“I’m not really sure about this one.” I sighed, turning around in front of the fitting room mirror. I studied my figure and the outline of the dress with skeptical eyes. The more I looked at the dress, the more I wanted to buy it, but the more I told myself that I didn’t need it. This is why I’m not good at shopping.
“Come now, let me take a look.” Cupid spoke to me from outside, sitting on a lonely bench outside my door. Although no men were allowed back here, the worker didn’t seem eager to tell such a cute face no. He was like my little side-kick, my lucky charm. He had walked through the store, grabbing clothes off each rack in the store, throwing them at me and forcing me to try outfits on for about a half an hour now. I couldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy trying on such pretty clothes, but I guess I shouldn’t of suggested the mall as a place to go. It was a tiny bit awkward modeling for him, I’ve never gotten so much attention from a guy before.
I adjusted the straps, hesitated, but turned the door knob and walked out. I immediately frowned, nervous at his reaction, although I knew he was too kind to ever be negative. Cupid looked me up and down and smiled, crossing his arms and leaning back on his seat.
“I’d have to say that this one is my favorite so far. Why do you feel so unsure about it?” he asked, glancing up at a woman who exited her fitting room and walked past us. She would look so much better in this than me.
“Well, when would I ever wear something like this?” I tried to argue.
“You never know, you might just need it one day.” He’s such the optimist. My opposite.
“It costs a fortune for a ‘might need’ though.”
“I would love to purchase it for you.” he pouted.
“It’s okay, don’t worry about it. I don’t think shopping is such a good idea. Why don’t we just go home?”
I just wasn’t really in the mood, I couldn’t really help it.
“Whatever you would like to do, I’m just here for the ride.”
I swallowed hard. I wonder what he was thinking. Probably thinking I was annoying and that he had wished that he hadn’t of met me. It must not be too fun to just follow me around everywhere, trying to cheer me up. I don’t want to think of what I would be doing right now if he wasn’t with me. Probably more crying.
“Are you sure? You can seriously do whatever you want, you don’t have to follow me around.” I admitted, walking over and sitting down next to him on the bench.
“Then I will seriously take you home.” Cupid opened up the fitting room door for me and waited for me to change, all with that I-know-I-can-always-get-what-I-want-with-you smile. He had a pushy way of doing things that didn’t give me much time to think. Sighing, I went inside to change. I changed into my comfortable clothes and grabbed all the hangers scattered around the room and tried my best to match them to the right clothes.
When leaving the store, I noticed a pair of girls eying Cupid as if he was something delicious to eat. Walking alongside him and seeing that, it felt sort of strange. His godly appearance couldn’t be helped though, I bet he didn’t even notice. He seemed as oblivious to the outside world as a little child who was exploring somewhere new. I was surprised, I thought he would be familiar with the human world by now, having visited every year for such a long time. But as long as he was with me this year, I didn’t mind how little he knew.
Walking with him was awkward, but comforting at the same time. He was refreshing, different than other people I usually hung out with. I didn’t exactly expect him to be like them, but still. He felt real but unreal at the same time. As if he was a ghost. Not a dream or an illusion like I disproved earlier, but a loyal and persistent phantom that knows how to treat a girl well without realizing it.
Cupid nibbled at a pretzel innocently. I caught myself swooning for the third time today.
As much as I wanted to stay in this dreamland with this god buying me unsalted pretzels with a side of cheese and avoiding all social aspects to my life whatsoever, I couldn’t help but feel a little lonely with this ghost. My phone vibrated in my pocket a few times this morning, but I didn’t feel the need to answer. I missed being around my friends, but they didn’t want to spend their whole day with someone as moody as I was right now. They had other things on their schedule. Even so, smiling is easy around my best friends when I need it. I doubt Monica or Bri would mind hanging out with me, I thought about asking them, but now, I have this new guest in my life who I needed to escort around. I would feel bad leaving him alone and I would probably regret it as soon as I did, so I decided to spend some time with him instead. Maybe I should introduce him to them? Probably later on, when I knew him better myself.
Another vibration from my pocket. I just answered Bri a few seconds ago, she couldn’t answer that fast. I pulled it out, saw the name light up on the screen and my stomach did a summersault.
I knew what it would say, but I checked it anyways. Just a simple “hey”. What else did I expect? “I made a mistake, I still love you, please take me back?”. Never would I see those words together in the same text message coming from him. Never at all.
“Is something wrong?” Cupid asked, swallowing a bite of pretzel, coming up close next to me and looking over my shoulder at the text. Although my privacy was invaded, I showed him my phone so he could see. He recognized the name. “Are you going to answer?”
“You could call him.” he suggested.
“That would be stupid.” I said flatly, shutting off my phone.
“And so is ignoring him and acting like he doesn’t bother you, don’t you agree?”
“Why should I answer him? He is a jerk, he knows it bothers me.” I shoved my phone in my pocket and didn’t want to look at it anymore. Cupid was quiet as we walked toward the entrance to the mall.
It was a long silence between us as we got back into the car. Cupid was slow to climb into the passenger seat and I hesitated starting the engine.
“He may not have treated you the way you would have liked, but maybe talking to him will help.”
I let that sink in a while. “Help what?”
“You wouldn’t feel like crying whenever you sense any connection to him.”
“You would cry too if you were hurt this bad. You wouldn’t really know what it felt like.”
“I wouldn’t?” he questioned.
I was going to start the car, but stopped.
“Just because I’m not human, I wouldn’t know what pain is? I’ve been in love before also, quite definitely, a long time ago, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. I know what you’re feeling, although I might not feel it at just this second. Heartbreak is a pain that haunts everyone, not just you. I may be the greatest match-maker of the universe, but I would know more than anyone what that feels like. Love isn’t always about smiles and joy, its a double-edged sword. Pain and happiness is split both ways. You have to experience both to truly know what it’s all about.” Cupid explained to me thoroughly and thoughtfully.
Cupid was not only spontaneous, he was also completely corny. Although that sounded like something I would read off a self-help article online, I knew it was genuine and true.
I took a second to mull it over.
“I didn’t realize you were involved in the business you worked in. Isn’t that risky?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Every thing’s a long story. I’ve got nothing better to do.”
“Maybe I’ll bore you with it later. But that was thousands of years ago. If I can survive after hundreds and hundreds of years, I know you can too. Hopefully not in hundreds of years, but you know what I mean.”
“I’m sorry for getting angry at you.” I blurted.
“I’d rather you take it out on me than anyone else.” Aw.
“I’m just all...ugh right now, I don’t mean it, I hope you know that. I’m sorry, Cupid.” I admitted, feeling the remorse finally take over me. There was another silence for a while.
“What helps you not feel so ‘ugh’?” Cupid asked, looking over, bringing some humor to our previous dampened spirits. I, although, couldn’t think of much of an answer. I made faces at the steering wheel while I tried to think.
“Do you like chocolate?” Cupid offered.
I chuckled, smiled at myself, then looked over at Cupid just as he did the same.
My new corny, godly best friend.
“Which flavor would you like?” I asked Cupid, opening up our newly bought ice cream cartons, counting four of them on the kitchen counter. I searched the kitchen drawer for some big spoons.
“Surprise me.” he called from inside the living room. I grabbed a brownie dark chocolate carmel swirl and a rocky road and almost danced into the room, freezing my hands off carrying our chocolaty goodness. Cupid was sitting on the floor in front of the couch and I sat down on a corner of the couch, too shy to sit any closer to him. I entered right as the beginning previews started to show up.
From the mall, we stopped by a Blockbuster and I completely wiped out my wallet on cheesy chick flicks and romantic comedies that I have always wanted to see. Cupid showed me a few titles I haven’t heard of and reassured me that they were masterpieces. Afterward, I took him to the grocery store by the house and bought at least a ton of ice cream.
Cupid’s eyes were were glued to the TV screen, fascinated with the cinematic portrayals of his personal field of work. He gulped down his two cartons of ice cream during the first two movies. I gave him the second half of my second carton and he wolfed that down too. Gods and their giant stomaches.
Morning slipped into the afternoon, and afternoon became nighttime quickly. We watched movie after movie, none of them getting old. All of them were different, but had the same happy endings. The boy gets the girl, they live happily ever after. They hug, they kiss, they laugh, they promise to love each other always. It showed a less painful version of love; the cleaner, prettier edge of the sword. The edge that promised a second chance, made sure it would always be there for you, made life so much better. It rewarded two unknowing people who worked hard, who lost, regained and perhaps lost again. Not all love was unrequited or broken or lost. I missed that edge of the sword of love.
And about near the end of the fourth movie, I felt an unexpected change of heart. Something about the movies or the day in general changed me.
“Cupid?” I almost whispered to him.
“Hm?” he replied, not taking his eyes off the movie.
“That deal?” I asked, nervous.
“What about it?”
I clutched the blanket around me tighter and slouched off the couch to sit next to him on the floor. When he noticed me, he looked me dead in the eyes, curious.
“Are you still offering it?”
“The one where I help you fall in love?”
“Yeah. Do you think I can try it?” I gulped.
“Well, are you sure? I thought you didn’t want to.”
“I think I changed my mind.” I spoke slowly.
“I want to make sure this is what you want, there’s no need to rush things, you know.”
“I can try, right?”
Cupid just looked at me. I panicked, wondering if I could really do this. Was I so sure? Would getting over him be possible for me? But, still, is any of this possible? I mean, if I can be friends with Cupid, getting over some stupid guy who I know will never love me anymore would be cake, right? No need to keep trying and trying and getting nowhere. It’s not worth it anymore. I need to get a life back.
“Sarah, I don’t know. You seem pretty sad.”
“I’m tired of being sad, tired of crying and dreaming of what could have happened. I’m done with him, I mean nothing to him anymore and I want to forget him. I want to be like one of those girls.” I looked over at the glowing TV screen just as the main characters were about to share a passionate kiss. “If finding someone new is the only way I can get over him, I want to try and I want you to help me.” Deep breath.
Cupid’s face flashed a mix of emotions before his eyes met mine again. I sat in silence awaiting my verdict.
“Let’s give it a shot, then.”
Cupid’s grin seemed to grow even bigger than I have seen it yet, if that was even possible either. I fell forward, gave my friend an awkward one-arm hug and thanked him.
“You’re a strange girl.” Cupid commented, nudging my arm.
I nudged him back, collected the empty ice cream cartons and headed toward the kitchen. I did a little dance while I threw the trash away and Cupid chuckled.
Just as I was about to walk back into the living room, I heard the growl of an engine outside.
Uh oh. She’s back sooner than I hoped.
“Cupid, I think you should go. Like, now.”
“Are you going to bed?” He picked up the blanket and started to fold it.
“No, but my mom’s home.”
“And you’d rather me not meet her.”
“Sorta...” Cupid pouted. “But later, promise. It’s just she gets all grumpy when she gets home from work, I want her to meet you at a better time.”
“Some other day then?”
Cupid walked over to me. The engine went silent and I heard the car door close.
“Thank you for tonight, really.” I sighed.
“You’re stuck with me all week now, sweetheart.” Cupid punched my arm playfully. I fought the urge to hug him. It was hard to do.
“Good night, Sarah.” Cupid stepped back and started to walk backwards toward the back screen door.
And as if it were some some peculiar dream, I caught Cupid slipping out the door just as my mom opened the front door. I closed my eyes and put a hand to my chest, feeling excitement thump in my chest. An excitement I haven’t felt in a long, long time.