Cupid dropped to the floor. Someone in the bed was stirring, waking. It sounded like the woman. The man continued to slumber, breathing deeply and occasionally farting.
The demi-god could remember the first time he had encountered this particular couple. It had been about ten years ago – as the humans measure time, that is; Cupid had no need for clocks. It had been Valentine’s Day – the humans also like their special occasions, as if fun and enjoyment and romance can be timetabled. They are odd creatures, Cupid never stopped marvelling at how odd they were. Why, without my intervention they would never get together and the silly things would die out!
A blind date, at a restaurant, with inflated prices and not a spare seat in the house. They had been set up by well-meaning workmates and Cupid, delayed because it was his busiest night of the year, had turned up to find them staring awkwardly at their place mats, their fingers, anywhere except at each other. Two shots from his bow sorted that out – oops, nearly hit the waiter! – silver shafts of light directly to their hearts – and the rest of the evening went swimmingly. They attributed the loosening-up, the conviviality, the chemistry that bubbled up between them, to the wine. They barely ate a thing, drunk as they were on the sight of one another, getting a rush to the head each time the other one spoke. So much in common, a sense of humour shared, a football team, a favourite film, a song…
The waiters tried to close the place around them, upending chairs onto tables, turning off the lights, but the couple were lost in each other. The rest of the world seemed to have dropped away.
More dates followed. A year later, the proposal. Six months after that, the wedding.
And now here we are, ten years later, and I am back.
Well, Becky, Dave, I’m sorry but this is the end of the road for you. This morning, Becky will wake and look at the man beside her with disgust. Dave will detect a frostiness to their relationship and will withdraw into himself, and as for the sex – well, that had dropped off ages ago – if that’s the right term to use.
You see, I need my arrows back. Some people get to keep them for life. Some people only feel their influence briefly. Dave, Becky, you’ve had ten years. That’s better than most.
Some people never feel love’s prick at all. It’s sad, Cupid flapped his little wings and melted through the wall. I just don’t have enough arrows to go around.