My husband is most certainly my soulmate, the constant North Star whose presence points me in the right direction. Well, he’s actually more of a wandering star, traveling for work nearly every week. Houston, Calgary, Paris, London, Rio …Cincinnati. All the glamourous destinations. I miss him, greatly. Oh, the family grinds on and our boys have inside jokes with me that their dad is unaware of (I’m not going to tell them here, that would spoil our fun), but it is hard. That person who makes me laugh the most, and who never asks me to help him with common core math homework, he is gone a lot. And it often feels empty.
So I have gotten myself a surrogate soulmate, for when my real one is unavailable. If I am feeling the onset of insomnia borne from loneliness, I will get out one of my Pearls Before Swine comic books by Stephen Pastis. Now, no getting on my case. I have read and appreciated fine works of literature: Steinbeck, Austen, Camus. I used to teach them, even. None of those authors reminds me for even one second of my soulmate the way this collection of comic strips does.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? No, I shall compare thee to an anthropomorphic rat, goat, pig, zebra, crocodile and the occasional lemming. This comic strip is subversive and smart and dumb and hopeful and misanthropic and silly and honest and funny. And so is my guy. I don’t get lost looking at the empty side of our bed, cast in dark shadows from my nightstand lamp. I giggle quietly for a few minutes before I set my glasses down, click off the light and burrow into my pillow to sleep peacefully. Because both my soulmate and my surrogate soulmate know how to sell a really bad pun, making me laugh every single time.