By CJ Stobinski
Contributing Editor

We cross paths with many soul mates during the hours of our lives. Some are friends, others lovers. Some are strangers we meet in passing at boutique sandwich shops, exchanging words of hope, fear, despair, anxiety, and wisdom, trading stories across generations, helping each other breathe a little easier, a little lighter.

There are the soul mates we count the stars in the sky with, surrounded by cornfields in the country, self-diagnosing our personality disorders and sharing our theories about god and the universe. There are the soul mates we turn to for guidance hours after two pink lines appear on an Ora-Quick test. There are the soul mates you share dreams of living together with on the Rich Coast with toucans and scorpions, and your organic farm. There are the soul mates you chase Four Lokos with hot smoke chilled by Mountain Dew in the bottom of the Zong. There are the soul mates you overhear singing through the bathroom vent, their complete ignorance to the importance of their words two days post-diagnosis. “The sun’ll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow….

Then, there are the soul mates we live to spend a fleeting moment with; those who upend our hourglass, those who pulverize the calcified stone within.

The miniature shards of immature glass inside my soul had ceased churning. The grains of sand within caked, hardened, solidified in formation at the bottom of my hourglass.

He appeared in the periphery of my vision, the large structured S adorning the tank top showcasing his biceps, barely contained by the olive skin stretching over the myofascia, catching my eye from afar. I circled nearer to him, trading pleasantries one-by-one until I stood before his statuesque presence. Time allowed a brief hello, and trading of Polish ancestries transpired before the whistle sounded. The circle turned to the next introduction.

I caught up to Polish man a few hours later, finding myself immersed in his presence quite immediately. Time stood still as single file, grain after grain, shard after shard, descended into his half. On the edge of my seat, the tip of my tongue, I waited for a chunk of glass, a hard pebble to descend through the ethereal flow, to clog the transfer.

Waiting for him to run, to scatter, sharing anxieties, insecurities, insanities. The purple crystal clasped to the chain encircling his neck vibrated, entrancing, inviting sweetly nearer, as a Magnolia draws a hummingbird or butterfly to its sustenance, its nectar. Hours expired before exhaustion eclipsed our energies, and drove us both to the surrender of slumber.

He laid feet away as he danced in my dreams; dreams I just shared I almost never remember. I tell him when I wake up, I’ll regale him with the story of us in my dreams. Alas, the extent of recall upon emergence into consciousness is vague.

Day and night, his gaze imprisons mine, as I wrangle the urge to unfurl his proboscis from its gray and neon cage, to lap up the nectar trapped within. Transgressing the rules would ban us from returning. Daring to share a late-night kiss over falling water, I feed the breath of life into his soul. The entirety of the hourglass has transferred to the other side, his side. We fight exhaustion later still tonight, basking in one another’s glow, each other’s vibration

We depart each other’s presence the next day, 40 hours having felt as if 40 lifetimes passed, returning to our lives separated by 647 miles. Appearing on my phone not long after are three words I’ve waited the better part of a decade to hear. “I SEE YOU.”

The hourglass is upturned again, and the sand, the immature glass flows effortlessly back to my side. It is light, free-flowing like never before. It is quicksand, and I surrender to its seduction.

In half a heartbeat, the glass could shred my insides with its dangerous beauty, but it could also polish away the scar tissue.

These are the soul mates we wait a lifetime for, to be in their presence fleetingly. Our paths may weave in and out of one another’s life, or we may never lock eyes, or lips again.

But you have gratitude for the gifts they have brought you, for softening you, for what they have shown you by upending your hourglass:

You are awake in an insane world.
They are light.
They are sustenance.
They are nectar.

Learn more about Contributing Editor CJ Stobinski and the rest of Our Team.