I decided to downtown (as a verb) again this AM, but I dropped by Whole Foods first (on my way to Railroad Park) to spend Charlie’s break with him.
Inside the store, I purchased a Dr. Better-flavored Kombucha drink and then made an immediate beeline for the bathroom (I pee approximately 27 times daily — that’s, on average, 1+ times/hour). On my way there, I passed by lots of families and couples and singles eating and drinking in the “cafe” portion of the store, and just before entering the bathroom, I neared a table where two gentlemen were sitting together; my eyes were drawn to the one on the left, who was wearing a long-sleeved, lavender-colored shirt (in the summer! sign numero uno that we were soulmates), long, bland pants, and dorky laced shoes, and had shoulder-length, blondish-gray, kempt hair. He looked up and smiled over at me. He had his head perched cutely on top of one of his hands — I think it was his left hand. I pegged him as being somewhere between 65-70.
I smiled back at him and then entered the restroom, thinking (not just because of his long-sleeved shirt): “I feel so connected to that man!”
It’s hard to convey exactly what I mean by that and just how profound our meeting was, but I’ll try to explain myself by saying that he felt familiar, and looking at him was like looking at myself… at another stage of life, and in another life. And if it wasn’t me looking at myself, then it was me looking at someone who I’d known and loved deeply sometime long before now.
I felt sure that we could grab coffees together and never run out of things to talk about, and that his company would be calming and enlightening… almost as soothing and restorative as my treasured alone time.
Nevertheless, I simply parted ways with my soulmate, used the restroom, and then reported outdoors, where Charlie would be joining me on the patio at 10:30. I played with my phone for a few minutes and then zipped it up inside of my purse, deciding to enjoy the scenery around me instead of wasting unnecessary time in cyberspace; there were blue skies, white clouds, cars racing by, and people walking, or power-walking, about. I lost myself in recollections of my trip to Denver, marveling that, in a single day, I took a plane, a train, AND a bus… and then, later on during that magical adventure week, I had tried Uber out for the very first time! It was the neatest experience…
I was in a daze, thinking about all of this, when the two gentlemen passed by my table. My soulmate turned his head to face me, bowed slightly, and said: “Hello!” That voice — there was something distinctly special about that voice.
“Hi!” I smiled back at him, surprised.
“How are you?” he asked. His friend continued moving forward, and he seemed hesitant to follow.
“Good, thank you — you?” Good?! I thought to myself. How boring! You may never get a chance to speak with this man again!
“Good,” he replied, still smiling.
And then he stepped back in line with his similarly-aged friend and they continued walking slowly towards their cars, which were stationed on the other side of the parking lot. I watched with amusement as, for the next 15 minutes, my soulmate’s friend repeatedly tried to leave in his small, gray car while my soulmate stood near the open driver’s seat door, talking, gesturing, and looking very awkward and socially inept. It made me smile.
Charlie finally strolled outside, through noisy automatic doors, and plopped down beside me.
“HEY! You’re just in time,” I exclaimed, quickly waving my hands toward the guy on the other end of the parking lot.
“Look — you see that man in the lavender shirt, getting into the truck? I struck SUCH a connection with him…”
I relayed my story, and then quickly assured Charlie that he had no reason to worry; I wouldn’t be leaving him for a seventy-year-old man.
“I just wish that I could get his number and grab coffee with him,” I shared with Charlie, whining a little bit. “I really want to be friends with that man,” I sighed sadly. “I’m just not interested in befriending younger people… you know? They have nothing to offer me.”
“What would a young person like you have to offer him?” Charlie asked, reasonably.
I realized that my last comment had probably sounded snooty. “Nothing but a listening ear,” I admitted, “but I think he’d enjoy my companionship, and I would loooooooove to hear all about his life; what he did, who he was, who he is, what he’s learned and discovered and believes… ” I sighed again.
Charlie stepped away momentarily (to grab a napkin for my sticky “mellow yellow” plum AND to sweetly assist an elderly woman with obtaining a motorized shopping scooter) and, while he was gone, my soulmate drove away.
I had actually momentarily lost track of him (#badstalker) while absentmindedly watching another car’s entry into the parking lot, but when I turned my head to the right, Lavender was smiling at me from his rolled down car window and waving gently. I smiled and waved back at him. “Goodbye, friend,” I thought to myself sadly.
Oh, don’t worry; I can hear you all. “Jace —- this is just another Abraham-“be my friend”-stalker situation… and this time, you might even be the stalker! Look; that’s just a creepy old dude with bad intentions… STAY AWAY FROM HIM!” Yes, yes, yes... that WOULD be the natural conclusion, wouldn’t it? But I’m telling you guys; intuitively, I could feel that this OLD OLD OLD guy (to be fair, 70 really isn’t THAT old — 94 is) WASN’T flirting with me. It was a mutual connection. I think he recognized the same thing in me that I saw instantly in him, and I don’t know if either of us could really say what it was.
But the same, inescapable word that KEEPS coming to mind is soulmate. I think that we were (and still are — I seriously doubt he’s passed since our meeting earlier this AM) soulmates. You probably noticed that I slipped that word in all throughout the story, and that’s because I feel like it’s accurate.
What IS a “soulmate”?
Soulmate (the basic definition): a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.
Soulmate (what I’m talking about — this definition brought to you by urban dictionary and some weird, new age-y website):
A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet — a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. A soulmate is someone who is aligned with your soul and is sent to challenge, awaken and stir different parts of you in order for your soul to transcend to a higher level of consciousness and awareness.
Many people hear “soulmate” and think that you can only have (1) of them and that it exclusively refers to a romantic partner; wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend. I’m sure that many of us DO end up dating or marrying our soulmates — I know, for instance, that Christopher was one of my soulmates in this life — but Melissa was, too, as a best friend, and Bruster – my deceased German Shepherd – was ABSOLUTELY one of my soulmates… and I think that random strangers, with whom we have no apparent connection or history, can also register as soulmates.
And I’m sharing this story because I’d like to hear from you; have you ever stumbled into someone you instantly felt you knew? I’m not asking “has someone looked familiar to you,” or “were they attractive and that caused you to do a double take”, OR “was their personality so interesting or their voice so loud that you couldn’t possibly miss them in a crowd”… I’m asking if you’ve ever met a non-romantic soulmate; somebody you felt an oddly inexplicable affinity towards?
If you’ve had an encounter, I would genuinely LOVE to hear about it. Please share your unique experience by posting a comment below! (Or, if you’re more comfortable, you can shoot me a private message at firstname.lastname@example.org.)