Hi, I’m Mae.

The words appeared on his skin in a dark ink, the cursive script seaming childlike for all its elegance. It had been accompanied by a small tingle, like a wave of magic running through his veins. 

His soul, it must be! 

His mother had said, when she had shown them, THIS was special. In their childish innocence, they had marvelled at the bracelet on her wrist.  In her culture, everyone was born with their perfect half, be it a twin, a lover, a friend. This person fitted you perfectly and knew you better than anyone. Their wounds were yours; any burden was shared. Until you met, the bond was not complete. Until you touched for the first time, you could not read each other’s minds, nor could you communicate with your minds but anything they wrote for you, appeared on your skin too. In this world, your soul is unique, other children will not understand. But when you meet for the first time you will know. You will feel the magic of your bond, the wonder. And you will feel complete. 

‘My soul,’ she spoke, eyes glowing with regret and sorrow, ‘my soul is back home. Together we were the greatest warriors, I may have been just another girl in his parents’ eyes, but really, we were like siblings. I love him like a brother. But we must all make sacrifices. So, I chose to come to this country, and to be with the man I love.  Hold onto whoever you find, be it a lover or a friend.’ Her words had been the essence of his childhood. His mother had died when he was 6. While his brother had scoffed down the years at her legends, disregarding the history in her lessons, her tales had always been engrained in his mind, and somehow, he felt closer to her for it. The wonder he had felt when he had first seen the words was dizzying. Afraid to tell his brother or father, he had kept his discovery to himself, the girl his own solace from the harsh reality. He was 12 when he learned that name.

Many times, over the next few years Brody wondered how it was possible, but deep down he knew it didn't matter how it was possible, all that matter was that he had found a friend in the most unlikely place. What his mother had said was true, they seemed to be perfect for each other. Where Brody was forgetful and disorganised, Mea left little notes and reminders on his arm, the back of his hand if it was something very important. She seemed younger than him, but something about her radiated wisdom far beyond her years. She seemed very focused on her studies and always tried to help where she could. He was always careful to hide her neat, cursive print form prying eyes. When he went to high school, this proved harder. 

Over the years, they had learned only to write when they needed it most, unless they were in private. One of her favourite tricks had been dying her hair and making sure she made a piece of his fringe turn too (don’t ask how she did it, it never made sense and she refused to give up her secret). That had been the hardest bit to explain to his teachers, sometimes green, blue, pink even (the horror) but his favourite had to be purple. In his mind, He imagined it went perfectly with her bright emerald eyes. It was unreal how beautiful she was in his mind. She was so talented, if her tiny drawing were anything to go by. Little flowers, and foreign words, a delightful insight into her life. That was the funny thing about their bizarre friendship, he didn’t even know where she lives (somewhere in America?) he didn’t know her number (‘it is more magical this way’) and no-one in his life knew. Their first rule had always been to never tell each other places or other people, it put them in danger (he didn’t really understand that one, but she had a few weird habits). Once he had gotten over the shock of having another person to talk to, he began to see the benefit of their link. He was never alone, and neither was she. 

His mother was gone and his father had become more distanced since they could look after themselves. It was Lucas who had change most though. When Brody had turned 16, his brother stopped caring as much. He hung out with his friends at night and left all weekend. It wasn’t ‘cool’ to be seen with his little brother. And somehow, she knew exactly what to say, and she always knew when he was feeling off. That was one reason his Brother had never found his soul. His brother scoffed at the thought of ‘that old story’.  Dad just shut off whenever he tried to bring up Mom. And so, he turned to Mae. She understood. 

He didn’t have many friends beside her. He was a ‘loner’, mostly because he didn’t like the people in his classes. But Sarah was cool, so was her girlfriend Jordan, and Mick was funny. They didn’t know about Mae, but they made his life more bearable, especially since everyone knew that Brody Morgan was a wimp (rumour courtesy of his big brother). They made sure they looked after him. Mae did too, in her own special way. While they helped with homework and made sure he had enough to eat between the two jobs he juggled (‘to pay the rent’ he would argue, to their protests that he shouldn’t have to). Mae made him laugh when he was down, she sent him book recommendation and recipes, but most importantly, she had encouraged him to get back up every time he had got knocked down.

It was the end of the school year, and the exams had finished. All the hard work had given him good grades, but the best news was the letter that came with the usual ball invitation. Inside was a single red pin and a note, from her.

This would be the year, he thought. Now he was 18, he could go to the ball (Cinderella, really? He hoped he was the Prince charming). To his surprise, Lucas had agreed to come without the usual amount of effort from their father. Which was how he found himself on a plane for the first time, on his way to their mothers’ home. It was time to face the music.

It was the summer ball, held in the vast forests at the back of one of the most prestigious buildings in the country. Tall trees flanked every edge, with a makeshift dance floor set up in the centre. There were lights strung across the trees and the grove was aglow with the light of magic. Tables full of food lay scattered in between the trees. The people basked in the soft evening rays, the light of dusk highlighting the ornate jewellery of the women. They were wearing fancy full length gowns (or ridiculously flashy dresses) and had their hair curled into ridiculous up does, full faces of makeup talking animatedly. The men had freshly pressed shirts, crisp suits were pinned to perfection and hair slicked with gallons of gel. Everything about this place screamed rich, no less everyone dressed to impress.

Brody shuddered. This was not his kind of place. Towards the centre of the throng, Lucas looked so much more relaxed, a glass held daintily in his hand, mingling with a throng of chattering teens. His brother would get a girl tonight. He would leave for their hotel with another stunning young lady, in a ridiculously short dress, with far too much makeup. If Lucas soul was here, he'd find her. Yes, it was definitely a her, at least that was what he insisted. Brody was more hesitant, he didn't like to drink, and was not into the emotionless one-night stands (not that anyone was interested). Convincing Dad that the two of them could be trusted to come to the annual summer ball was hard enough, the nostalgia of the first event with his mother enough to leave him worried about letting the two of them go alone. But Brody had to come, he had promised his soul they would meet tonight. His brother didn't know and neither did his father. They would never understand and so he kept it his little secret. His brother didn’t need another reason to tease him. He knew that Mae was amazing, years of conversations had proved that she was beautiful, smart, witty. But he had never felt that spark. And neither had she. She had a perfect boyfriend and they were happy. Brody was happy for them too, the feeling he got when they were together quashed any doubt that their soul bond was anything but platonic. And he was happy for her, she was like the best little sister he could ever have wished for. It was Aiden he was jealous of. He had completely changed since high school. Now they weren’t a family anymore. Quietly he tucked himself (not hid) away in the corner, where he was content to watch the party goers from afar. Few people approached him, but those who did only made polite small talk before finding an excuse to slink away. 

And then he saw her and knew instantly. She was quite small, but she looked strong and kind.  Her raven hair was mostly loose, only a few curls pinned back into a silver bun. Her emerald eyes were shinning in the light of the moon, the beams bouncing off her rosy lips and pearly teeth as she laughed. She was wearing a summer dress, the light material fluttering in the gentle breeze. The white layers and delicate flowers complimented her natural golden skin. Gently, he checked the small pin on his lapel and approached her. 

May 08, 2020 18:02

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