Soul mates or something

A couple of months back, I asked my grandma how she felt when she met my grandpa.

Both had shared the “how we met” story a dozen times over the years. They both tell it differently, but the gist is the same:

He saw her walking on the sidewalk as he passed on the bus. He pointed to her and told his buddy, “I’m going to marry that girl.” His friend told him he was crazy. By the end of the night, he worked up the nerve to help her with her coat as she left. A nervous American soldier and a hard-working British girl walking to the bus stop together. They were married over 50 years before he passed away.

After she recounted the story I smiled, relishing the few extra details that show up with each re-telling, and asked, “But how did you feel? Did you love him right away? Did you have that gut feeling that he was ‘the one’?” I stopped before referencing the thunderbolt.  If soul mates are real, then they were each other’s and I wanted to know: How do you know?

She stared into space as if she had never thought about it before. “He was nice,” she finally said. Then she added, “I haven’t really thought about it before.”*

A romantic she is not.

I went home that day feeling a bit forlorn. How could she have so little to say about an encounter that would ultimately be so profound and life-changing? The woman who can guess the circumference of a pregnant woman’s belly from 30 feet away. (She kills it at baby showers!) The woman who gets those same instincts as I do before something bad happens or when we both meet someone who is untrustworthy. The woman who taught me to trust those instincts.

How could she have had no idea that by letting this gangly farmboy help her with her coat that her life would be taken down a totally different path than she could have ever expected? It occurred to me then that she probably just did not care. She was probably worrying about “more important things” or, perhaps, she just went with it.

Bah. Who does that?

Then, something strange happened. Every visit since, she’s warmed up a bit more. She’s shared more stories about the two of them and the ‘good ole days.’ She even stared off one day into space and said, unprovoked, “You’ll meet the one and, when you do, you won’t know what hit you.”

Could it be? Is she a closet believer in the thunderbolt?

Today. TODAY. She was eager to share a stack of old photographs of my grandpa. There were some of my mom as well. There was even a tin image of a great-great-grandfather as an infant. Then she showed me this one and said, “That was before he came to get me.”


I looked at the picture and just blinked. It made no sense with the timeline. Clearly, this was a picture taken by his family in Indiana.

She said, “You know, I really think there must be something bigger out there.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“There must be something more guiding it all, the way it all worked out. He was supposed to go straight to Korea but something happened with the transportation and they were put in England and made to wait for a while. If he had not had to wait, we would never have met.”

I smiled. Nay, I beamed. He would never have been on that bus to see her walking to the dance hall they would both ultimately meet in. She was not even planning to go out dancing that night and, if her friend had not dragged her out, she would not have been walking on that sidewalk for him to spot.

She concluded, “You know, I think that there is someone out there for everyone. That some people are just meant to be together and that things work out so that they can be. Soul mates…”


Do you think soul mates exist? Have you met yours?

6 comments on “Soul mates or something
  1. SoSaysDave says:

    I do believe. But it can be difficult with the way the world is these days. It just seems like everything is more complicated and we allow that to get in the/way sometimes.

  2. Lxndr says:

    I absolutely do not believe this.

    There’s no guiding reason. We’re just programmed to find reasons and stories in anything. You can always play ‘what if’.

    And that’s what makes things beautiful – there’s nothing out there except us, we’re the ones making our destinies and reasons.

  3. Wayne says:

    I think it depends upon the definition of “soulmate”. I think most of us could have a wonderful, fulfilling, lifelong relationships with lots of different people; the term “soulmate” often signifies to me that there is only one and I don’t see it that way.

    The best reference I have found to the concept of a soulmate was in the book “Unhooked Generation” by Jillian Strauss. As part of her book research, she interviewed her parents who were still together and had an excellent relationship. She asked her mother what had made her marry her dad, and the conversation progressed as follows:

    Mom: I really cared about him and we had a great time together.
    Jillian: Didn’t you feel he was your soulmate when you got married?
    Mom: No I didn’t, but he is now.

    What I take from this (and what I truly believe) is that for me the idea of a “soulmate” is based upon experiences we have shared together (laughter, tears, dreams, fears, activities, friends, places, etc) and not just something that someone IS from the time you meet them.

    I mean, how can one be your soulmate when they don’t yet know your soul, and vice versa?

  4. Batsheva says:

    love it :)
    i always smile when i hear these stories, the love stories, the how we met stories, the ones where there is a happy ending.
    (hellooooo – disney movies, anyone?!)
    but ive always entertained the notion of, what if there are multiple soul mates out there for each person?
    most people will choose only one life partner for themselves, but not all people remain satisfied with that.
    i guess you could say, well, thats why people break up, or get divorced…when they are no longer satisfied by their current partner….but even that, sometimes, wouldnt be satisfying.
    so i still wonder, what of the possibility that we are meant to be with more than one person at a time?
    to ADD to the love, rather than eliminate and limit the amount of people you share yours with…

    what would your grandma say to that? ;)

  5. Ray says:

    Too metaphysical for me I’ll opt for the “something”. My life experience with love can be “rationalized and explained” as surreal and absurd. How do I draw reasons and stories given these aspects? I can’t.

    Anyway it’s too personal to share here.

    No apologies for my anti-mythology.

  6. Ray says:

    All apologies. I’ve posted a meaningless piece of tripe worthy of nothing but sound and fury. But let me make amends by clarifying some ideas on the subject…

    Soul mates are possible where both persons (gender neutral) are physically attracted to each other, meld well emotionally/psychologically and their values (inclusive of lifestyle similarities) are highly compatible.

    How should the soul mates meet is the romantic question in the essay. Serendipity, fortuitous events, alignment of the stars (syzygy), magic, make for a great romantic story. But meeting by serendipity implies predestination (exclusive of religious views). As Americans we don’t like to passively wait for things to come to us, we actively pursue them. Actively pursuing love…should this be a male dominated right? In this progressive society, it is refreshing for women to get their Sadie Hawkins on. They’ll flirt and directly ask a man out on a date, all the while defying social norms/conventions and the pejorative labels. Bring it! (Equal rights, equal access, equal opportunities.) Where’s my Nola Darling?

    But what do we do when failure should greet us at the end of our pursuit? Like my story of surreal inspiration for love which ended in an absurd farce, I guess I go back again to believing in predestination, serendipity, fortuitous events, alignment of the stars (syzygy), magic, romance and hope. Hope in finding that soul mate (sic).