A Soulmate for a Station – Shanna L
Stepping off the train Lily scanned the platform looking for a face she’d never seen before, but knew she would instantly recognize. She stretched on her tip-toes and searched the people hustling through the station, trying to get where they needed to go. Careening her neck from side to side she glanced at the faces of the travelers, looking for one to catch her eye. Looking for her soulmate to appear in the station.
She was surprised when a body collided with her from behind, causing her to pitch forward and loose her balance. Lily flung out her arms to catch herself as she fell but instead felt someone’s hands on her hips, righting and steadying her. She looked at the hands on her waist that were so obviously male and caught her breath. She imagined that this man, this man who had saved her (never mind that he was the reason she almost fell), was the man she was looking for. She could see it now. She would turn her head and look up at him shyly through her eyelashes and there he would be. They would look at one another and the angels would sing and the cymbals would crash and they would just know that Lily and this man were meant to be.
“I’m so sorry,” the man said. “Are you alright?”
Lily took a breath to try to slow her racing heart. This was it, she thought. I’m going to meet the man of my dreams. She turned her head in anticipation to look into his eyes, to see the shooting stars and the fireworks and —
No, it wasn’t him. “I’m fine,” she said. The man smiled at her, picked up his bag that had fallen at his feet, and continued on his way.
Lily looked around the platform again, wondering if maybe she had missed someone, missed someone looking for her like she was looking for him. She sighed dejectedly and walked towards the station. Would she ever find him? She had been searching for so long, ever since the fortune teller told her she would meet her soulmate at the train station.
Lily normally didn’t believe in fortune tellers, what with their shawls everywhere and their bangles clanking when they moved and their sweet, stinky incense clogging up the air. She didn’t like the tarot cards, arranged in pyramids, showcasing their grotesque medieval caricatures. She didn’t like the crystal balls sitting in the middle of the table showing images to the tellers that Lily imagined were really just their upside down reflections distorted by the curvature of the ball. And even though she felt fortune tellers were liars (because really, can anyone predict the future?) Lily couldn’t help believing, couldn’t help but want to believe that this fortune teller didn’t lie when she told Lily she would meet her soulmate at the train station and would instantly recognize him.
Lily didn’t know if she believed the fortune teller because she had already guessed Lily’s name and knew that Lily was the youngest in a large family and that she had a dead-end job and that she drank too much coffee and didn’t get enough sleep or if because she just wanted to believe her soulmate was out there, waiting for Lily, waiting for a train. Whatever it was, it was this belief that made Lily travel up and down and across the country. She traveled the west coast, from San Diego to Vancouver. She traveled the east coast, from Orlando to Albany. She traveled throughout the United States, through the mile high metropolis of Denver, through the corn fields in Oklahoma, through the music of Memphis, always stopping at the main rail stations. When she ran out of U.S. cities, she made her way over to Europe and rode the rail there. She had been searching for over a year now and as she stood in King’s Cross station she realized that she was running out of places to look.
The shrill train whistle was loud as it sounded throughout the station. Lily turned and watched the train as it departed, slowly gaining momentum on the tracks. She looked around. The platform was practically empty and Lily realized how alone she was and how alone she felt.
Do I want to keep looking, Lily wondered. She was tired of the rocking motions of the train and sleeping in chairs and eating in the dining car (could she really eat another club sandwich?). Sure, she was seeing a lot of beautiful countryside, but that was it. She didn’t have time to sightsee in any of the cities she visited and, as she had no one to travel with, she was frequently by herself. Was it worth it, she questioned. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the man who had bumped into her was now enthusiastically reuniting with a woman. Probably his wife or girlfriend, Lily thought.
She watched the couple kiss, nodded to herself, and made her way to the departure board to look for her next destination.