I was walking down the street, heading toward the coffee shop. It was dark and the streetlights looked silver. It had not started snowing yet, but it was really cold. At least, I think it was. I had put on quite a bit of makeup. Mostly blush to make my cheeks pink, to make me look more lively. I met Adam inside the shop. He was so nice and was everything I was hoping for. He ordered his coffee black, which I thought was so mature. I ordered earl grey tea and reminded myself to hold the mug by the handle. The base of the mug would have been too hot. He told me about his job and his family. He even made me laugh a few times.
Halfway through the date, I already felt like I was falling in love with him. Which is so ridiculous, but it’s how I felt. He seemed so much nicer, and more genuine than the others. Lost in our conversation, it had started to snow. Adam turned to look through the glass window and offered to take me for a walk. He said there was a park, just around the corner. Not thinking, I agreed.
The snow was building up quite quickly, making a white sheet on the ground. It was so beautiful, like sugar falling from the sky. I reminded myself to put on my mittens and my hat to make it look like I needed the warmth. Adam seemed interested in me and asked me many questions about my own job and family. Although, I sort of avoided the family part because I don’t talk to them anymore.
While I was talking, Adam must have looked behind us or looked directly at the ground around us. I’m not sure how he noticed, I wasn’t paying attention at all. All he said was, your feet. I looked down at my boots and realized what he meant. The whole time I was walking through the snow, my feet were not leaving any prints. I started to panic. He looked shocked or petrified or disgusted, I’m not sure which. He finally caught his breath and said, you don’t have any footprints.
I felt so stupid, I should have known that was going to happen. I should have said no to going for a walk. If only we stayed in the coffee shop. I was so smitten with him, I didn’t think. The evidence was in front of him, I had to confess to him. I’m dead, I said. He answered with, what do you mean, you’re dead? I took into consideration my answer wouldn’t go well with him. I told him, I died in a car accident last spring.
He started laughing and I felt embarrassed. He didn’t believe me, he must have thought I was mad. He said, that doesn’t make sense, you look alive. I tried to explain it to him, that I was like everyone else, just a little different here and there. He only looked more shocked and, frightened, almost. In the middle of my explanation, he called me a freak, and left me standing there. Do you think this was my fault?
Sofia, a psychologist of many years, has no experience working with patients that have no souls. She took Amanda as a patient out of curiosity.
“Do you think Adam felt betrayed by your confession?” she says.
“I never thought of it like that.” says Amanda.
“Perhaps he felt lied to that you were hiding your true self. You kept it a secret. He would have found out sooner or later.”
“I wasn’t hiding it.” Amanda interjects. “I just hadn’t told him yet.”
“It sounds to me you were.” answers Sofia. “You said you wished you had stayed in the coffee shop. You told yourself to hold your mug a certain way and to wear your hat and mittens. You were hiding it from him.”
“Does everyone have to know I’m dead?”
“What happened to you wasn’t your fault. If someone doesn’t like you the way you are, why would you want their company?” explains Sofia.
“I just want to be normal.” counters Amanda.
“Accepting your new identity is going to take time. No more hiding it, you need to tell people or they’re going to keep running off.”
“I thought no one would have to know.”
“I’m sure you will find someone who will accept you.” says Sofia.
“No one will understand. If I tell people, I’ll always be alone. I have to hide it.”
“I think you’re still in denial about what happened to you. You’re trying to live the way you used to. You’re lying to yourself the same way you lied to Adam.” explains Sofia.
“When will I feel better?”
“There is no time frame. You’re mourning the loss of your soul.”
“I feel more sensitive and emotional than I did when I was alive.” ponders Amanda.
“What were your relationships like before?” asks Sofia.
“A lot easier. I didn’t have to think about every little thing. I feel like everyone can sense I’m different. Like my utter presence makes everyone uncomfortable.” answers Amanda.
“Perhaps you’re more in tune to everyone’s reactions because you fear their rejection.”
“I’m not used to being alone. This is harder than I thought.” ponders Amanda.
“How have you been coping with this loneliness?” asks Sofia.
“I’ve started painting. The plus side to being dead is I don’t have to sleep so I’ve spent a lot of time watching fine art tutorials online.”
“Is painting something you would have done when you were living?”
“No, I never would have done anything like this. I don’t remember having hobbies that involved being alone.” answers Amanda.
“It seems that in death you have found your independence. Adam’s rejection was just another test to your newfound loneliness.” observes Sofia.
“I guess so.” Amanda says with a sigh. “Maybe I should apologize to him for not letting him know I’m dead.”
“That’s certainly something to consider.” adds Sofia. “And to also consider that not all of your Tinder dates are going to go well.”