I first notice him as I step outside my front door to retrieve the mail-two bills, an overdue notice from the library and a letter from Billy.  He is a dark flash, darting quickly behind my neighbor’s azalea bush.  Oddly enough, he reminds me of Cupid.  Toga.  Bow and arrow.  But dressed in black, not white.  I shrug it off.  What some guys won’t do to get classified 4-F.

Thirty minutes later, freed from the burden of delinquent books and the threat of library card suspension, I see him again.   Now he’s hiding, though not very well, behind the large Public Library sign, and yes, he is most definitely wearing a toga.

Feeling a little rattled, I decide I need a milkshake at the five and dime.

I’ve just finished ordering coffee (no ice cream, today) when he ambles in, and carefully arranging the folds of his toga, takes a seat at the counter, across from my table.  Laying his bow and arrow in his lap, he is soon sipping his own cup of coffee and eating a slice of pie, unaware of the mild commotion he’s caused.

I roll my eyes, and let my mind return to the letter from Billy-one of those “Dear Janes.”  Evidently, Billy’s met someone else.  I laugh.  A few weeks ago I’d simply volunteered to have my name and address wrapped up with a caramel popcorn ball, to be handed out when the next troop train came through town-the idea being that I’d be a sort of pen pal sweetheart for some lonely soldier or sailor.  Since then Billy and I’ve exchanged three letters.  Not exactly a commitment.  As I’m remembering the letter, an arrow flies well above the top of my head, hits the wall with a soft thud, and lands next to the salt and pepper shakers. 

I hear a distraught Oh dear and then the sound of someone crying. The cherub at the counter now has his boyish face buried in his hands, and between sobs I make out the word failure.

Then I get it.  Who this flip side of Cupid is.  He’s supposed to be the god of heartache.

Only he’s not very good at it, and I’m not heartbroken.

Nevertheless, I pick up the arrow, clutch its suction-cup point to my chest and dramatically stagger past him.  I can see him brighten.  Stopping at the cash register long enough to pay for my coffee before staggering outside, I hand the clerk an extra fifty cents.  His next slice of pie is on me, I whisper, and point to the only guy in the place wearing a brand new pair of black wings.

He’ll need that extra pie to keep up his strength.  Truly earn those wings. 

There is a war on, after all.




Picture credit here.


19 thoughts on “Feathers

  1. OK – I can’t help but feel as if his aim had gotten better by the time he ran into me… Thanks bunches for feeding him the pie and confidence, V =)

  2. Just realized you wrote this for WOE -mine is ready as well but am feeling super lazy nowadays-so yet to post-missed the deadline for week 8 tho had written the first draft as there was some confusion and I saw the due date to be later-lol!So much for procrastination 😉

  3. What a fun romp of a story. I wondered where it was going and you surprised me, but I thought it very clever to have the “god of heartache.” I also liked what your character did to help him get his “black wings.” Your imagination is such a gift and I do appreciate that you share it with us:~)

  4. “there is a war on, after all”
    such a tight ending and a wistful one at that. Her care of him alongside her own indifference to Billy is what makes this pop and spring.

    your voice is strong and so creative lately, I love just reading everything you write.

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