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Cupid Painted Blind

Michael toed the fresh snow with his shoe, revealing the frozen black slush left from a week old storm. He pulled his jacket collar up over his bare neck and tried to look at nothing in particular.

Trying desperately to keep the coral rose in his left hand from sight, he carried on, continuing his way down the street along the uneven, un-shoveled sidewalk. He left a dissipating trail of breath behind him as well as a long line of footprints in the snow. Every step brought him closer and closer to her house and further and further away from contentment.

Shifting his grip on the flower, he caught a thorn on his index finger, drawing blood. The blood crept down, past his fingernail, the moisture inviting the cold to bite his finger. Such a bite as to cause Michael to wonder whose idea it was to give spring flowers to lovers in the middle of winter. It made little sense to him, but custom dictated his gift.

Well, he thought, perhaps not so much custom as the inevitable smile that it would bring her.

As he rounded the corner, his thoughts turned from flowers to fear: her boyfriend’s car was still in her driveway.

“Shit,” he told himself and tried to find a hidden purchase behind a gnarled maple tree, naked and asleep for the winter. Peeking out from behind the trunk he could see the exhaust billowing from the tailpipe, the car was running. Was he leaving or just arriving? Even though his hands were stiff and hard to use in the cold, he checked the last text message he’d gotten from her. “Valentines Lunch? 1:30?”

“Absolutely,” he’d replied.

“Good answer,” she’d shot back.

He checked the time on his phone and discovered that he was ten minutes early.

It wasn’t that he couldn’t explain being there, he and Sarah had been friends for years. It was the flower that he’d find hard to explain. He imagined himself strolling up to Luke and saying, “Hey. How’s it going? You heading back to work?”

“Yeah,” he’d reply. “I just stopped in to see Sarah for lunch.”

“That’s too bad. I don’t know if you know this, but we’re dating behind your back and I'm taking her to lunch. See? Here’s the flower I’m bringing her for Valentines Day.” Michael then imagined himself withdrawing a book from his coat pocket, “And this is my present for her. It’s a book of poetry and it’s beautiful and full of all the romance she lacks living with a putz like you. I’ve even personalized it with a love letter on the copyright page.”

And then he’d haul off and punch me in the face, Michael thought.

He smirked to himself, wondering if he’d ever have the brash arrogance to do something so definitive in his relationship with Sarah. The sound of a car door slamming shut roused him from his daydream.

The rest of this story is available in the collection "Cupid Painted Blind" available on Amazon for the Kindle.


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