Floaters are funny little things. They disappear when you don’t pay attention, but the moment you spot one, you realise just how many there are, drifting quietly in your vision, just waiting to be noticed.
That’s how lovelines look like to me. You can’t really tell until you consciously keep an eye out for them. Don’t bother Googling what lovelines are. It’s just a term I came up with, one that you’re probably curious about right now. I certainly was.
Imagine how a thread would move underwater. Now picture that thread connecting two people, sometimes more, and you’ll get the gist of what I see on a daily basis. Sometimes I like standing at vantage points overlooking the city so that I can see this weird light show in action; they can get quite pretty at night.
Not everybody has a loveline though. Monks mostly don’t, though you’d be surprised at the number of them that actually do. Ditto priests, nuns, and other people who’ve sworn to celibacy. It got me wondering how much of a choice love actually is. These single people with threads seem to be doing a good job.
Some people have frayed ends, while others are just threadless beings. I never really got around to understanding the meaning of all that. All I know is that these lines connect soulmates together. Neat, huh? It took a while before I made sense out of all that.
Maybe it was the fact that most couples I had met were joined by these lovelines. It also helped that most of my childhood friends, who’d had many partners throughout the years, ended up with the people they’re connected with. That was around when I began to connect the dots.
Of course, that discovery was marred by the fact that mom and dad didn’t share the same thread. For years I wished I was wrong, but I finally gave in to the truth when they split up.
“Ethan’s just a friend,” mom said, a year later when the new guy came into her life. But I saw the connection, and it wasn’t in the figurative sense either. They shared a loveline, and despite the circumstances, I found myself being happy for her.
I was curious about my soulmate too. I’d often watch my thread flutter ever so slightly, as if connected to someone hundreds of miles away.
I would have a couple of girlfriends throughout the years, but as I watched their lovelines float away from me, as mine did from them, I’d realise that maybe the dating scene wasn’t somewhere I wished to be. That was until I met Natalie.
My company had sent me on some boring upskilling seminar where attendance was compulsory. A woman in a pencil skirt took the stage, and I found myself instantly enthralled not by the things she said, but how she said them.
It might’ve had something to do with social media returns-on-investment or something, I forget. All I knew was that my loveline was tracking her as she paced back and forth across the stage. I was sure she couldn’t see what I saw, but could she feel what I felt? I had to find out.
That wasn’t the only thing I sought to clarify. The other thing I noticed was that our loveline was frayed, hanging just by a little wisp. What did that mean? I’d seen it in people with no soulmates, their lovelines unconnected and broken at the ends, but this?
Natalie’s presence helped make the seminar more interesting. Two hours flew by, and I was the first to approach her for the after-event discussions. I swear it felt like I was in a rom-com of sorts. We completed each other’s sentences, made the same references, and had our own inside jokes before the minute was up.
Our first date turned into a second, then a third, and pretty soon things became serious between us. It went so well that I’d totally forget all about our frayed thread. But I would soon learn what that was all about.
“You have what?” I asked. This was six months into our relationship, when she’d dropped the ‘we need to talk’ bomb.
“Pancreatic cancer. Apparently it’s one of the most silent forms of cancer.”
“Well what did the doctor say?”
“She’s not sure either. There are still lots of tests to be done, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
I told her we’d work through this together. I said that I’d be there no matter what. I told her that I loved her, and that she’s the only one who’s ever made me feel this way.
She said she had noticed me walking into that boring-ass seminar. She never believed in love at first sight, but fell for the cliché the moment I stepped in. She even mentioned that there was a weird connection between us, a pull that was hard to explain.
I knew exactly what she meant. I felt like I could explain a part of it, but I kept quiet.
“Do you think,” she said, then paused.
“What?” I asked.
“You think we might’ve been lovers, from like, a past life?”
“I think that’s the only reasonable explanation.”
We hugged each other the entire night through, sharing tears and laughs along the way, recalling all the moments we’d spent together for the past six months.
Then she was gone.
Just like that, a week after she was diagnosed. She complained about a headache and had difficulty breathing, so she decided to nap it off. She would never never wake up again, and I would never get to say my goodbyes.
Nothing remained except her memories, not even my loveline—it had disappeared completely upon Natalie’s death. Not that I cared. I was certain that I’d never love again.
It’s been years since she’d left, and I still see the lovelines connecting strangers, waving this way and that, almost like the tendrils of a jellyfish, numbering in the thousands. Then I look at myself, empty both inside and out, trying to work out the meaning of it all.
They say it’s better to have love and lost than to never have loved at all, and my lack of a loveline might attest to that, but I’ve begun to see things in a different perspective.
I haven’t loved and lost. I’m still very much in love with Natalie, and I’ll always be. And maybe not having a loveline means she’s with me now—and always will be.