Prompt: A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate (literally bumps into him). In film, this is called the “meet cute,” when the hero bumps into the heroine in the hallway, knocking her books to the floor, and forcing them into conversation. (The Write Practice)
You know the expression, “They’ve got a twinkle in their eye”? It’s usually used to describe a happy or friendly look in someone’s eyes; like someone who would be your friend the moment you said hello. But where I come from, it’s a little more literal than an expression. It’s not exactly a huge jump from the expression, but it’s definitely different.
One only really notices it when you first meet someone who has it. You shake their hand, make eye contact, and see the little glint in their eye. Its style, size, and shape depend on the person, but it’s generally the same thing. The glint is like a thin, silver diamond on the iris. People say that the glint is supposed to appear when you meet your soulmate.
I say it looks like a diamond because that’s sort of what it looks like in my mother’s, father’s, and brother’s eyes. Ian even swears he saw his now-wife’s glints appear when they first met. He described what it was like one day when he came home from work a few years ago.
“It’s like a light was shone in her eyes,” he explained. “If you blinked you’d’ve missed it.”
“Did you miss it?” I remember asking.
“I’m glad I didn’t. It was actually really cool. And when it fades, a little… a little triangle-thing appears in its place. See?” He pushed his dark bangs out of his eyes. He needed a haircut, in my opinion.
And sure enough, there they were, in each eye. A “little triangle-thing” that connected his grey-green iris to his pupil. I’ve seen it before, after he met Riley, but I haven’t really paid much attention to it.
“Huh…” I said, more to myself than to Ian.
When I had that conversation with Ian, I was a few weeks shy of my 20th birthday. Now, I’m almost 25. Now, I know it takes time to find your soulmate, but for some reason, a lot of my friends have seemed to meet theirs. We’re all just about the same age (save for Bryan, he’s 32, but he found his, too). I have yet to find mine.
Should I be worried? I technically have my whole life to find them, but still…
“At the moment, I work upstairs in adult fiction,” I was telling my new trainee Fahra, who I just started working with at the library downtown, “shelving and checking out books. What you’ll soon be doing is the same thing, but for the children’s and young adult books down here.” We were headed towards the stairs to my department, and I was explaining to her what her job would be like.
Fahra was definitely on the younger side, and was very pretty. She had on a bright blue pair of jeans, black dress shoes with a small heel, a teal, knitted sweater, and a jade green and dark grey headscarf. Black plastic glasses frames almost hid her deep brown eyes. From the glare of the lights overhead reflecting in her glasses lenses, I couldn’t tell for sure if she had a glint or not.
“Alright,” she responded, “sounds like fun. What about that bin right there for the donated books? What do we do about those?”
“Oh, we deal with those every Saturday, if there’s any in there by the end of the week. We check them into the system, cover them with the plasticky film covers, and shelf them. Then, they’re ours.”
“Will I have to deal with that soon?”
“Not yet, no,” I assured her, waving my hand a little. “Putting them into the system is actually kind of tedious and can be frustrating. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Maybe later on, when you’ve been working here for a little longer.”
She nodded and smiled as we reached our floor. I unlocked the door and propped it open with the wooden doorstop on the ground. We were open for business.
Tuesdays weren’t as busy as other days, even in the afternoon. Even so, Fahra seemed to be a natural at checking things out. It flowed with her. There was a small line in front of us, but she looked like she had it under control. I told her I was going to reshelve the books from one of the returned book carts. It was sort of backed up, as I’ve been showing Fahra around and training her. She just nodded, and I started to move the old squeaky cart.
All of the books were mixed up on the shelves, as there was only one book return station at this library. There were thin kid picture books next to giant novels like War and Peace and Les Misérables. Normally, they’re not organized, so I just roll over to the section closest, group the books together in my arms, and head to their proper shelves.
The bookshelves up in the adult fiction section are pretty big. They stretch way past my head, leaving only about two and a half feet between the top of the shelf and the fixated lights on the ceiling. They’re allegedly made from solid mahogany, built a long time ago from when the library was built. Not only are they tall, but they’re pretty wide; enough room to store tons of books on one level of the shelf, not enough room to see if there’s someone coming in the opposite direction.
Which is the exact reason why this happens next:
On my second circling trip around the adult fiction shelves, while reading some spines of the remaining books in my arms, I rammed into someone who was rounding the same corner I was. We collided, and the books and both our bodies ended up sprawled on the fading carpet. I never even saw what they looked like until after everything was cleaned up.
“Oh, God, I’m sorry!” the other person exclaimed, and they raced to pick up as many books as they could.
“No, don’t apologize,” I started stammering, also trying to gather all of the books around me. It didn’t seem like a lot of books in my arms, but when they were all spread out it looked like a small book piñata exploded.
A dark hand reached for the same book that I did. When I looked up, so did they. Taken aback, I could only stare for what felt like a year.
The other person, I noticed, had a shaved bald head. They were dressed very casually, ripped jeans and a Stanley Cup championship t-shirt from 1997. When I gazed at their face, their eyes looked a little hazel-y. It was here I realized that I was staring, so I blinked and apologized yet again.
Now the eyes were an icy blue. And a small, silver diamond had appeared, connecting the iris to the large pupil.
Had it always been there?