Rachel, this prompt quite honestly stumped me and caused me to pause for several days. My definition of 'the one' has changed and evolved so much over the years. But, in the end, I figured out the best way possible to respond. I hope I made you proud.
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Here's the prompt:
Everyone who has met their "one" always says they just knew. But how? Write about the knowing. Fiction or non-fiction, your choice.
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When we were in college, she asked if I’d have sushi with her. I turned her down because I didn’t eat sushi.
As fate would have it, almost five years later, I found myself sitting across from her in a Japanese restaurant in England, enjoying as much sushi as we could possibly eat and catching up on all we had missed while we were apart.
“So, you like sushi now?” she asked as she looked at me across the table. “Well,” I said, blushing, “I was asked out by a really cute girl a few years ago, and she suggested sushi. So, I realized that all the cool girls must eat sushi and that I was probably missing out. So I went out with her, and I faked my way through the entire meal.”
“Uh huh,” she responded, looking at me curiously.
“I fell in love shortly thereafter,” I said. “If only I had agreed to have sushi with you when you first asked, I might have fallen in love sooner."
"With sushi,” I clarified.
After several hours of sushi, sake and the most incredibly stimulating conversation I had shared with anyone in many years, I looked across the table at her. We made eye contact, and in that brief moment, I immediately saw her in a different light. It was in that moment where I knew. I just knew that she was the one-- my soul mate.
That feeling is a tough one to describe. Even now, all these years later, it feels impossible to explain. The feeling started in my heart, and it quickly traveled throughout my entire body, stimulating all of my senses. All it took was one moment to stir so many emotions. All it took was one moment to break through the walls I had put up all around my heart to let her in and to let her experience a part of me I hadn’t felt safe to give in so long.
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Over the next few weeks of my visit, we shared wine and amazing food, drank tea several times a day, slept in, and read books. Through our endless conversation, I discovered parts of me that I hadn’t ever explored before. I told her my deepest, darkest fears. She told me hers. When I divulged the pain I had kept in for so long, she listened and comforted me and assured me that I wasn’t alone.
On a whim, we took the train to Paris, the city of love, where we spent our days in cafes eating croissants and drinking wine and lattes. Together, we admired the incredible art in the museums, toasted with champagne at the Moulin Rouge, fed pigeons in front of Notre Dame, and rode a boat on the Seine River all while allowing ourselves to absorb that special Parisian energy all around us.
I woke up during this trip. Her presence in my life awakened parts of me that had been asleep for so long.
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She was the one...
...who understood me.
...who accepted me when I didn’t accept myself.
...who made me feel safe and secure.
...whose mere presence took away my pain and emptiness.
...who reminded me how to laugh again.
...who reminded me how to love again.
...who made me realize I was worthy of love and all that I hoped for.
...who gave herself to me without hesitation and with all the compassion in the world.
...who loved me unconditionally without asking for anything in return.
She was the one who helped me find myself again.
When I left England, I left a piece of my heart with her and allowed myself to take a piece of hers with me. I still treasure it more than anything I’ve been given to this day.
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And now, six years later, despite our physical distance of over 4,000 miles, she is the one who still senses when I need her and reaches out. She is the one who sheds light on my darkness when I feel there is no light to be found. She’s the one who still reminds me of who I am when I need a gentle reminder.
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She is the one –- the one who is my truest friend and will forever be my soul mate.