Sophie held her breath as tightly as she could, trying to suppress a burp while she carefully drew on her eyeliner. This date was important. She has to get this right the first time; if she didn’t leave within the next 14 minutes, she was going to be late. Sophie knew how the traffic could be going to this place.
After a few more seconds, she finished her eyeliner, finally releasing the belch long contained in her stomach, and sending it out into the world.
Sometimes she was disgusted with herself, thinking about what other people would think if they could see her now, burping loudly in the bathroom, looking like an eternal work in progress.
She studied her appearance, thinking of the many things she would change, and some things liked.
She saw her complexion was dark but her hair light brown. She had dark, almost black eyes surrounded by olive skin. Her nose was small and upturned with a little spray of barely visible freckles that traveled out towards her high cheekbones but stopped there. It was an elegant but youthful face that many guys had told her was mysterious to them. It was those dark eyes; they looked as if they were hiding something. Whatever was behind those eyes, they never truly knew.
You could tell a lot about her from the things one saw from the outside. Her apartment, for example, was like a modern art museum. Though a bit messy, it was mostly neat for an artist’s living space. She seemed to have everything together.
The second she got out of high school and into the real world, she knew her dream was to be an artist. After searching through different majors, she fell upon graphic designing.
She had always loved drawing, why not have someone pay her to do it even if it was on a computer.
Her wise choice in majors paid off when she got a job at a design firm, eventually working her way up to being one of the lead designers after a few years of hard finger cramping work led to her growing the small firm into a highly successful multi-million dollar company. With this prominent position, Sophie could afford luxuries like the $3,000 per month 8th-floor apartment she lived in, and the black Mercedes she drove to work every day.
Sophie had obtained these luxuries because she knew what she wanted. Sophie knew that graphic design was her passion, so she became a graphic designer. She knew that she had a soul mate out there, waiting for her, and she was determined to find him. The thought of being with this person was what got her out of bed in the morning. It was her gospel; she believed that her soul would reach fulfillment once she found the other soul she belonged to. It was a very cliche viewpoint on life and love, but Sophie clung to it like a child to her pacifier. Although she’d dated many guys, only a few had stuck out.
In the past 12 years, she’d had 5 boyfriends, and then broke up with 5 boyfriends. The last thing she wanted to do was to settle on someone whom she was not 100% sure was her soul mate. The yin to her yang. The one person the universe gave you for all of eternity. The funny thing for Sophie was that she didn’t dwell in the past. For the most part, she tried living in the present, loving yourself, and not relying on anyone for one’s self-worth. Sophie had been through many shitty relationships and withstood people, bringing her down for their gain. But Sophie had always seen herself beyond the ignorant thoughts of others. And based her worth on who she was, and who she could be with some hard work. Believing in soulmates went against everything she found in her religion of spiritual love. But everyone needs a dream to keep them going right?
These very dreams were currently swirling around her head as she put her makeup on, hoping that this guy would be the one. But being a pretty girl with deep pockets, she was going on so many dates she hadn’t spent a Friday night in her apartment alone in months. She was starting to think eating ice cream and watching river dale in her leggings with no bra on was a better way to spend her time than going out with guys. She continued putting the finishing touches on her makeup, trying to keep it simple, just enough to make her look presentable to the people she’d see out in public. And of course the guy. She had seen his pictures. This guy John was pretty cute, she had to admit.
Sophie looked down at her phone; it was 6:14. Time to go, after her makeup was done, of course.
Arriving at the restaurant almost 15 minutes early, Sophie had already bought a $60 bottle of wine for her and John’s table. She hoped he didn’t think it was too much. Oh no, what if he thought she was an alcoholic? He had mentioned he liked wine but did he want to drink on the first date?
“Stop it!” She told herself out loud. Now wasn’t the time to have a panic attack.
Even though part of her still felt Netflix was the better way to spend the night. There were a few shows she’d like to catch up, she thought wistfully to herself.
Before she could dump a wad of cash on the table and cowardly run out with the $60 wine bottle and watch Netflix alone, John walked in.
She could tell he was nervous, by the way, he awkwardly walked in and hugged her like a newborn baby gazelle bumping into things. Sophie didn’t care about that; this guy was gorgeous, and for once, even better than the online pictures.
He had short curly blonde hair that almost covered his eyes, which were so blue they looked like two little blue gems stuck to his face. He was clean-shaven with a Chris Hemsworth jawline. Even his body looked similar to the mighty Thor, at least the parts of his body she could see.
She secretly wondered where he was hiding his hammer when they sat down after their awkward hug and discussed what they might order from the menu. Regardless of what they chose to eat, Sophie was just grateful that he was drinking wine with her, especially since she was almost done with her first glass. After they ordered, there they sat, for hours, talking about themselves at first. Going through the usual, “how many pets do you have,” or the, “Oh wow you like cake too? We have so much in common,” type of things that usually make up the beginning of any first date. Getting that out of the way, they moved on to discussing ideas of the intellectual type. She’d never talked with a guy like this before. It was invigorating. They argued about moral ethics, Steve Jobs, and which Star Wars movie was the best. They made each other laugh. Sophie had never laughed this much in her entire life.
They finished dinner, and she took him to her apartment where they talked some more, and of course, had even more wine. Once the last bottle was gone, Sohpie couldn’t stand it any longer and kissed him. At first, he laughed, then kissed her back. With the help of the wine, it became more passionate, and before she knew it, she was waking up the next morning with the god of thunder laying next to her in bed.
She smiled at him while he drooled on her favorite pillow. Her soul felt whole for the first time in her entire life.
The following month was like if the movies Cinderella and Shrek had a love child together. A romantic happy ending super baby. That was Sophie’s life with John; she felt pure genuine happiness. As if every waking moment was exciting and full of this ecstatic type of energy, and John was the fuel for that ecstasy.
In the first month, they practically lived together. Some nights John would come over to her place, and some nights, Sophie would go over to his. John’s apartment wasn’t as posh as hers. He was a teacher and didn’t make nearly as much but still lived in a decent complex. She didn’t care what he did for a living, though. John could be a hobo, but she would always come over and cuddle and sleep with him anyway.
The second month they stopped fucking long enough to get to know each other. Sophie then began to see past his looks and touch his mind and his soul.
They told each other secrets, both silly and dark. The darker ones, Sophie felt, only tightened the bond between their souls.
Sophie even told him about her past relationships and how she’d never fallen in love.
John asked her, “well, do you think you’ll fall in love with me?”
Sophie pondered and looked at him in his bright blue eyes and said in a whisper, “maybe I already have.”
By the third month’s end, they’d already moved in together, John moving in with Sophie that is. However, that fairytale feeling never wore off for Sophie. She even planted a white rose out on her balcony. It was beautiful, and it reminded her of John. The way it glowed in the sunlight, how beautiful it was to her even though most people loved red or yellow ones.
Sophie loved living with John, though. It all felt so new and wonderous. She could feel something more profound than just the honeymoon stage they were going through.
Even when they started to have new couple arguments about where the towels should be stored, furniture arrangements and all the other dumb, pointless shit they would argue about. They would makeup, and the feelings would just come back.
After a while, the feelings became a part of who she was. She was John’s girlfriend. It was like a never-ending crush, so she always found herself pursuing him.
This passion, however, brought out some of the more sadistic feelings of love. Sometimes she’d catch herself being afraid that she’d come home one day and find him sleeping with another girl or get tired of being with her. When she first began feeling this, she was emotionally winded. In all her life she’s never cared if a guy cheated on her. It was something she’d never worried about before. Typically Sophie didn’t worry about anything other than work. She had never liked a guy this much until John.
Whenever he was in a bad mood, she secretly wondered if he was furious with her. Then she’d try to figure out why he would be upset with her. What was she doing wrong? And later try desperately to make him happy again.
It put knots in her stomach throughout the day if she thought it about it too much. Forcing herself to be happy through it all was her best solution.
Now it was the 8th month, and these knots only seemed to be getting worse. Sophie felt as though she were trapped in a cycle of paranoia and euphoria. She’d become paranoid that he didn’t love her anymore, then feel euphoric when she realized the things she was afraid of were merely in her head. Of course, he still cared about her, she thought, he was a part of her soul, and she was part of his — the yin to her yang.
Through these deep spiritual feelings, she realizes that she had finally fallen in love. For she genuinely could not imagine life without him despite their white rose beginning to wilt outside on the balcony.
Sophie looked into the mirror and saw her same face but with different eyes. Her irises seemed to be emanating a different aura than before. Where that calm certainty had been, there was nothing but fear. The fear of losing John getting upset. Any little thing he did now worried her.
Why isn’t he texting me back? Is he mad at me? Is he going to get angry at me? What if he was going to leave her? She couldn’t let him go like that. That’s not how this was supposed to work. All she wanted was to go back to who she had been before John. At peace, not with all these negative emotions clouding her mind with never-ending storms of anxiety and cold unbearable fear. Who am I? She kept asking herself every time the fear of losing him started to constrict her heart. The heart that before rarely beat faster than it needed to.
The 9th month she and John talked. The truth came out.
“Listen, Sophie, I’m having a hard time handling this shit,” said John.
“I’ve had this shit stored up for months now, but I gotta tell you, I’m tired of this.”
Her heart sunk like an anchor in a kiddie pool.
“I can’t handle not knowing what you’re going to do on a day to day basis. I feel like I don’t know whether I’m going to meet a happy you or a crazy sad paranoid you whenever you come home.”
Sophie was pleasantly surprised to hear this and told him she felt precisely the same way.
After they both confessed their feelings about the unpredictability between them, they reconciled and promised each other to change and understand one another.
Sophie felt so much relief. The anchor had been lifted and put back onto the ship where it belonged. The days after the talk began to get better after they started to communicate. The more they remembered to tell each other how they were feeling, the easier it became. She began to feel the way she did before John, worry, and carefree; living in the present.
Before she knew it, the decaying white rose had died, but soon after she’d planted a new one. This unique rose had a smaller amount of petals but was just as beautiful. At least to Sophie it was.
A year passed by, and Sophie was still happy as long as she was able to tell John how she felt. Laying down her problems and insecurities seemed to keep their relationship at peace. To Sophie, this was a happy, healthy thing she and John had. She would come home from work and tell John about her day, and everything else that was going on inside her head. John would listen to her every day without saying much. Sophie didn’t need for him to say anything back; she just wanted him to know what she was feeling. These talks became a part of their daily routine. Sometimes John would talk about his day, but only for a second because Sophie needed to tell him that his texts needed to be happier so she wouldn’t worry that he might be upset.
The more she told him, the better she felt about the relationship. Things were just as they should be, so she kept telling herself. Their souls were sealed together, never to be severed.
One weekend Sophie had to go on a company business trip out of town and was gone for 3 days. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. By Saturday, John wasn’t responding to any of her texts or calls. Even though she sent him 34 text messages, none of them got a response back, heaving Sophie into a panic, also though she kept telling herself he probably just dropped his phone in the sink again, she had a feeling something was wrong.
When she finally got home from the trip, her apartment was half empty. All of John’s stuff was gone. Her white rose had moved out of her apartment. The only thing she found of his was a note that said:
Sophie, I’m sorry this had to end. I do care about you very much, but our relationship was becoming too toxic. I felt like I always had to walk on glass with you, and that couldn’t have been good for you either. I feel like this was the best thing for us. By Sophie
As she read the words he wrote for her, Sophie had a terrible anxiety attack. She spent the next several minutes pacing around her apartment, trying to figure out what to do. There had to be something she could do; she had to get him. He couldn’t just leave her like this. If only she could talk to him.
Eventually, she settled on calling him on the phone. Doing this, she discovered that John had blocked her number. She felt as if her soul was now in the dark, it couldn’t see or hear anything anymore, and it didn’t know how to get back to where the light was. The light was John, and all she wanted to do was tell him how she felt.
Sophie eventually gave up and stepped out on to her balcony for some air. She cried there for hours, next to the white rose that reminded her so much of John. The bright white petals of the formally beautiful rose, now beginning to wrinkle with age.
The first day after he left, Sophie stayed home from work, with no calls from her to explain her absence. She simply did not show up.
Instead, she stayed at home and paced around her apartment all day, periodically taking sitting breaks. Usually, because she had started crying, not cause she was tired.
The Sophie of before, the one before John, was beyond lost. Her feelings for John had murdered her. They had erased the positive and beautiful way she used to see life. Every ounce of peace that kept her grounded as a person was destroyed. The ability to love herself unconditionally, the whole foundation of her life, was gone. The only thing she could think about was John.
There had to be something she could do about this — any actions she could take.
She tried sending him texts, but he’d blocked her number, she tried posting something on social media that he could see, but he’d blocked her on everything. There was no way to get to him, no way to tell him she was sorry. That all she wanted was to see him again. And that she was so so terrified that she’d never get that chance.
Sophie’s anxiety eventually turned into sadness. Unending depression. Nothing seemed to make her happy. Not even a whole bottle of wine could cheer her up.
Sophie kept telling herself she could move on, but she couldn’t. Their souls were still together; somehow, she could feel it. There was no way Sophie could ignore that. No matter how much she tried to bring back the way she stayed peaceful in the pre-John days, she couldn’t let go.
Sophie eventually lost her job a week later after not showing up for 3 weeks.
But Sophie couldn’t go to work; her mind couldn’t concentrate on anything else but John. So working wasn’t an option for her. It wasn’t going to help her get John back.
Every second, her mind wondered if she’d ever see him again; if her white rose would ever return.
She thought about why he left, how long had he been planning to go? But most of all, her mind wondered how she had fucked everything up so bad. She’d finally fallen in love, yet she’d lost it because she had been so in love. She’d just loved him too damn much, and it had overwhelmed him. Yes, that was it.
Despite the pain, she didn’t love him less as the days went by. She only developed this deep, dreamy longing for him that intensified each day.
Somehow, the rose was becoming whiter.
One afternoon Sophie’s fearful curiosity got the better of her, and she drove down to the local Verizon store and got a new phone number.
The minute she arrived at her apartment, she activated the number and called John.
Her hands were shaking as she heard the ring blaring in her ear. She was terrified, but she couldn’t help it. Sophie had to talk to him. There had to be some way to get him back or at least let him know she wanted to work things out. Like an addict needs heroin shooting up their veins, she needed to talk to him.
John eventually answered.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hey John, it’s Sophie. I’ve missed you so much-”
“Please don’t call me. It’s not good for you; you need to move on.”
Sophie was speechless. Then he hung up.
It felt exactly like the day he’d left her. This time Sophie left her place and went for a walk outside, trying to shake the fear of never talking to him again, this blinding primal fear that was making her walk around aimlessly in circles like an animal in a cage.
How could John say those things? Didn’t he still feel that their souls were always connected? Why was he so fucking stupid?
She wanted to hurt him back. Make him feel the same way she was feeling right now.
So she went into her bedroom and pulled an old pistol her dad had given her when she first moved out. She loaded the gun with one bullet and cocked it so the round would enter the chamber. It was ready to fire now.
The bullet was for her; she would kill herself to get revenge on John. Make him feel guilty for the rest of his life, for what he did to her, and denying the love they had.
Sophie let this idea fizzle about in her head until she calmed down a bit and began to think of things a little differently.
Sophie didn’t want to die; she wanted to be with John.
Sophie also realized that if she just offed herself now, he might never know about it, especially since he blocked her and her friends on social media. So what would the point be in killing herself if John never finds out about it?
Sophie figured, sending him a text would work. Just telling him that she was going to shoot her self in the head would more than likely get his attention. And maybe, just maybe he’d come back and try to save her. It would make him realize that he loved her and wanted to keep her safe from harm even if that harm was her.
So she went into the bathroom and fixed herself up. In the past month, she’d let her appearance go, as in she looked like a hobo pigeon lady, but without all the cute pigeons. It was just her, her crazy hair, no makeup, unshaven legs, and the smell of year-old onions.
So she cleaned up, shaved, and straightened her hair.
Sophie even put on makeup. Just like she had on their first date.
Looking in the mirror, she observed her beauty. Sophie was the girl that every guy wanted to sleep with, the girl John would fall back in love with once he came to his senses. It was their destiny. And Sophie didn’t care what it took to fulfill that destiny anymore. Their souls were still attached; she just had to reattach them physically. Put things back where they belonged.
Picking up her phone with chewed up fingernails, (perhaps she’d fix that later), she texted John.
Sophie, now adorning a long black dress and her most exquisite jewelry, walked out on to her balcony overlooking the busy street below. The fantastic array of sharp obnoxious sounds of the city streets reminded her of a symphony. Those and the flashing lights calmed her nerves. Something about listening to the people making all that noise, and walking around those dingy neon lights made her remember she wasn’t the only person in the world. There were other worrying minds out there with their problems just like her. Still, she had to remain focused.
Her gaze turned to the white rose, sitting in front of her. Still so white that the colors of the city lights covered it like a projector on to a blank canvas.
Her white rose. Hers. And only hers.
She looked down at her phone. It said 8:26. She’d sent the message to John about 20 minutes ago, which meant that her rose could be here any second.
Sophie knew that she didn’t want to kill herself. Perhaps she wouldn’t do it at all. Her mind for the past several hours had been the setting for a romantic fantasy where John confessed his love for her, she then threw down her gun, and they embraced in pure passion. Like they were always meant to from the moment God created their souls. Sophie clung to this belief in her mind with a tight grip. She’d believed in this since she was a little girl. And that wasn’t about to change because he’d left her.
Her thoughts snapped when she heard the door open behind her, and a man stepped through the doorway. It was John.
The second the city lights illuminated John’s terrified face, she felt relieved. He’d come to save her after all; the beginning of a new love story, reborn.
“Sophie, put that gun down, let’s go inside, maybe talk a bit.”
She just looked at him, the barrel of the gun pressed up against her neck, tears streaming down her face. It was so beautiful, all she’d dreamed of since he’d left her. Him wanting to talk and fix things.
“Why should I?” Sophie wanted him to beg for her to come back to him. She needed that before she could put the gun down. And if she didn’t hear it...
“Why? You wanna know why? Because doing this is stupid. You shouldn’t do this to yourself. You’re worth something okay?”
Sophie’s heart fluttered. John said she was worth something. They for sure going to be together now. She would put the gun down; they’d embrace, and passionately kiss as they should.
“You think I’m worth it?” Sophie asked.
“Yes, of course!” replied John, moving closer to Sophie. He was only about 5 feet away from her now, but she still had her finger on the trigger.
“Worth everything to you?” Sophie asked him.
“What?” Asked John, surprised by her question.
“Do you still love me?” She asked him. Now dreading what his answer might be.
“Yes.” John moves a step closer, now becoming more afraid of how much pressure her finger was putting on that trigger.
“Do you still want me?” Now she was really going out on a limb.
John looked mortified as he seemed unable to spit out an answer.
“Yes or no, John? Do you still want me?”
He looked longingly at her, with pity in his eyes. She looked deep with those windows to his soul, tear-filled, but covered with the lights of the city dancing upon them.
He glanced from her eyes to the gun and back until his face morphed from pity into one disgust.
“Is that why you’re doing this, to get me back? That’s sad, Sophie. I’m sorry, but that’s sad.”
When she initially heard those words, Sophie thought she’d feel sadness, but instead, she felt rage. Pure, unholy passion. The anger filled her with a power she didn’t know she possessed. How dare this mother fucker say that after everything he’d done to her, just leaving without even saying a fucking goodbye. And now she’d gone to the trouble of committing suicide for him so that he would love her again.
In an instant, before John could even realize what was happening, Sophie snatched the gun out from under her chin and pointed it at John’s chest.
Without any hesitation, she shot the round right into his heart. The bullet coursed through his body, severing an artery that spewed his blood everywhere as he looked shockingly at Sophie before collapsing to the ground. That look he gave her she would never forget: pure pain, surprising pain at that.
She felt alone up there. As if John’s soul was now gone, and their connection with it.
Sophie didn’t want to leave or walk away, though. The last thing she wanted was to go back into the world, knowing what she’d done.
An hour past and Sophie was still standing there with the gun in her hand, staring down at John.
Her ex-boyfriend had died several minutes ago from blood loss, as you could see from the pool of blood surrounding Sophie’s high heeled shoes that resembled a small island surrounded by crimson water.
She stopped staring down at John to look over her balcony to see several cop cars down below parked in the street. Lights flashing as a few well-armed cops entered her building, undoubtedly to find the source of the gunshot.
She knew they’d shoot her if they found her with the gun in her hand, so she dropped it at her feet.
The old firearm, clacking around upon the ground splashing blood up into the air, eventually resting within the red pool by Sophie’s feet.
Her eyes no longer rested upon John, but the white rose. The gleaming whiteness of its petals now painted with spatters of John’s blood. It looked prettier now to her, an attractive mix of the contrasting colors, red and white.
Sophie heard loud knocking coming from the front door of her apartment; the police were trying to enter. Sophie knew it wouldn’t be long before they let themselves in.
She turned towards the edge and leaped over the balcony, her body now free-falling rapidly towards the sidewalk below. The lights and sounds surrounding her became blurred, and the wind whipped violently around her as she fell towards the ground one story at a time.
However, all Sophie could think of was how her bloodstained white rose reminded her of the roses in Alice in Wonderland. The ones the eccentric queen of hearts had made Alice paint. It was a silly notion, the idea of painting a rose. But that was the point right? She thought. The queen was absolutely crazy. Completely insane. Only someone who was indeed out of their fucking minds would paint a white rose red.
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