I was always allergic to apples. But I decided to brave the itchy throat and swollen lips it would give me to indulge the craving that hit out of the blue...and perhaps plump my pout.
Within the first few tentative bites, I realized that I was no longer allergic—I didn’t think that it could disappear just like that. I twirled the stem with my fingers, whispering the alphabet to myself like my friends used to when I was a child, which I never participated in because of aforementioned allergies. When the stem broke off, it was supposed to be on the initial of the man you’re meant to be with.
It broke off on his initial. Even with a second apple…was the Universe telling me something?
I thought of him every time I sat across from someone half-listening to what they said to amuse me, wishing I could connect but sighing at each little thing that made me remember. Even next to another warm body, I thought of him, what he was doing in his separate life from me.
Only two months had passed, but it was longer than I’d ever gone without him since the day we first met. His charm was in full force from the second I slipped into his car.
"God you are so beautiful." It never hurt to hear. He took a deep breath of my perfume, of roses and orange blossoms, and reached out to touch my skin. I quickly pulled away.
It was strange to be sitting next to him sipping an Appletini and keeping a polite distance. I made small talk and tried to drink away my nerves.
He looked better than the last time I had seen him, when I was still looking at him through hurt eyes. He had started looking like a romantic villain to me—his too-perfect teeth gleaming at me like a Cheshire Cat, or the Big Bad Wolf hungry for his prey.
He hadn’t shaved in a few days but it was a well-groomed version of rugged. He was tanned and healthy, his white shirt unbuttoned.
"You’re looking well," I said casually, twirling around the toothpick in my martini glass as I looked off into the distance to avoid glancing in his eyes.
Looking into his eyes was always my weakness. That’s the moment he first had me the night we met. I’ve always hated eye contact, ever since I was a little girl. But when we clicked our sake cups at dinner he said to me--
"Don’t you know you’re supposed to look someone in the eyes when you make a toast?"
I looked up at his eyes. They were green. I shivered and forgot to breathe and suddenly the rest of the room became a blur.
Tonight I made a point of averting my gaze when our cocktail glasses clinked. He started talking about the new trainer he was working out with…some more meaningless chatter. I rambled about astrology, Feng Shui, the perfect Southern California weather when he interrupted me--
I scooted farther away and shook my head. The kiss is the moment of truth in the fairy tale, it awakes Sleeping Beauty, brings Snow White back to life, turns the frog into a prince. He didn’t deserve it.
"Look at me for just one second and then you can go back to staring at your drink. I know how stupid I have been and I have realized that I will never find anyone else as beautiful as you, as sweet as you, as smart as you—"
"Ha! You don’t think I’m smart!"
"I know you’re smart. And I know I will never forgive myself if I lose you…"
The sugary taste of words and apples and alcohol were coating my mouth and my mind. He always knew how to say the right thing, the prince was definitely charming. And those little apple stems broken off on his initial had to be a sign, the Universe whispering to me to just let it go and Live Happily Ever After.
I got swept into his arms, his kisses, everything he said, because I wanted the fucking fairy tale anyway I could get it.
Even though a little voice whispered to me not to be so easily deceived. In the fairy tale, the shiny red apples were sweet but full of poison…