I still wasn’t quite accustomed to walking on two feet. I was starting to grow a respect for Sarah and her capabilities as a human. Being away from solid ground for such an interminable amount of time, gravity seemed to be my worst enemy. But lucky for me, the plates in her home were plastic so they didn’t shatter into a million pieces each and every time I dropped them on the floor. Which I have done many times. I’d say the culinary arts are not my forte.
As I was cleaning some used dishes in the sink, an oven timer informed me that my apple pie was finished. The timer was louder than I expected, and I had difficulty finding how to shut it off. Ignoring the annoying sound going off, I pulled out my baked pie and set it down on the counter. Everything was nearly finished. I think she’s going to love it.
Well, speak of the devil and he doth appear.
Sarah appeared in the kitchen doorway, yawning. She was wearing a large sweatshirt and plaid pajama pants, glowing with a natural beauty that models try to achieve in the media that she can master by just waking up and existing. She could walk around in a potato sack and still would look lovely.
“Good morning, gorgeous.”
“I thought my mom was still home or something.” she mumbled, rubbing at her eyes. She looked over at the oven that was still beeping. “Are you trying to burn the house down?”
“I apologize, I haven’t yet figured it out.” I apologized, watching as she finally shut it off and looked over at all the food I’d prepared.
“What’s all this?”
“This? Penne all’arrabbiata from Italy, this would be spanakopita from the beautiful islands of Greece and un plat de crêpes. France. I tried not to make anything too spicy, I think you’ll see they’re quite balanced in flavors. I’m still surprised I was able to find all the ingredients at the local market.”
Sarah looked at me and laughed.
“What is it?”
“You made all this? I didn’t know you were a cook.”
“Nor did I.” I said, mixing a salad with a pinch of cheese and lemon.
“And we’re going to eat all of this?”
“I was hoping so.”
“You just want me fat.”
“Of course not.”
Sarah eyed me with expectation. She was quite mysterious. No denying her stubbornness, but she was witty in a funny and harmless way. Far from boring.
“I’ll go take a shower and get dressed, okay? I’ll be back.” Sarah grabbed a glass of orange juice and I heard the padding of her socked feet retreat to her bedroom.
By the time she had finished, I had the blanket laid out and the drinks poured. In a short time, she came back out, following me outside into her backyard.
“Um, why was this in my room?” she asked, holding up the dress I had returned to the mall to purchase for her earlier this morning. I knew how much she wanted it and I thought she should have it.
“Don’t you keep things you own in your room?”
“But I don’t own this.”
“Now you do. You should put it on.” I offered, setting down some plates.
“You didn’t have to buy it though. Now I feel bad.”
“Why would you? I wanted you to have it. Little thank you for letting me stay last night.”
“Thank you.” Sarah told me, giving up arguing, leaning against the screen back door leading out to her backyard. “So what is all of this?”
“Isn’t this what they do in those movies we watched? I think I did it right.” I looked over all the dishes and made sure that all the utensils and napkins were here to use. Yes, yes, and yes.
“It looks really good. I’m really happy about all of this.”
“Join me?” I smiled, handing her a glass of tea.
Sarah half laughed and half smiled, shaking her head, but walking over. Today, she was glowing. Her smile seemed to be improving each day and this was the best one yet. Although nor she, nor this Brayden guy obviously, knew, she was nearly gleaming. She is good at crying, but it doesn’t seem to keep her down for long.
She sat down next to me and we sat together on the edge of the blanket. The sun beat down particularly hard this morning. Being like this, I could feel the warmth in a way I typically couldn’t, it felt as real to me as this world was to these people. I could imagine staying here. I’ve visited countless times, all over the world, and I’ve never once disliked it. It was real. Something I could touch. Smell. And in this case, taste. I enjoyed it more than I should. They did not particularly encourage interaction with humans. Things happen, people get hurt, things get worse. I’ve had my handful of experiences, but I’ve learned to avoid trouble at all costs. This is not where I belong, so I can’t pretend like it is. All I want to do is help them love. That’s all I’m here to do.
If I could freeze this moment of pure bliss, I surely would.
“So tell me how this deal works.”
“It’s pretty simple.” I started, handing her a plate of pasta. Once we were both comfortable and eating, I tried my best to explain. “I’m here until the end of the week, unfortunately. If I stay any later, they will start to wonder where I am. But I’m all yours until then.”
“They don’t know you’re down here?” Sarah asked, taking a bite of a crêpe, asking so many questions.
“Not exactly, I was banned long ago, but continue to come. I’ve fallen in love with this world.”
“I can tell.” Sarah smiled. “So what exactly can you do for me?”
“In this human form, my powers have been limited, nonetheless work well. Flying also would be much easier for this, but I’m afraid it might create suspicion, so... walking around will have to do for now. With one touch of my arrow or my hand, I can make you fall hopelessly and endlessly happily in love with whomever you choose. Just say the word.” I told her, waiting for her response.
She took a minute to take it in and think it over.
“So I just point out some guy and you can make me love him? Why not just let people fall in love on their own though?” She asked me, setting down her food and looking out around the side of her house towards the sidewalk.
“Because some people don’t realize they are in love or need a little push in the right direction.”
“How do you know?”
“I can’t just shoot any person I see just fun. I let them decide. I can see what they truly want.”
“See?” Sarah questioned, laying down and propping her head on her hands.
“Mmhm. I guess you could think of it as something like an aura or a... vibe.”
“What do you see with me?”
I laughed. “You seem much brighter today than usual. Your happiness is nearly making me blind. Would you mind toning it down just a tiny bit?” We laughed together.
“But there are a few rules I have to follow in order to make it work.”
“Well, I can’t fall in love with you, and nor you, with me.”
“Aw, darn.” Sarah joked.
“It's just the whole 'I'm a god, you're a mortal' thing and that kind of long distance relationship would never work, I’m afraid.”
“Love surpasses all obstacles, right?”
“I don’t think this situation applies, my dear.”
“Fine.” She pretended to pout. “Is that all?”
“Another thing...” I added. “I can’t help you fall in love with someone you’ve already been in love with in the past.”
That stuck with Sarah. Her smile evaporated in the warm breeze. I knew for her, that meant Brayden. She could not fall in love with Brayden. I wasn’t completely sure if she wanted to, but I’m sure he’s the first thing that came to find when I mentioned that last rule.
“That won’t be a problem either.” A moment later, she was able to recover her smile. I’m glad that she seemed to be healing. At least a little.
A little jingle sounded in the middle of our conversation. Sarah reached for her cellphone in her pocket. I hope it wasn’t Brayden again. She looked at it and this time she seemed happy.
“Um, it’s Bri, can I take this real quick? I’m sorry, it won’t be long.”
Sarah left my picnic and walked into the house, talking quickly and quietly into her phone. My heart sank a little. I heard her voice subside inside and I was left with the quiet of the backyard.
Without realizing it, soon I was laying down with my eyes closed, hearing the life of the neighborhood through these ears. The lawn mower across the street, the dogs barking in the distance, the flies buzzing around. The feel of the grass poke through the blanket and tickle my arms and legs. Everything is in its own world, in a peace of its own. Everything is quite simple when its broken down. Everything has its place, its happiness. In this moment, everything seems simple, seems easy. I miss times when things were like this. No lies, no hurt, no betrayal. Everything worked together, formed a unison. On one side, the beauty and one, the devastation.
Love is both elegance and disaster. That’s the hardest thing to remember when you work with one of the most dangerous power in life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the good, but I never get used to seeing the bad. If I had a heart to break, it would have been beyond repair, just seeing all the hurt around me.
Even so, it’s hard to die alone in this world. People are everywhere. They come and go. Like the seasons. You will find the ones who are cold and damp, and only stay for a short time. They can chill you to the bone and make it hard for you to get up in the mornings. But, there are the Summers and Autumns. You just have to make them worth finding.
I sat up and saw Sarah with her phone in her hand and a jacket in the other.
“Bri called and wanted me to hang out. I told her no, but I was just going to bring by her jacket.”
“No, you should go.”
“I just can’t leave you here.”
“I’m no child you have to babysit, I’ll be here when you need me, go on.” I urged her, standing up and wiping some grass off my shoulder. I walked up next to her.
“What about the food and-”
“I’ll take care of it.”
“I got it.”
“Yes. Now go.”
“Okay, but I’ll be back early tonight, I’ll finish this food with you, don’t want to waste it.”
“I guess I’ll allow that.”
“Bye, I’ll be home soon. See you tonight.”
“Bye. And behave.” She turned around and left. I watched her go.
I fell back down on the grass and flipped the hair out of my eyes.
Not again, not again. I sighed.
It almost pains me to know how much she cares about me. It’s a constant reminder of what I’ve done. I hope I can help her bring back her old smile, the one she would always wear. Right now, it was cracked with the pain of a very heavy heartbreak. Although sometimes her old self seemed to leak through those cracks, I hope she will never find out that it was me who helped to leave those cracks.
It was my own arrow. It was I who helped the happy Sarah to fall in love.
And it was also I who helped break that happy Sarah’s heart and take away that smile by doing so. My own stupid power.