Spring would come early this year. There was a brightness, a smell, a feeling in the air. It would be a good spring, it would bring such promise. For now, the flowers shied away, stubbornly maintaining their concealment for a few more weeks yet. The showers from the previous night had given a freshness to the valley and vibrancy to what colour there was. For the young man and woman crossing the old stone bridge it was quite idyllic. He walked with a slightly awkward manner, dragging his left leg in a just-noticeable fashion that suggested some kind of infirmity perhaps from an accident, perhaps from a hazardous country birth. He wore the comfortable felt hat all the labourers on the farms did, accompanied by an old often repaired sack coat that was probably more than second hand. His companion wore a tidy, if plain, day dress and some blue ribbons in her hair. She politely ignored the man’s limp or simply didn’t notice. She fidgeted, a nervous smile never far from her face, as they strolled and chatted.
Below and a little way downstream a semi-naked man pulled an arrow from a quiver. He placed it on his bow and hefted the ancient weapon and pointed it towards the young man in the felt cap. Belying a hidden strength , the chubby pink skinned figure pulled back on the string all the way to his ear, and released to a satisfying twang. The sound had barely faded when the arrow head struck home right in the centre of the man’s chest as he looked over the side of the bridge. Neither one of the couple seemed to notice the arrow; in fact the only recognition that he’d been hit at all was a sudden sharp intake of breath. Rather than appearing wounded, he suddenly looked nervous as hell, as if plucking from some deep store of courage. He turned to the young woman and took her hand in his to her bemusement. He dropped awkwardly to one knee as the woman’s eyes widened.
A second arrow was drawn from the quiver. The man wielding the bow hummed a little tune to himself. He enjoyed his work, and he thought he did a good job too. He placed the arrow on the bow again and pulled back to his ear as the young farm labourer proposed marriage to the servant girl. That twang again, and the arrow drove its way through the air, parting the currents as it whizzed at its target.
Which it missed by three inches.
The woman had her hand over her mouth in surprise at the proposal. Cupid could not hear her response but could see it. She shook her head, turned and hurried away from the poor young man still knelt on one knee on the stone bridge. Cupid sighed and shrugged to himself. Even the Greek God of Desire wasn’t perfect. He put his bow over his shoulder and straightened up behind the bush where he had been hiding and unfurled his small but powerful wings. Think of how a bumble bee flies and you get the picture. His wings then fluttered furiously and hefted his bulk up into the sky and away, as a broken man on the bridge tried to piece together what he did wrong.