
I could feel my eyebrows rise on my face as I took in her explanation. I stared in shock, wondering why she would dream about me. “Why?”
Her face flushed bright red as her shoulders dropped and she glanced away. “I really don’t know. I hope I haven’t freaked you out. I didn’t mean to just blurt that out.” She wouldn’t look back at my face and I felt horrible. I didn’t mean to embarrass her. This was crazy but maybe, just maybe, we were supposed to meet. Why else would we know each other’s faces before meeting?
“Can I show you something?”
She finally looked up at me, but the flush was still there. She said nothing, but she nodded her head yes. I turned around and led her through my house and out the back as I headed to my shop. She lingered a little while inside the house, but I didn’t comment. I honestly didn’t mind, and I certainly did not want to embarrass her again. When we started walking to my shop, I couldn’t help but ask, “So what were the dreams like? What happened in them?”
I knew I caught her off guard because her eyes went round as plates and her face that had gone back to its normal color flushed bright red again. “Oh my God. I feel like a freak. I can’t talk about that right now.” She put her hands up over her face to cover it as she shook her head no. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at her. Her embarrassment had me intrigued. I smiled a small smile as I looked over at her and stopped in front of the shop door. She was staring at her feet and wouldn’t look up at me.
“You’re not a freak. I promise you. I’m about to prove it to you.” She finally looked up at me with furrowed brows and a frown. Instead of saying another word, I opened the shop door and flicked on the lights. She walked in slowly, taking it all in and looking around. When she finally saw my latest project, she gasped.
“It’s me… but, how?” She wasn’t looking at me. She was staring intently at the sculpture and touching it lightly.
“I… I really have no idea. I had this idea in my head of what I wanted to do and little by little it just came out. It bothered me it looked so much like an actual person, but I knew for sure that I had never met you before. How strange that I completed this day before yesterday and now, here you are.”
“Does this mean I’m not crazy?” She asked with a gigantic smile that took away those sad eyes. She was beautiful and I could feel a connection to her. Could she be the one I’d been looking for? I didn’t want to put too much hope into the idea, for fear of disappointment, but why else would we know each other without meeting? Was there a higher power here working behind the scenes, making sure we didn’t miss our chance to know each other?
“Well, if you’re crazy, then I guess we both are.” I smiled at her and could feel myself become a little lighter.
“I still can’t believe you did this. Your talent is unmatched. Now I understand my boss’s obsession with your work.” She was touching a piece of the bronze hair that was a little too sharp and suddenly she pulled away her finger. “Ouch!”
We both watched the cut, waiting for it to heal. When it didn’t immediately heal up, she looked at me with wide eyes. My heart started beating frantically. With a shaky hand, I reached up and touched the same strand that she had and cut my finger in the exact same way. Silently, we both watched the cut on my finger. It didn’t heal, and I felt something settle deep within me. We both looked at each other in awe. I reached out to her with my other hand and cradled her face. The emotion that surged to the surface was almost crippling. The wait was finally over. Finally, it was time to live my life.
“I’ve been looking for you for a very long time.”