"Aim Too, Please"
I don't know why we're playing chicken like this, but apparently it's a road we have to cross to move forward. I love you. You love me. Do we really have to prove it with silly and potentially catastrophic games? You of all people should know I was never very good at sports.
I'm staring down the shaft of my steel-tipped arrow, aiming to the best of my meager ability at the serendipitously heart-shaped apple perched atop your fine head. I don't want to do this. I don't want to let go of this string. I don't trust myself to hit my target. But my love for you overwhelms me, compels me to aim straight and true and sever the fruit from its core instead of your brains from your head.
Measure twice, cut once – isn't that what they say? I've lined up my shot, now I do so again, and still one more time. (Does overextending an axiom negate its truth?) I close my eyes and release.
The thwack is quicker and louder than I expected. I can't bear to look, though I must respond with haste if I have missed and gravely injured you. I open my eyes.
You are eating the apple, careful not to cut your tongue on the head of the arrow, which has impaled the fruit as was its intention. I find this strangely funny and respond with nervous laughter.
"I love you." The words are shaky, uttered from shaky lips. I feel disconnected from myself, though I know I was the speaker.
You smirk slyly and reply, "I love apples. So juicy." You cock an eyebrow and your head at me and I relax my shoulders. (I wasn't aware I'd been raising them so stiffly.) "And you, too," you add, as an afterthought.
"That was exciting. And by exciting, I mean terrifying." I plop down onto the grass and expect you to join me. Instead, you approach me and take the bow from my hand – softly, not meaning to intimidate but succeeding at such. You pull the arrow – the reverse thwack is no less jarring – from the remains of the apple and toss the core onto the grass.
"Where's the other one?"
"The other what?" I inquire.
"Apple. It's your turn now."
I'm flummoxed. I don't know what to say. "I'm flummoxed," I say. "You want me to do it, too?"
"Don't you love me?"
I stand quickly, the nervousness invading my being anew. "Of course, but…"
"Then prove it." She doesn't wait for me to pull the apple out of my hoodie pocket. She reaches in and grabs it for herself and hands it to me.
And here we are. My back to the tree, with the second apple – not serendipitously heart-shaped, I might add – resting peacefully upon my noggin. You, with the arrow in place and the string drawn back, and your history of clumsiness in motion and life in general. I love you, truly I do, with all of my heart. But I don't want to do this. I don't want you to let go of the string. I love you, but I don't know if I really trust you.