Lucy and Oliver were four years old when they met.
The two had been playing in the sandbox with a few other toddlers, when it happened. They both leaned over to get a toy and bumped into each other.
Their parents immediately came rushing over at the sound of their cries. The two were both clutching at the right side of their foreheads, tears in their eyes. Their parents tried to get them to calm down until Lucy's mom noticed something.
"Oh my stars," she breathed, running a hand over Lucy's forehead where she and Oliver had collided. The muted red soulmark on Lucy's forehead had been replaced with a glowing and vibrant red mark with the word "Oli" written amidst the swirls of the soulmark. Looking over at the boy, Lucy's mother saw the same red mark on his forehead, instead with the name "Lucy."
Oliver's mother quickly noticed the same thing, leaving her speechless. Oliver poked her on the cheek and giggled, making Lucy giggle as well. Lucy clambered over to Oliver and took his face in her hands. She poked at his forehead. He squirmed and pouted, the area tender like a bruise. Lucy just giggled and rested a finger over where her name lay.
"Lucy!" she shrieked, grinning from seeing her name.
Lucy and Oliver were six years old when they started Kindergarten.
"Luey! Luey!" Oliver cried, running over to his friend. She grinned and patted his back. They parted, and Lucy poked Oliver's soulmark, giggling when his face scrunched up.
"Come on, you two," Lucy's mother said, gently guiding them away from the doors. The two giggled, hands joined, and ran in.
The year was looking good.
Lucy and Oliver were eight years old when they learned about soulmates.
"Momma, why do Oli and I have the same mark?" Lucy asked inquisitively, Oliver standing behind her. Mrs. Ren stopped in her tracks.
"Well," she started, trying to think of how to explain it. "How about this, go sit down and start your snack, and I'll tell you while you eat." The two kids exchanged grins and ran off to the kitchen table where their afternoon snacks sat. Taking a deep breath and composing herself, Mrs. Ren followed.
“Have your teachers mentioned soulmates at all yet?” she asked, sitting down next to the two. They shook their heads.
“The mean boy in our class said his mommy and dad are so- soal-“ Oli struggled to say.
“Soulmates,” Lucy corrected kindly.
Mrs. Ren chuckled. “Do you know what he meant by that?” The kids shook their heads again, Oli nearly choking on his juice in the process. After he had recovered, Mrs. Ren continued. “Well, everyone in the world has a special person-“
“Like a boyfriend or girlfriend?” Oli interrupted.
“Just listen, you dingus,” Lucy scolded, elbowing him in the side. She merely rolled her eyes when he complained.
“Sort of like a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s more than that. It’s someone that loves you no matter what. It’s someone who will always be there to support you. That person can be your best friend, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your wife or husband, or someone you never even meet.”
“Are you and dad soulmates?” Lucy asked.
Mrs. Ren looked down. “No, we’re not. That doesn’t make me love him any less.” She smiled and looked back at the two wide-eyed children. “Anyway, back to our conversation. Everyone’s born with a mark somewhere on their body. It grows throughout the years until you and your soulmate touch. Your soulmate’s mark will match your own and have your name on it.”
Mrs. Ren saw the moment when it clicked in Lucy’s mind. She grabbed Oli’s face and forced him to face her, looking closely at the soulmark on his forehead.
“Momma! Momma, Oli and I are soulmates!” she cried, turning back to her mom with a hug smile on her face. A dopey grin appeared on Oli’s face as he jumped out of his seat and hugged Lucy fiercely. The two went down in an adorable giggling pile.
Lucy and Oli were ten years old when they learned what bullying was.
“What are you, fuckin gay?” Lucy heard as she walked down the hallway. Concerned, her pace increased. As she rounded the corner, she saw a big sixth grader-who had probably been held back a few years- towering over a kid curled into a ball against the lockers.
“Hey! Leave them alone!” she yelled, grabbing his arm and trying to pull him away from the kid.
“What, you here to defend the gay kid?” the bully sneered, wrenching hs arm from her grasp. “Whatever, man. You two can go play dress up and have a fucking tea party or whatever.” He walked off.
Lucy glared in his direction for a moment before kneeling down to help the kid.
“Hey, are you… Oli?” a familiar mop of blonde hair parted to reveal Oli’s bruised face. Lucy gently brushed a hand over his cheek, wincing when Oli did. “What did he do to you?”
Oli shrugged. “He thought I was weird for wearing a skirt.”
Lucy looked puzzled. “Why? It’s just a skirt.”
“He said it made me look gay.”
“Well, he’s stupid. Besides, being gay isn’t a bad thing, and I think you look adorable in that skirt,” Lucy said with a smile. She didn’t understand why someone would make a big deal about him wearing a skirt. It was just an article of clothing, after all.
Lucy nodded, and Oli broke into a grin, hugging his friend.
Lucy and Oli were twelve years old when disaster struck.
Lucy held her soulmate as he shook in her arms, needing to release his emotions but being unable to cry.
“Shh, it’s ok. You’re ok,” she said softly, gently rocking him back and forth. His silent and tearless sobs tore into her heart, causing her own eyes to fill with tears. She tried to hum something to overpower the sound of yelling and fighting coming from Oli’s living room.
Lucy had known that his parents didn’t get along, but she hadn’t known that it was this bad. They had started off the evening by refusing to talk to each other, and it seemed they were ending the evening by trying to yell louder than the other.
“Make it stop,” Oli choked out, tearing Lucy’s attention back to him. She hugged him tighter.
“I wish I could.”
The fighting continued until almost midnight, when they heard a crash louder than any of the others before it.
“Get out! Get the fuck out of my house!” Mrs. Kalus screamed.
“Fine! Don’t expect me to come back, you bitch!”
There was stomping, a door slamming, a car starting, and then nothing.
“Lucy?” Oli questioned softly, fear in his eyes.
“It’s going to be ok. It’ll be ok,” she said, trying to keep him calm as she hugged him to her chest once again. He didn’t cry anymore, probably left with no more tears to shed, but just leaned into her, knowing that everything had changed.
Lucy and Oli were fourteen when disaster struck again.
“She’s gone.” Those words echoed in Lucy’s mind.
Lucy was frozen. The hospital remained as busy and loud as ever, but she wasn’t there. Her mind had fled into itself. She didn’t hear her dad’s weeping. She didn’t hear the doctor trying to explain why she only had one parent now.
Time passed. Lucy didn’t notice. A fog settled over her, too dense to let anyone or anything through. Almost anyone, that is.
“Lu, hey, Lucy,” a very familiar soft voice said. Lucy came back to herself enough to feel a hand on her shoulder. She slowly looked up at the boy kneeling in front of her. He sighed and pressed their foreheads together gently, holding her hand.
“You’re not alone.”
Lucy and Oli were sixteen when they began to realize what soulmates truly were.
The two were lying on Lucy’s bedroom floor, forgotten homework strewn around them. Oli had his arms extended up with seemingly no purpose, and Lucy lying on her stomach trying to get her hairbrush through the many knots in her hair.
“Ugh, can you get these?” she finally said, knowing Oli was much better with things like hair than she was.
He groaned before pushing himself to sit up. “Fiiiine,” he joked.
She chuckled. “Thank you.” She crossed her arms and rested her head on them.
Oli worked through the tangles as gently as he could, although, he admittedly tugged a few times to tease his friend.
Once Lucy realized what he was doing she swatted him. “Futue te ipsi.”
Oli paused for a moment, trying to remember what that one meant. Figuring out, he grinned and said, “Jeez, Lu, take me to dinner first.”
Lucy groaned. “I hate you,” she said, voice muffled by the carpet.
“Aw, love you too”
Lucy chuckled. She would never admit it, but she adored times like these with Oli. She had always known that he was her soulmate, but it was domestic bliss moments like these that truly revealed the meaning of the word “soulmate.”
If she hadn’t met Oli, she would have never understood the idea of soulmates. She had had a time of questioning if she and Oli were truly supposed to be soulmates, because she didn’t like him as anything other than a friend. He was more like a brother, but even that was never the right word either.
Since then, she realized that being aromantic was normal, and even though her and Oli were best friends instead of a couple, they were a strong soulmate duo.
She was literally pulled out of her thoughts as Oli tugged a bit too hard on her hair.
“Ow,” she growled.
Oli chuckled, unapologetic. “I had to bring you back down to earth somehow.” He flopped onto his stomach next to her before rolling onto his side, propping himself up on his arm. “So.”
“Whatcha thinkin’ about?”
Lucy turned her head to look at him. “Are you annoyed at all that your soulmate isn’t someone for you to be romantically together with?”
Oli’s eyebrows shot up. “Woah, where’d this come from?”
Lucy rolled onto her back and shrugged. “’Been thinking of it for a while, I guess.”
“Lu, I wouldn’t want anyone to be my soulmate if they weren’t you.”
She looked over at him. “You sure you’re not just saying that so my dad doesn’t kill you?”
Oli grinned. “I promise, although I’d really like to stay on his good side. He’s a beast, dude.”
Lucy laughed. “Yeah, yeah he is.”
The two went silent. Oli flipped over onto his back, staring at Lucy’s ceiling.
After a while, Lucy said, “Thank you.” Oli wordlessly grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently.
Through and through, they had each other, and that’s all that mattered.