“Do you believe in soulmates?” she had asked one Friday night, while we were lying on the couch, watching Friends, the tv show.

It was an odd question, and I gave a vague ‘Dunno’ because I really didn’t. When she pressed, I smiled and jokingly said that I’d already met mine, and received a kiss.

For some question, I often found myself pondering the answer. How would you define soulmates? People predestined for each other from birth by some supernatural force? Or two people who just match each other perfectly by happenstance? All of it seemed improbable, yet the concept existed in so many disparate cultures.

Was it just wishful thinking, a fantasy crafted by humanity, victim of hopeless romanticism?

I still didn’t have an inkling, even as she held a wedding ring in both hands, fretting.

“I can’t have this!”

“Yes, you can,” I countered, smiling.

“But it’s a family heirloom! A hundred years old!”

“But you’re supposed to get it.”

She bit her lip. I smiled at the cute habit I had seen so many times before, since we were 16. I chuckled a bit at the realization that I knew everything about the girl. We’d been stuck by the hip since we were kids, being best friends. We always had Fridays together, a tradition that prevailed till the last day. During our teenage years, I’d go to her house in the night and leave her m&ms when she needed a friend. I had stuck by her, no matter what.

Even the first kiss had been something out of a fairytale.

“But still….”

“Your grandparents would have wanted you to have it. Your mom wants you to have it. Even your dad does want you to have it. Just say yes,” I sighed.

“I just….” she frowned. “You’re doing so much for me…. when it isn’t fair. Nothing about this is fair. You shouldn’t- you should be…”

I looked at the girl I’d known my entire life, the girl I loved for many years, the girl I had memorized.

“You’ve gotta remember that I’m your best friend before anything. What we had as more than that doesn’t matter anymore. All I want is to make my buddy happy.”

She smiled guiltily. “Thank you. Thank you so much….”

I smiled and kissed her forehead. “They’re waiting for you. Get your butt out of here.”

I watched as my best friend ran out of the door, remembering how we had first met; it was at a flowerfield at the park. I’d been lonely, then she came along with a handful of raspberries from her family picnic, all smiles and kindness. So shining, brilliant amongst the yellow flowers that danced in the wind.

Did I believe in soulmates? Yes. Because the love of my life had met hers.

What choice did I have but to let her go?