Despite my past bad mood, I was able to cheer up a little.
“That’s a cute nickname.” I mused. Initially, what came to my mind when he told me his name was the image of a little baby in a diaper and wings carrying a bow and arrow. It was a little comforting to believe that all it could take to fall in love was the correct aim of a baby, but things weren’t that easy. That, I knew for sure.
He crossed his arms on the table and pouted. “I was expecting a little more surprise than that, I suppose.” His once wise eyes transformed into melancholy ones.
“I thought, you know, humans would be a little more excited when they knew who I was. Me being me and doing what I do.” he talked past me into the distance.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, even more confused.
“You’ve never heard of me?”
“No, I don’t know you.” I was growing more impatient.
“Books? Films? Any of that sort?”
“No, my name.”
“Cupid? You’re joking. You’re not Cupid.” I smiled at his joke.
“You don’t think I’m serious?” He questioned me, with disappointment on his words. He adjusted in his chair and started to pout a little, resting his chin in his palm and his arm on the table.
“No...” I said slowly, trying to examine him further. His light chestnut hair fell almost over his uniquely blue eyes and he had an average slim structure. I have to admit - we was pretty darn cute.
His body language showed that he was genuinely disappointed that I didn’t believe him, but I don’t understand how he could be serious. He was claiming to be a figure from Roman mythology, and a god at that, not just some magical unicorn from fairy tales. I did a project on Roman gods in fifth grade. They had powers, strength far surpassing any normal human being. He lived in the Heavens, or whatever, with all his other god friends who had powers just like him. And wasn’t he supposed to be a baby? He didn’t look that special. He looked like a normal guy, as far as I knew. He wasn’t floating on a cloud or anything.
I was almost tempted to look under the table to check, but I decided against it.
How was I supposed to believe that? The sad thing is, I’m actually taking time to consider it. I think I’m not only heart-broken, but insane as well. Suddenly becoming lazy and a little tired, I gave up my efforts about arguing and pretended to go along with it. He looked so miserable when he pouted, that it almost made me feel a little bad too.
“So if you were a super magical god, why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to be up, like, there?” I pointed toward the ceiling.
Cupid sat up, removing his chin from his palm and looked up me with new eyes that contained a glint of thrill. Me considering his identity cheered him up, it seems like.
“Today marks the start of my vacation.” He replied confidently, smiling at my question, as if he had been waiting to be asked and had the answer waiting on his tongue. Looking around my shoulder, he got the attention of a waitress behind me and asked her for a coffee.
Take mental note: Gods like their coffee black with extra cream.
“Vacation?” This was becoming a little interesting.
“On Valentine’s Day, they let me walk the mortal world for a short period of time,” he stated matter-of-factly. “I wish I had more time though, this place... is much more intriguing than what I am used to.” He explained with more confidence, leaning back in his chair and looking around the restaurant, eying the pictures on the walls and the customers around us.
“‘They’?” I pressed further, getting more comfortable in my seat.
“You know, the big guys upstairs.” he laughed, returning his eye contact.
I tried to think of all the Greek and Roman gods that I had learned about to distract myself from his freaky eyes. Apollo, Mars, Zeus... Hermes...
“How do you get here? Flying? Space ship?”
He chuckled. “No, none of those silly things. It’s a big process, long story, somewhat boring, additionally, hard to explain. Next question.”
It was my turn to pout. The waitress returned with his coffee and I ordered one also.
“So you’re a ‘mortal’ now?”
“Yes, in a sense. I can walk and talk. I can even get a job,” he shrugged off his theater employee vest. “You can say that I am immortal, I am not able to die. That fact makes staying down here less of a challenge, no doubt. But, essentially mortal in your sense. Do I look mortal to you?” he asked me abruptly, taking a sip.
“Um, yeah, pretty much...I guess.”
As much as I wanted to believe this guy, or god, the pieces still weren’t fitting together and I was afraid that soon I would wake up or figure out that this was a huge joke on a reality series and I didn’t want to look stupid on TV. I trusted him with the soda, but that was about just as far as my trust would go.
“What’s the problem?” Cupid wanted to know, taking another drink.
“Well, it’s a little hard to believe.” I spoke truthfully, not wanting to upset him again.
“Just a little?”
“What’s so hard to believe?”
“Well, it’s just that aren’t you supposed to be a baby? Or a younger kid, maybe?”
“What? Gods can’t grow up?” Well... true.
“Not when I’m mortal.”
“Bow and arrows, maybe?”
“I left those back in the fifth century. I’m not a fan of violence. Most of the time, I can just touch them.” He grimaced and it he seemed as if he was remembering instances where he used arrows in the past. He raised his hand and played with his fingers, looking them over. I wanted to touch his hand and test his powers, but I felt it was safer to ask another question.
“Do you make people fall in love?”
“That’s my job. I try my best.”
“Do they ever break up afterward?”
“That’s not up to me, unfortunately.”
“How many people have you shot, err, made fall in love?”
“Hm, good question. I haven’t really been keeping track. I can tell you, it’s a lot.”
“How does it work?”
“How long are you going to interrogate me?”
Cupid just smiled.
“You make me feel like I’ve murdered someone. I was starting to actually get nervous for a second. Your questioning skills are quite intimidating.”
I took a break from questioning and drank my coffee. It was quiet for a while as we drank and looked around us in a comfortable silence. The more I let the idea of drinking coffee with a god in a Mexican restaurant, probably past my curfew on a Friday night, mush around in my head, the more it settled with me, which was pretty frightening. I liked the idea, but wanted to laugh at myself for liking it at the same time. This was all crazy.
“Why me?” I finally broke the silence.
“Why did you come to me? Were you sent to find me?”
“Heavens no,” I took a second to laugh at his pun in my mind. “I don’t know, you seemed nice, you looked like you needed someone to talk to, like I said before. Hermes handles the messages.”
“I look that desperate?”
“Do you believe me yet?” He asked playfully.
“I don’t really know. It’s just sorta... unexpected.”
“So is your cynicism.” He shot back.
“I’m not being cynical!”
“Well, it’s simple. Do you believe in love?”
“Then believe in me too.”
I paused. But love wasn’t that simple. It was painful. It’s not always as pretty as it looks.
A different waitress came by to our table and left our check on the table.
“Excuse me, but our restaurant is going to close. I’m sorry, but all of our customers have to leave now.”
“Oh, yes, of course. So sorry, Miss.” Cupid fumbled, standing up. He took a last drink of his coffee and pulled a few dollars out of his pocket. Then he looked down at me.
“Well,” Cupid started and slung his vest over his arm. He picked up his cup again. “Wow, this is great coffee. Gosh. But um. It was great meeting you. You seem like an interesting girl, but I must admit, you have horrible taste in movies.”
“Alien Diaries? It looked like a dreadful film to me. You seem to me to be like more of a One Night in Paris or My Ninja Boyfriend kind of young lady.” Cupid was talking about the shows featuring at the theater. I might of looked like the click-flick kind of girl, but not tonight. Not ever again. “That’s just my opinion. But I guess, you didn’t exactly watch the whole of it, so it doesn’t matter anyways, right?”
Thoughts of my ex seeped back into my mind.
“Good night to you.” he said, turning and leaving the table.
I saw the workers closing the blinds and quickly clearing off the tables. The lights inside were starting to flicker off as the end of the work day approached.
“Where are you going?” I demanded, getting up, grabbing my jacket and following him. “Are you leaving?”
“Yes, I believe so.”
“Do you still have ‘hotels’ here?” He spoke the word ‘hotels’ by accenting each syllable, like a child would sound out a word when he was unconfident in his reading abilities. I guess gods don’t know everything about the mortal world as well as we do. They’re too busy with their lives of power and immortality to bother learning simple survival vocabulary.
“Are you even old enough to rent a room? Do you even have an ID? You have money?”
“Um.” Cupid looked down at himself, and at his hands, clearly not understanding what I meant. I wasn’t really surprised. He must not have spent enough time down here to know how to do typical human things. Obtaining a driver’s license and knowing how to get into a night club didn’t seem to interest a vacationing mythical being. And all the other fun things you could do while being virtually immortal and having no responsibilities whatsoever in life other than to flaunt your enviable job of making people fall in love. I wonder how many people he’s told. Or met and had a conversation with while drinking black coffee with extra cream. Maybe no one believes him, not even the people he’s told before. Why would I be any different? I was perfectly fine without having him interrupt my life. Well, not fine, but whatever.
“I guess I don’t have those.” He said sadly, looking at me.
“Um, well, do you have anywhere to stay? Friends? Any of your other god friends?”
He looked even more confused. Too late in the night for jokes.
“How about a car? Do you have a car?” I made a motion with my hands like I was turning a steering wheel in case he didn’t know what that was either.
“Yes, yes I do.” He perked up a little at recognizing what I meant.
“You have that, at least.” My imagination tried to paint the scene of Cupid buying a car in my mind at a used car company. I’d have to ask how he managed that sometime.
I pulled out my cell phone to look at the time. 11:42. My mom was going to kill me if I wasn’t home soon. But what about him? What’s he going to do?
“Are you leaving also?”
“Uh, yeah, I have to be home before my Mom gets angry.” I traded my cell phone for my car keys and walked into the parking lot. “Coming?” I asked when I walked a few yards and he was still standing at the curb. Like an obedient Labrador retriever, he followed behind me to my car.
My mind was still buzzing with more questions.
“So, am I gonna see you again? Like, at all?”
I was immediately feeling a little lonely walking up to my car, knowing that I would have to go home. A sleepover would have been nice, but it was obviously too late to ask now, it was almost tomorrow. I should call up someone just to talk, but I didn’t exactly feel like talking to anyone. And my new acquaintance was easy enough to talk to, as long as we weren’t discussing the possibility of the existence of legendary gods and their travels to the mortal world. I don’t think I would mind talking to him again.
“I thought you didn’t believe in me. That makes being around you a little difficult, of no offense to you.” He answered simply, a little harsh, but altogether true. I see what he means.
“What if I did believe you?” My mouth worked faster than my brain. I felt weird saying that as soon as I said it.
“I’d say you were insane.” Cupid stepped closer, a smile playing across his divine face. “But I’d also say that you and I are now friends.” In the growing darkness of the February night, I could still see his aged eyes like sapphires in black velvet.
He smiled. I smiled. Do I even believe him? It’s probably too late not to anyways.
“Are you going to be okay? Tonight, I mean? On your own?”
“I think so.”
I gave him one long look before I climbed into my car and rolled the driver’s side window down. He leaned down to look at me.
“I really have to go home now. But when will I see you again?”
“Soon, I bet.” Cupid teased.
With that, I rolled my window back up and hesitated. I tried to figure out what I’ve said and thought about in the past hour and a half, but I couldn’t wrap my head around any of it. I think my fatigue was making me delusional.
Slowly, I pulled out and drove out of the movie plaza. As I was driving away, I saw Cupid ebb out of my sight through the rear-view mirror, still standing in the parking lot, smiling and officially starting his vacation here on Earth.
Despite my past bad mood, I was able to cheer up a little.