“What It Means To Soulmate” is the working title of my first novel. I’ve been working on this book for a year, and I’m still working on it, but every day I’m getting closer to finishing it. I decided I am finally ready to share my characters with the rest of the world, so here’s a short excerpt.
See, sometimes pain is so concurrent you lose track of it. You gain a new baseline and pain is your default; like an old wound on your lips that can never heal because every time you talk or smile or cry it opens right back up. You never quite forget that you have it, but you ignore it; you live with it. Life seems fine and you continue to live without questioning it, until you take a sip of lemonade and your lips feel like they catch on fire.
Lemonade. That’s what she was. Sharp, sweet, cleansing. The moment she entered my life she disinfected my entire being. It’s weird when you don’t care about anything and somebody like her comes along. Every fiber in your body is conditioned to ignore her and the countless possibilities that come with her, but your heart tugs at you – tearing at your routine and your depression and your disbelief and forcing you – making you react to her. Act upon her. Suddenly you need her. Suddenly you need to marry her, to love her, to make love to her. Ten seconds in and nothing else in my life mattered. I knew every detail on her body before I even knew her name; the freckles on her chest, which formed little triangles; the curve of her lips, so perfect you’d think anything that came from them was angelical; her eyes, gold and green, insightful and understanding; her curving frame; the straps of her ivory bra showing under her black shirt; the pattern of fingerprints on her apron; the smell of coffee from her work mixed with the scent of sweet candy from her perfume; and her voice…
A tornado seemed to tear by me as she spoke, twirling through the shop as it exposed little gaps in reality, scratching away images and molecules and replacing them with letters and words. My entire being jumped into existence, my heart pounded out of my chest and I could see it floating in the coffee shop, peacefully for a moment, before the shop shredded in front of my eyes, tiles flying up from the floor and bursting into flame mid-air. The ceiling fell to pieces around me and the walls collapsed. People exploded into ash and wisped away with the strong winds and the earth trembled. I flinched and struggled under the pressure, and behind my forearm, which I had propped up to block the wind, I spied massive buildings spire up from the ground. Rustic, Italian, brick-built structures reminiscent of old Florence, they Lego-blocked their way into existence and the clear, unpolluted skies bore down on me. I was nearly knocked down by my change of scenery when the winds relaxed suddenly and a serene silence became me. My ears still rang with the horrible transition of space and time and I breathed apprehensively. Slowly, I lowered my arm to look at what just happened… What just happened? I twirled around myself and saw that I existed instantaneously in renaissance-era Italy, on a bridge overlooking a large river than ran under little boats and flocking birds. Sunset blasted my vision and I turned away to shield my eyes and was left to study the ornate bridge, which looked like a tunnel and housed homes and little shops.
The Ponte Vecchio. I recognized it from the Google images I had seen of it. Vines grew over at least forty percent of the stone here, and as I looked up I noticed groups of people bustling past me – some stern and determined, but many more joyful or laughing or being rowdy. I felt the silky shirt I wore, and when I peeked down I noticed I fit in perfectly with the other tights-wearing, floofy shirted dorks here. My concern with reality faded as I wondered where the crowds were heading, but just as I was about to turn my head to follow them, I caught sight of her. Her perfectly flawless skin was entirely visible under her hair, which sat neatly strung back; and her plump, pink lips were drawn in a frustrated purse. Her gold and green eyes seemed to inhale the sun and shine it back out twice as bright and magnificent. When she saw me, our gaze locked. My heart bounded high into my chest with excitement, and I studied her calm, sharp features carefully for signs of a similar reaction. But she maintained her cool discouragingly, and as she approached me she looked away and finally she passed me. I watched her hips sway from side to side, causing her long black dress to dance at her heels. She wore a pair of dangerously high heels and they clicked playfully over the stone street. I was almost too focused on her to notice the horde of teenage Italians following her with catcalls and whistles and jokes. Everything in the language sounded romantic, though.
I took no time to wonder what was going on and instead I followed the crowds over the bridge, hurrying to try and catch up with her. I pushed past people and ran through streets, trailing a dress which I thought was hers and by the time the sun had fallen entirely, I had arrived at the popular destination: a large square filled with lights that displayed fires and various performers dancing and prancing about. Everyone pulled a mask out from his or her person and I recognized I had walked right into the center of a masquerade ball, a highly anticlimactic realization given that I had also just walked right into the verification of my insanity. Something about her, though, kept me distracted. I was very aware of the limits of reality and the obvious flaws that it left this occurrence with, but… feeling the soft, summer, southern-European breeze dance over my skin and smelling the freshly grilled fish dishes and hearing the clusterfuck of voices and music and ruckus made everything so believable. So realistic. I could almost imagine that I, myself, was a young Italian teenager at the heels of a lover, seeking adventure and passion and freedom in a suppressing catholic society. I waddled through the crowds a bit brain dead and numb, subconsciously still seeking her while at the same time entirely lost and mesmerized in the actions of a pair of athletic acrobats performing feats I didn’t imagine were possible without magic. As I passed them I came across two pairs of twins juggling several objects caught on fire and further along still stood a group of promiscuous prostitutes. But nowhere could I spy a pair of golden-green eyes under a mask, and I worried that I had tracked her incorrectly. Feeling defeated, I found a seat on a little white bench wrought out of iron and wood and absorbed my surroundings. The voice in my head questioning my experience slowly whittled away, leaving only a sense of belonging and home and a feeling of familiarity. Where before there were faces of strangers I now saw distant neighbors and acquaintances. Where I heard the quick rattle of foreign language now became understandable sentence structures and relatable voices. I looked up at the clear, night sky and could even tell what the names of the constellations were. What I didn’t know was where that girl was, but even that would soon alter for me.
“What It Means To Soulmate” is a romantic adventure following Alex, a writer who lives in his parents’ basement struggling with depression and addictive tendencies in an attempt to finish his first novel. But when Alex stops in a coffee shop and meets Olivia, he travels back in time and experiences love, adventure and hardships more intense than anything he has ever written. Now it’s up to Alex to bring his experiences back to the real world and win the heart of the one girl he has been after this entire time.
Copyright © 2014 By G. Z. Kieft
All rights reserved.