Anonymous Soul Mate

© 2003 Zoe Blade

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

It was a slow day. Few people frequented libraries any more, especially when most people were at work. I picked a handful of books from where they had been carelessly left on the table and put them each back where they belonged, except one. It wasn't a library book. I glanced through it and it appeared to be someone's diary. I put it in the lost and found section and wandered aimlessly for a while.

With so little to do, it wasn't long before I went back to the lost and found section and had a quick look at the diary. Maybe it would have the name of its author, who I could look up in the library database. I had no such luck though. The closest it got to any form of identification was a photo labelled "My friends and I". Four different people were in it, and there was no indication as to which one was the author.

When no one came back to ask for it by the end of the day, I decided to take it home, just to make sure I couldn't work out who it belonged to.

My apartment felt as empty as ever. It had enough books, albums and videos, just no people other than myself. I decided to just read enough of the diary to get a good idea of whose it was. I couldn't work out much about who wrote it from the content. There was no indication of the author's sex, race or any other physical attributes. There was, however, plenty about their mind. It turned out we were pretty similar in our tastes and ideals. We donated to two of the same charities and shared a fondness for several authors. We were both lonely and, rather unfortunately, both antisocial. The only useful information I could glean was that the individual worked in a book shop. It turned out we both cringed when people asked for certain intellectually devoid bestsellers when there were far more stimulating tomes in abundance.

After a few more days of loneliness and boredom, I formed a plan. There were five book stores in the local area. All were within walking distance of the library so for the week that followed, I visited one book shop each day in my lunch hour. Monday to Thursday yielded no luck. Friday I would find either someone I really liked, or disappointment. All I could think of was that moment when I would enter the shop.

It was a big chain store. I walked in, one of my fingers keeping the book open on the page with the photo. I tried to look inconspicuous in a corner of the room while memorising the photo as best I could. Then I saw a member of staff behind the counter. I checked the picture and then the person again. They were definitely the same. I waited for the individual to finish serving someone, then nervously walked up to the counter.

"Hi," I said. "Um, this is going to sound really weird, but do you happen to write a diary?"

My question was answered with a very puzzled facial expression.

"Sorry, um," I tried to explain myself. "Is this you?" I opened the book to reveal the photo.

"Err, yeah, that's me," confirmed the assistant, "but that's not my diary."

"Oh. Well, the author wrote about working in a book shop you see, so I thought it might have been you. I was just trying to return this to whoever wrote it, that's all."

"That's sweet," said the clerk, smiling. "It's probably Sam's diary. I don't think Sam's back yet, so I can pass it on if you'd like, unless you want to wait ten minutes."

"Thanks," I said. "I'd rather wait if that's OK. You know, hand it back in person. Do you mind?"

"No, that's fine. Browse all you want." Another smile accompanied the approval.

Those ten minutes felt more like ten hours. I tried to flip through a few books but I couldn't really concentrate. I watched four or five people enter the shop until the assistant greeted one of them and after a few sentences pointed in my direction. The individual who had just walked in nodded and, looking slightly confused, started to walk in my direction.

"Hi. Um, I think my friend just said you had something for me?"

The question came from a beautiful face, devoid of any artificial fine tuning, atop a perfect body, casually dressed. The owner of the body clearly underestimated its beauty. Cute but with a total lack of narcissism. Effortlessly pretty.

"Err, yeah. Is this yours?" I held up the book.

"Oh wow, I've been looking everywhere for that!" Eyes lit up to turn what was once cute into something I could barely resist pouncing on. "Thank you! I don't know what to say. Where was it?"

"In the library, where I work. I knew if it was mine I'd have gone spare trying to find it."

"Yeah, thanks! How can I pay you back for this?"

"You could ask me out." I figured it was worth a shot.

Lying down side by side, warmed by the sunlight save for a cool breeze, we just watched the clouds as people walked past, having picnics or playing games in the park.

"Now what could I possibly say to you that you don't know already?" asked Sam.

"If you like me as much as I like you," I replied.

I worked out the answer as Sam rolled over and, looking down at me from on top of me, had the biggest, most beautiful smile I'd ever seen. We passionately kissed, and I knew we were in love.