First Person POV (Cairo)
They say you will feel a different kind of joy when you find the person who is destined for you. I remember when I was a kid, I caught myself watching my parents. The way they secretly glanced at each other and the kisses they shared stealthily (that I accidentally witnessed) were the reasons I was so excited to find the person for me.
I was in middle school when I realized that instead of girls, I was into boys. I can’t help but feel scared. What will my parents say? What if my soulmate is a woman? Will I be able to love her? And if he’s a man, will I be able to accept his love for me? I don’t know what to do.
My world collapsed around me when I was in high school. The person I thought to be a friend spread the word that I like men. I endured the ridicule of my classmates every day - their avoidance as if I had a contagious disease. I slowly hid into myself. Gradually, the door to my heart closed.
I thought there was nothing more painful than people I used to call friends leaving me, but nothing could beat the pain I felt when my father suddenly died. I witnessed how my mother’s heart broke. Her former lively movements were now akin to a robot’s automatic movements. The place where I found peace is now lifeless and full of silence. Maybe this is what I deserve. I have no right to be happy.
When I entered college, I became even more convinced that there was no such thing as a soulmate. Myths like Plato’s The Symposium in which the original man was made with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces have a much deeper meaning than that of a soulmate. I am sure that this is just a reminder that those in authority maintain their power by separating the opinions of the people. And it is more romantic to think that my parents chose to be together not because of whatever fate dictating it, but because they truly love each other.
I never thought I would meet Gavreel. Gavreel with curly and silky hair that makes me want to run my fingers through it. Gavreel with his soulful eyes that were full of unspeakable sadness but shines every time he saw me. Gavreel with a wide smile, deep dimples, and jokes that made me laugh. Gavreel whom I drove away because he was my soulmate.
Cairo was lying on the sofa. He lifted the beer bottle into his mouth to drink, lowered it down, and dropped it on the floor where other empty bottles littered. Tonight, He cut off his relationship with Gavreel. Haha… What relationship? It didn’t even start yet.
He turned his gaze at the cell phone that had been ringing since earlier. He read the name on the screen, sighed, and answered. “Pearl.”
“Hey, Baby boy! Why is Gavreel getting drunk in front of me right now? What happened? You told me that after tonight, you’ll be together for real,” whispered Pearl.
Cairo sobbed. He remembered the dinner date that Gavreel had prepared for him. “Pearl, I think this is the last - the most painful one. I’m sure he’s not coming back to me.”
Pearl’s face was full of questions. She saw Gavreel drink again before she turned and walked away. “Explain to me. I’m confused.”
“Didn’t I tell you before that I want to choose whom to love?”
“Yes. You also told me that it might be Gav.”
Cairo changed his position. He tucked his face into a throw pillow. “Gavreel said earlier that when he saw me for the first time, he knew immediately that I was his soulmate. He shared that when he was young, he promised himself that he would always choose his soulmate above anyone else when he finally meets them. Pearl, what if he just chose me because I am his soulmate? Wasn’t he together with Terrence when we met? What if Terrence is the one he really loves?” Cairo laughed hysterically. “Pearl , you know I detest the idea of not being able to choose who I love. I hated it so much that when I found the one meant for me, I did my best to hurt him. Now he’s gone, taking everything with him.”
Pearl rolled her eyes and stroked her aching head. “First of all, it wasn’t your fault why Gavreel and Terrence separated. Terrence cheated on Gav, so they broke up, okay? Second, if you didn’t like Gavreel because he is your soulmate, why did you still let him into your life? Are you stupid? Third, what are you being so dramatic for? I am sure that after his drinking session, Gav will come running back to woo you.”
Cairo didn’t answer.
He took a deep breath. “I did not let him in. He forcibly occupied my heart by destroying the wall I surrounded myself with. You know that since the beginning I tried to push him away, but I know in myself that I was gradually falling in love with him - that I already loved him. I had planned to give him the answer he’s been looking for, but I got scared by what he said. I doubted again.” He wiped away his tears with the back of his hands. “Pearl, what if…”
“Okay. Okay. Because of your what-ifs, you were unable to give him your answer. It didn’t even happen yet.” Pearl sat down in the chair and watched Gavreel who fell asleep. “Baby boy, this is just my opinion, hmm? The two of you are soulmates. Both of you love each other. Why don’t you give it a try? Didn’t they say that it’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all?”
Cairo sniffed. “Should I visit him tomorrow? I’ll explain it to him.”
Pearl smiled. “You should. All right Baby boy. Go to sleep.” She lowered the call after hearing his assent.
The next day…
Gavreel slowly opened the door while yawning. He opened his sleepy eyes.
Cairo stared at the messy look of the person in front of him. He gave him a skeptical smile. “Hi, Ga-” Cairo couldn’t continue what he was going to say because Gavreel suddenly hugged him.
The tears that he had been holding back finally fell. He returned Gavreel’s hug. “I’m sorry. I love you.”