Meant to Be

            Nobody can pinpoint the exact date the practice began. It became common and ordinary so quickly in everyday life that no one seemed to question its origin or the mystery behind it.

On the morning of a person’s 18th birthday, they find a piece of a key on their doorstep engraved with their name, and either the address of a bank or a safety deposit box number. The person’s soul mate receives the other half of the key with their name, and either the bank’s address or the box number. Together, the two key pieces lead the couple to unlock the mystery of their safety deposit box. Inside lies what defines their relationship. I, however, have yet to find my other half. Figures, for who could love a thief?

I didn’t originally plan to make a living this way, but it seemed the opportunity to steal always presented itself in the times I needed the most help financially. It’s not like I haven’t attempted to get a socially acceptable job, believe me, I’ve tried. It’s hard enough as it is when the highest education I can put on a job application is a high school degree because I was too broke to afford college, and my parents didn’t offer any form of support when it was needed.

Ultimately, I’ve never had a real job, but pickpocketing has always come in handy when I need to make ends meet. I can’t decide what I like about it more, the thrill of the illegal activity, or the thought that I’ll be able to afford next month’s rent.

I spied my next target. His suit was snazzy, sharp, and ironed to perfection. His neat, bright red tie could make any tomato jealous. Also, I’ll admit, he was very handsome with his wavy brown hair and his soft caramel brown eyes, but I was more interested in the amount of cash he had in his wallet. My plan was in action.

“Oh! Excuse me!” I exclaimed as we accidentally, yet in my case, strategically collided. In one swift moment I snatched up his wallet and slipped it into my back pocket before he could even blurt out,

“Pardon me ma’am!”

“No, really! It’s my fault! I really need to start watching where I’m going.”

And with that, I was a whole lot richer.

I snuck around the busy street corner and paused to count my bounty. As I pulled out his thick leather wallet and opened it, I began to envision all the things I could buy, but my daydreams were suddenly interrupted when a loud clink resonated, shattering my world. I looked down and saw his key on the sidewalk, but I could not believe it. I delicately picked it up and examined it. In astonishment, the wallet slipped from my hands and fell to the ground, but I was too mesmerized by his key half to notice. My free hand hastily went to my pocket and drew out my key piece. They fit perfectly. I had just robbed my soul mate.

The two broken key pieces together read ‘Paige and James’ on one side and on the other it read ‘51833 North Street Bank box #294’. The crooked line that split the key into two ran in between the word ‘and’ on the side with our names and zigzagged through the space between ‘Bank’ and ‘box’ on the other. All I could do was stare.

Finally, after years of running my fingers over the engraving of that box number, wondering which bank was the one just out of my reach, dreaming which one was holding back the mystery from me; I had found the other half. I had the address. I could uncover the secret I have been waiting for long before the morning of my 18th birthday. I quickly scooped up the wallet, placed it in my pocket, and began to wander about, holding the key so it stayed intact and letting it guide me like a compass. My pace slowed. I glanced down at the pieces in my hand.

The sunlight light glinted off of our names. I couldn’t do this to him. What if he had been waiting his whole life for this moment too? What if he was a great guy? My shoulders drooped. If I went to discover what lay in the box by myself, I would be missing out on meeting the one I’m supposed to be with. He is my soul mate after all; I couldn’t treat him like this. I already took his money, now I was on the hunt for the box that contains what defines him? What defines us. How could I expect uncover the mystery of what defines our relationship if I haven’t even truly met him yet?

Sighing, I drew back out his wallet. I’ve been told you can tell a lot about a man by the contents of his wallet, and yet, it didn’t have that much to say about him. Even though I had stolen his wallet, I didn’t intentionally mean to rummage through the entire thing; at first I was only looking for the large amount of cash his suit told me was in there – which wasn’t hard to find – and then I had been searching for the address on his license. The only reason I ended up looting through it was to find his license. Although, I’ll admit, I was glad I had an excuse to go through to see if I could learn a bit about him.

I noticed the wallet itself wasn’t as fancy as his outfit. It was plan, black, leather, and almost ordinary.  It contained a credit card or two, and a groove his key half had made from laying there for a couple years. I wished it had more, but I guess he had his reasons for not having much in it. After a few minutes of unsatisfying search results, I found his license, and placed his key half back in its spot.


As I rode along quietly, I began to contemplate what I was going to say to him. Obviously I wasn’t going to tell him the truth, at least not right away on our first real encounter. I certainly wasn’t going to knock on the door and say ‘Hey, you probably don’t remember me, but I stole your wallet earlier today. As I was looting through I saw that our keys matched perfectly! We’re soul mates! You want to go see what defines our relationship?’ No, I’ll come up with a lie; a good one. Then, maybe several years later down the road, I can share the actual events that took place, and we’ll just laugh about it and move on.

I didn’t have any money with me, so I had to tip the cabbie with some money from James’ wallet. He wouldn’t notice a few bills missing, right? I slipped the cabbie the cash and turned to the house the address James’ license had led me to.

I should have known his house was going to be as dazzling as he was. I mean, as dazzling as his suit was. I almost felt like I didn’t even belong on the road next to it. I drew a shaky deep breath, and headed for the front door. I couldn’t tell if I was more nervous because I was officially meeting my soul mate, or that fact that the first two things I say to him will be part of a hoax, and that I’m starting our relationship out with a lie.

I sighed, and knocked at the door. Surprisingly, he opened it right away, but not too quickly like he was a creep waiting at the door, nor was it too slowly where I would have been left standing there awkwardly. His swiftness and attractive features entered my line of vision so suddenly I lost my train of thought and the words just didn’t come.

“Hello? Can I help you?”

I swallowed dryly, “Um, hey, you probably don’t remember me, but we ran into each other earlier today. Your wallet must have fallen out of your pocket in the chaos because I found it on the ground. Before I could return it, you were already gone. I was just going to look up your address off of your license and leave it in your mailbox, but when I opened it your key fell out, and I couldn’t help but notice that our keys matched.”

As I spoke I fumbled to open his wallet and pull his key, and then draw out mine to present the proof. His mouth fell open and his sweet caramel brown eyes widened in amazement as he marveled at the news.

“You’re the one?” was all that he could stammer. I didn’t know how else to respond, so I just nodded, smiled, and held out the completed key a little closer for him to examine.

“This is incredible! It’s- it’s such an honor to meet you!” He beamed. What was I, a movie star? I mean, it is nice to meet him officially too, but an honor? Wow, that’s… that’s really nice of him to think that.

“As you probably know from my license,” he continued, “My name is James West. What’s your name?”

“Paige Williams.”

“It’s nice to officially meet you.” He continued to grin like an adorable idiot. After a slight pause in the conversation where neither of us knew what to do except to take in the excitement of it all, I finally piped up,

“I know we just met, but would you like to discover what defines our relationship? I’ve waited for this moment for as long as I can remember, and maybe seeing what’s in our box can help us start to get to know each other better.”

“Oh, of course! Let’s take my car, I have a GPS.” Good. I thought to myself. Because I don’t even have a car.

I gave back his wallet, we made our way over to his car, he held the door open for me like a gentleman, we plugged in the address, and drove to the destination only few would never reach.

Like two children eager to solve a scavenger hunt, we anxiously raced up to the front desk of the bank and explained that we had found our other halves. The lady behind the counter took longer than I’d like to grab the log sheet for us to sign. James and I quickly scribbled down our signatures, the date, and time and anxiously waited. As if the lady couldn’t comprehend the significance of the whole situation, she took her sweet time filing the log, getting out her bank key, and leading us to the back room that was filled from ceiling to floor with safety deposit boxes.

With the speed of a lazy sloth, she shuffled over to box number 294 and inserted her key. James and I quickly held our two pieces together and slid it into place. I was so excited I wanted to shove the lady aside and turn the key faster for her. With a synchronized click the metal door swung open, exposing our box.

The lady delicately grabbed it by the handle, slid it out, and placed it on a table for us. Before she could ask how much time we needed, I flung open the lid.

I had waited my whole life for this moment, I didn’t really care if the lady saw what lay in our box.

For the second time today, and ever in my life, my whole world was shattered. Dumbfounded, I uttered,

“It’s… empty.”

“Really?” The woman spoke up, fearful as if her job was on the line, “That’s not right! How long have you two known each other?”

“Over a few hours.” I breathed, not taking my eyes off the gaping nothingness before me. A sputter of gasps that seemed to be choking back laughter caused me to tear my gaze from the empty box to the lady.

“Well it’s no wonder you don’t have anything in your box! You just met today, how do you expect to have something to define your relationship if you barely even have one?” She snorted. I began to burn with frustration and anger. Why should everyone else get a soul mate they can relate to? Why don’t we have anything in common?

My thoughts of defeat began to form tears of hopeless fury. Through my clouded vision I glanced over at James, who was smiling. Did this whole situation amuse him too? Just then I noticed he wasn’t smiling at the vacant box, but at me. His smile evaporated rapidly when he saw the tears of dejection beginning to form in my eyes. He pulled me close and hugged me affectionately.

“Hey, it’s okay. You know what? I’m kind of glad our box is empty. It’s okay that we don’t have anything that defines us yet. This way, over time, we can begin to fill it as our relationship grows.”

I looked up at him, daring to make sure the tears didn’t fall. I didn’t want him or the bank lady to see me cry. I didn’t want anybody to see me cry. Not over this. I sniffed and pulled away.

“How are we going to do that?”

“How does any relationship start? By getting to know each other.” He reassured. “Miss Williams-” he began,

“Paige is fine.”

“See I’m already learning something new about you.” He paused and held out his hand, as if to take me somewhere,

“Paige, would you like to go out to dinner with me? I know people go on blind dates all the time, so why not get to know each other better this way? We already know more about each other than they do when they first meet.”

“Ok, why not?” I shrugged and took his hand. It’s supposed to work out in the end, right? We are soul mates, our keys prove that our lives are weaved together, so it must be meant to be.