With eager anticipation I jumped from my bed and ran to a mirror to tear off my shirt for a full view of my chest. There it was. The tattoo. THE Tattoo.
I sighed as I prepared myself for what I was about to read. This was an epic moment. I need to cherish this moment. I close my eyes and breathed in deeply.
“Well, what’s it say?!” A voice demanded behind me. My eleven year old sister stood in the doorway….. the open doorway.
“Carly! Shut the door! Can’t you see I am half dressed?” I grabbed my shirt and clutched it to my chest. “Why are you here anyway?!”
“Duh! I wanted to see what your Soulmate Tattoo says.” Carly rolled her eyes. “Hurry up! I have been waiting outside your door for two hours and six minutes.” She glanced at her watch, “Make that two hours and seven minutes. Come on, Mandi, let’s hear it!”
“I was trying to treasure this moment and make it special,” I bristled.
Carly softened, “Come on! What’s it say? What will the first thing your true love will say to you?”
Sighing I turned back to the mirror and then angled my hand mirror to read the tattoo. The Soulmate Tattoo. The Tattoo that everyone magically received on their eighteenth birthday that revealed the first thing your soulmate would say to you and today was mine. I was eighteen and standing at the mirror ready to face my destiny. I closed my eyes and took another deep breath before opening them to read.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if the tattoo said, ‘Would you like that with fries?!'” Carly chuckled.
Sudden fear assailed me as I whipped my head to look at her, “No! And you are ruining the moment!”
Turning to face the mirror once more, I readjusted my hand mirror, sighed and began to read, “Are you lost because heaven is a long way from here?”
I could see Carly clutching her chest in my mirror, “Awwwww!”
I turned, “Okay, Shrimp. We got to get ready for school!”
“Aw!” Carly bounced from the room, “Hey mom, Mandi got her Soulmate Tattoo.”
Rolling my eyes I pulled out the outfit I had planned especially for today ignoring the six texts from my bff probably asking about my tattoo. No time for that this morning. I had an hour to enhance all my good features and hide all my bad ones. I would connect with Paige at school.
An hour later I waltzed into the lobby of our school. I had practiced this in my head for months, maybe even years. I entered by the furthermost door and took the longest path to my locker past as many boys as I could, smiling and making eye contact with each one.
“Hey, Mandi, you lost?”
Spinning on my heel I turned to face a boy I had known since elementary school. Tanner and I used to be good friends but, as we entered middle and high school, our paths separated as I hung with the cheering squad and he with the nerds.
“Because you just walked past your locker,” Tanner grinned, “By the way, Happy birthday!”
He remembered after all these years. Great! He knew exactly what I was doing! “Thank you….. and Tanner?”
“Please do not say the word LOST to me ever again!”
“Okie-dokie,” Tanner smirked.
I turned back to my locker and reached to open it. “Hey, Mandi!” called a voice on the other side of my locker door.
Smiling, I closed the door as I instantly recognized the voice of Peyton Brehm, Danner High’s star quarterback, “Yes?”
“You got a pencil? I lost mine.” Peyton’s eyes searched mine. Great.
Still smiling I turned from my locker, “Sorry.”
Peyton’s face fell, “Okay.” He spied Jessica, captain of the cheer squad. “Hey, Jess!” He waved her down. Ingrate!
“Hey!” a finger poked me, “Where were you?! Why didn’t you answer my texts.”
I turned to my best friend and sighed, “I’m sorry. I just had this whole plan how my morning would go and then my sister interrupted and well….Sorry.”
Paige smiled, “Well, I’m here now. Spill.”
I quickly filled her in as the first bell rang and then we went our separate ways to our first classes. All morning I sparkled and did my best to look ravishing, but none of the local heart throbs gave me a peep. As I sat at lunch trying to present my best side I heard a voice behind me, “Happy birthday, Mandi.”
I turned to face one of my favorite teachers, “Thanks, Mrs. Schweitz.”
She pointed to the seat next to me, “May I?”
“Sure, I nodded, “Go for it.”
She sat down and looked around, “Rough crowd, huh?”
“Can I offer you a word of advice… or two?”
“For one, your soul mate may not even go to this school. You may not meet him here. I mean, really, do you think you would even want one of those clowns?” She pointed to a group of boys playing volleyball with a milk carton. I shook my head and she continued. “You may not meet him here. You may not even meet him in college. In fact, you may be forty till you meet The One, but don’t sweat it, Mandi. He will be worth the wait! Don’t go looking for him. He is someone you are destined to meet. Don’t settle for someone you are not meant to be with. He may be abusive to you and you would be stuck. Live your life. This will just happen.” She pushed back her chair.
“Thanks, Mrs. Schweitz.”
The rest of the day I thought about what she had said and realized she was right.
The rest of the year I studied hard and graduated magna cum laude. Three months later I boarded a plane for Boston to study law. Some guys showed interest but those magical words were never uttered. Three years later I was walking through the rain trying to find a building in Manhattan for my first interview. I sighed as I realized I must have exited the subway too early and turned back to the subway depot. I did not want to walk the distance in this downpour. My hair that I had carefully groomed now looked more like a wet mop and my tailored suit hung haphazardly, dripping with rainwater. I boarded the subway and disembarked at the next stop. Climbing the stairwell, I pulled out my soaked map to ascertain my direction.
“Are you lost because heaven is a long way from here?” No! This was NOT how I imagined this moment! I turned to see a man in a rather large floppy rain hat hiding his face.
“I’m no angel!”
“Well, I guess not because an angel would know where heaven was.” He teased. “Where are you trying to go?”
“Um, “I pulled out my damp business card, “21 East 103rd Street.”
“Hey, I work in that building!” Why was I not surprised? “Take my arm, sweet lady!”
He quickly let the way to the building and showed me where to find the rest rooms to freshen up. I turned to thank him as he removed his wet overcoat, muscles rippling under his gray suit. I smiled. “Thank you sir!”
He removed his wet floppy hat and turned to face me. I drew in a breath as he said, “No. Thank YOU……Mandi.”
He had matured. A lot! “Tanner.”
He grinned, “I’m sorry if I said the word LOST, but I am glad I did.”
I flushed as I surveyed the man he had become, “Me, too.”
He held out his arm, and gestured to the elevator. “Come on. You’re probably the new intern we have been expecting.”
We boarded the elevator and he pressed 3 and then turned to me stepping breathtakingly close, “I know your words were ‘I’m no angel’, but believe me. When you climbed out of the subway stairway, you looked the picture of the most beautiful angel I could have ever dreamed about.”
I could almost feel my heart flutter like angel wings as we stepped off the elevator into our destiny.