Since Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year, my husband and I plan to celebrate the holiday late. However, I thought I'd share with you an excerpt from my short story, "Letters to Psyche." It's about Cupid's attempts to unite the houses of Montague and Capulet (the families of Romeo and Juliet) with love. If he fails, a curse will separate him forever from his own beloved wife, Psyche. The story is told from Cupid's point of view:
I was in the middle of shooting a youth when Elisabeth’s first curse crashed into me, causing me to misfire. I thought it was a fluke until several more curses hit me with enough force to make me turn visible. Luckily, I became transparent and rushed to her bedchamber before the youth noticed me.
I didn’t recognize Elisabeth; she was bone-thin with her wavy hair clipped short. I gleamed what had happened when the Christian priest came to hear her confession. Once he left the room and took his faith with him, I allowed myself to appear. She was close enough to death to keep my presence secret, and she didn’t seem surprised to see me.
“I grieve for your loss, my lady,” I told her. “It is my task to unite your houses as an example of love, not drive them apart.”
“But if we were your example, why didn’t you help us?” she whispered.
“I only spark love, my lady. Once it catches fire, it’s up to the couple to keep it burning. How can I focus on one couple when there are so many others who need me?”
“Have you no pity for us humans, Cupid?” Her eyes appeared smudged in their sockets. “The poets say even you were pricked by your own arrow. Why do you allow so many obstacles in the path of true love?”
A pox on the poets, my dearest, for revealing what should have been kept secret. As Elisabeth spoke, I remembered eavesdropping as my mother tasked you with sorting seeds, fetching golden fleece, and even sending you to Hades. How I had to sneak around to find sympathetic helpers for you. Even with them on our side, we nearly lost each other. But would we have realized how much we needed each other if we had not been parted for a while? Nothing worth winning was ever gained easily, but greedy mortals always demand the gods make their paths as smooth as silk. So I answered her as Athena had advised us, with the words, “It is the wisdom of the gods, Lady.”
“Wisdom, Cupid, or a wish to keep us blind?”
This was arrogance I would not tolerate. I was about to leave when she coughed herself into a spasm, enough to make me pity her.
She beckoned me closer. “Cupid, God of Love, I pray you hear my final request.”
This story is available at the stores listed here for only $0.99.
No matter how--or if--you celebrate Valentine's Day, I hope you have a good one!