Something About a Bottle and a Soul

The wine is what started it.  After a strenuous day in the office, she was finally home and relaxing, alone as usual. The bottle wasn’t anything special, it was just simply the closest red blend her hands landed on. If more attention was paid, she might have noticed the message handwritten in a silver sharpie over a blank space on the teal-colored label of the bottle. It caught her eye only after laying back on the couch to catch her favorite team in a playoff game.

What is this? she thought, lazily reaching over to grab the bottle.

Remember when youre feeling down, that planes take off against the wind. Call me. ###-###-####

Strange—who writes a message and leaves their number for a complete stranger to call them? Maybe it was an ad campaign the wine company was doing. The laptop was on the other side of her dark mahogany coffee table, but her current position—sprawled askew on the cocoa brown sectional—was so comfortable that getting up did not feel like a viable option.

A half hour later, the game finished and the message was still running circles around her mind.  It couldn’t hurt to do a little research on the wine brand, just to satisfy her wondering. After a couple minutes of scrolling through web pages, it was clear that this was not a marketing scheme. It was weird, but probably the result of some teen playing pranks in the local grocery store. She was tempted to go back and see if there were other bottles with messages. There were probably twenty bottles with the same message and number, was there any need to actually go and look? But curiosity got the best of her, and it wasn’t like there was anything better to do that night.

The store was around the corner and open for another two hours.  So, she went back and went through what felt like a million wine bottles, carefully picking up each one and examining it. At least 5 employees offered to help, but what if one of them put the message on the bottle as a joke, and was simply waiting for someone to be gullible enough to seriously inquire about it? Not any other bottle had a message on it. What a fucking coincidence. How is it that she picked up the only bottle with a message or, if there were more, how come her bottle was the last one?

By the time she got home, the decision to call the number had been made, because what was the worst thing that could happen? The person who wrote the message didn’t truly think anyone would call the number, did they?

“Hello,” a man’s voice answered.

“Why?” she asked forcefully.

“Why?” the voice on the phone repeated with a hint of amusement. “You’re calling about the message on the wine bottle, huh?”


The man let out a deep sigh of what sounded like relief. “Good, I thought you would never call. I have been waiting for what feels like forever.”

“Heh… you’ve been waiting—how long is forever?”

“Hmm, about eight years, three months, two days and some change.”

“Woah, that’s a while.” The possibility that he was a lunatic ran through her mind.

“Yeah, tell me about it, I’ve been putting that message on a bottle for over 8 years now and you are the one to finally call. We must be soulmates.” The voice on the other line sounded deep, melodic, and serious.

“Soulmates?! No, no. I’m just a curious person who saw a number on a wine bottle and called it.” She laughed nervously.

“Are you the only curious person in the city?”


“But you’re the only curious person who called the number.”

There was no background noise on his end, and the phone sounded so clear that it almost felt like they were sitting on her couch having this conversation.

“I don’t know for sure that I am. Anyway, why have you been putting that message on bottles?”

“You are, I’m telling you that no one else has called.”

“But how do I know you’re telling the truth?”

There was moment of silence on the other line.

“You don’t,” he stated evenly

“Exactly! So—“
“Can I meet you?” he asked, interrupting her mid-sentence. “Take you out on a date?”

“Uh, shouldn’t you ask if I’m married, or seeing people, or something like that? And you didn’t answer my question!”

“Listen, just one meeting,” he pleaded, ignoring her comment. “It can be a lunch date, if you’re too nervous for dinner. I’ll answer your questions then.”

“Who are you, anyway?!”

“If you let me take you out, then you’ll know when we meet.”

Why wait for a date to find out who this guy was? That seemed more careless than risky. Who wanted to end up like those girls on the ID Channel? Killed because they decided to meet some stranger from a wine bottle. But how many times does something like this happen in one’s lifetime? What was life if it wasn’t spent living and sometimes being a little careless?

“Don’t you want to know who I am before you take me out anywhere?”

“I know who you are.”

“Who am I?”

“My soulmate.” He stated this like he was telling a five-year-old what one plus one equals.

Pausing, she thought, Nervous wasn’t the right word. What was his name, what if he was some psychopath serial killer? But the business had been keeping her occupied this past year; she barely did anything other than work. A bit of adventure was well deserved, if not needed, and a date with this guy was probably not a bad start.  It would have to be some place where there were enough people around to call for help but not too many people that it felt overcrowded.

“Sunflowers,” she breathed quietly into the phone.


“I like sunflowers. We can meet at the sunflower maze on Saturday afternoon.”

“Perfect!” His smile radiated over the phone. “I’ll bring food and wine.”

“Okay, cool.”

“It’s a date!”

A grin danced over her lips. “Yeah, I guess it is.”


Waking up Saturday morning, excitement and nervousness plagued her mind. All week she thought about just not showing up. They didn’t know each other’s names, or what each other looked like. It was also possible that he wouldn’t show up either. What if he realized that this was a silly idea and backed out at the last minute? Every possible scenario of what could happen simultaneously ran through her mind as she got ready.  This could just be free lunch with a stranger, her last meal with a serial killer, or even the first date with her soulmate. Anxious was an understatement. The whole morning was spent searching for the perfect outfit, because if she was going to die today, death would meet her in style.