Sandra Day O’connor High School
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The air was brisk as Leo made his way past the student union, which made Leo bury his face in his dark blue scarf. The gentle breeze made it sway as he moved, his steps quick, determined, as if his body acted alone in knowing that he was on a mission. The sky was now a pale blue, the sun barely visible along the horizon to the east, providing a dim light around the campus.
As Leo got closer to the amphitheater, he started re-thinking his choice. Maybe it was the dim skies that started to contribute his slowly dimming optimism, or maybe it was the fact that he felt he made his choices impulsively out of pain, anger, and confusion. Though he thought he’d considered every possibility, the result being so unknown, and the man being so ambiguous about his purpose in all of this was too hard to ignore. At this point, he knew he couldn’t turn back, despite how fast his heart was beating, and despite the butterflies in that wouldn’t stop trying to burst out of his stomach.
As he turned the corner to enter the amphitheater area, he saw Lennan the row just below the top, leaning his elbows back against the concrete steps that stretched around in a half-octagon shape. He was gazing at the sky when Leo saw him, but not necessarily in the mindless way that someone would when they were waiting for someone. He seemed genuinely interested in the neutral blue color that it was showed at that moment, as if the more he looked at it, the more he would remember that the sky was that color at one time of his life.
Leo started approaching him slowly, not wanting to intrude on what seemed like a sincere moment between him and the sky. As he got closer to the amphitheater steps, Lennan noticed him, the genuine, interested smile on his face remaining as his eyes met with Leo’s.
“Funny how one thing can look so different, just because of the time of day,” he said, his eyes looking back up to the sky. “But can always be so colorful, even when there’s no color to it at all.”
“It’s such a dull blue, though,” said Leo, humoring this particular conversation, despite how nervous he was.
“Dull color or not,” Lennan said. “It was once a bright blue, a mellow pink, and more often than not, pitch black. It’s been so many different colors and intensities, and that itself makes it beautiful.”
Something about just how dumbfounded Lennan was by the simple concept of the sky made Leo feel a bit more at ease about this meeting. Though Lennan was a grown man, he had the energy of a child who just wanted to know more about the world.
Lennan looked back down, his bright eyes meeting with Leo’s.
“Sorry,” he said. “We’re not here to talk about the sky.”
He pushed himself up from the steps and leaned forward, his elbows now resting on his knees. He took in a deep breath, as if he was still preparing the words he needed to tell Leo what he was looking to hear.
“How did you know so much about Shane and I?” Leo asked, too impatient and anxious to wait any longer.
“I was…briefed, on your situation.”
“Briefed? By who?”
Lennan pressed his lips together, and his brow creased, like he was unsure about what to do next. Then, as if a light turned on in his head, he quickly turned his body to face Leo.
“Someone…well above my status,” he said, looking down at the ground, as if he was still thinking of how to say everything he was saying. “Let’s just say that there’s a higher power out there that thinks you deserve a shot at love.”
“Bullshit,” said Leo. “As you already know, I’ve had kind of a terrible day. So if you could stop beating around the bush, that would be ideal.”
“Oh, phew,” said Lennan. “I thought I was going to have to figure out how to lead you into it, but thank God you want it bluntly.”
Lennan’s eyes became more intense; it was the first time Leo saw any other emotion in his expression other than the happy-go-lucky one that seemed all too permanent. There was still a small smirk on the right side of his lips, which Leo was glad to see, or else he would have surely been convinced that this guy was insane.
“What do you know about cupids?”
Leo’s right brow rose, and he let out a chuckle.
Surely, this isn’t where the conversation was meant to go, Leo thought.
“Just that they’re babies who shoot arrows at people and make them fall in love,” said Leo. “You’re not saying that…”
“Well,” said Lennan. “The ‘baby’ part is debatable, but we don’t shoot people with arrows.”
Leo’s chuckle from his smile turned downward into shock. He barely noticed the change in Lennan’s expression, which had now turned to full-on seriousness.
“I’m guessing that’s not quite what you wanting to hear,” he said, the most monotone he had been since the two of them met.
Leo sat in shock for a moment, trying to come to grasp the idea that a man, who had to be at least ten years older than him, just told him that he was a cupid: an entity that is typically depicted as a baby flying around in just a diaper, shooting random passer-bys with magical love arrows. Lennan said that, a grown man with dark, disheveled hair, brown skin, and the eyes of someone who wanted to see so much more of the world, despite the fact that he had most likely seen most of it, already. He definitely wasn’t a baby with wings, though Leo didn’t know how sure he could be about that.
“Yeah,” said Leo, beginning to stand. “I’m leaving.”
He started walking away, prepared to accept that the reveal of Lennan’s “secret” was just another reason why he was still looking for a successful relationship. He was convinced, after he couldn’t make anything work for as long as he’d been dating, that he wasn’t meant to be in a relationship; with three big failures and several small failures in between, it was the only truth he could be sure of. If there was a hopeful side of him when it came to falling in love, he knew it wouldn’t be unlocked by a guy who would just be added to the list of guys who plucked a heartstring too hard.
“Wait,” said Lennan, actually managing to stop Leo in his tracks. “The text that Shane said that he got; how do you think that happened?”
Leo turned slowly; he forgot about that in the midst of misfortune that happened at the coffee shop.
“I did that,” Lennan continued.
“How?” Leo asked, more of an attack than a question.
“Would you believe me if I said it was magic?”
Leo rolled his eyes, starting to walk out of the amphitheater. On a day where he managed to break his own heart, this was the last thing he needed.
“Wait wait wait wait,” said Lennan, rushing to block Leo’s path before he could walk too far away. “That’s not all. I was able to talk to you without Shane noticing. How do you think that happened?”
“He’s a narcissist,” said Leo, disinterested, by that point. “He can’t even see past his own eyelashes because that’s how much he’s in love with himself. Now please move out of my way before I call the police.”
“Let me prove it to you,” said Lennan, his eyes pleading more than the tone in his voice. “If you don’t believe me after that, I’ll leave you alone. I promise.”