The man slowly guided his ladylove to ignore the bear completely, and lay down on the ground. “Watch the clouds with me,” he suggested.
She got in the spirit immediately. “Look there! It looks like a kitty–see the ears, and there’s even little holes where the eyes and mouth would be.”
“That one?” he questioned. “I thought it looked like a heart, but now you pointed out the holes… It looks more like a heart-shaped monster with a devouring mouth.”
She sighed and wondered, “Whatcha thinking about?”
“Just… stuff,” he answered. Silence lingered between them for only a moment before he felt awkward and sat up.
“Look again, the wind pushed the cloud together more,” the woman said as he was getting to his feet.
“The bear is gone now,” he announced. He reached for her hand, saying, “Let me help you.”
She gladly took his hand and he pulled her up from the dirt. “How did you know that would work?” she wanted to know.
“I realized that bears are a lot like any kind of townie: once they decide they’re hanging out with you, there’s only one way to get rid of them.”
She complimented his intelligence and he returned the sentiment, along with several flirtatious remarks. As she went to clear the picnic table, he interrupted her with a loving caress.
He was about to say something, but she reacted to his touch as if it hurt her. Almost without thinking, she grabbed his arm to pull his hand away. “Don’t,” he pleaded gently.
“I know it bothers you that I wear my ring, but I can’t just get rid of it,” he explained. “It doesn’t mean what you think it means.”
She felt guilty for the second time that day, as she looked into his eyes. She gulped and nodded, because she could not find words to comfort him or ease his sadness.
As soon as she composed herself, she took his hands in hers and apologized. “Please forgive me, I’ve been acting like a spoiled little princess… worse, actually. I promise I’ll try harder to be as sympathetic and supportive of you as you always are to me.”
“Thanks,” he said as he moved in to hug her. He added, “Don’t be hard on yourself.”
She locked lips with him, and their emotions seemed to melt together. Thankfully, with the bear long gone, their hearts were full of romance, joy and inspiration.
The man reluctantly pulled away from his girlfriend, and invited her to play a game of Horseshoe with him. She accepted and they strutted toward the Horseshoe box; both uplifted by their relationship.
“So how do we play this game?” the woman asked.
“Well, I gather you throw the horseshoe and try to get it on that pole.” He volunteered to go first.
He tossed the horseshoe twice, then turned to her and offered her advice. “The weight of the shoe is a bit off-balance, so try to get a little spin to the right and not too much lift.”
She thanked him for the tips, but it was a lot harder than he made it look. She tossed the shoe and it flopped near the front of the box. “I’m terrible at this game,” she declared.
“Don’t give up,” he encouraged her. “You can do it! I know you can.”
She stepped up to the board to try again, and thought, “at least he thinks so!”
The horseshoe landed right beside the stake. Her love cheered for her and she allowed herself a little jump for joy.
The man pointed out, “That’s closer than any of my shots! I think you’re the winner.”
“How can I be the winner?” she questioned.
“Well, I don’t really know how to play this game… do you?” he wondered. She shook her head. “Then I think you won because you hit the thing.”
She hugged him and he added, “Besides, I won when you vandalized your hair to help me during my darkest time.”
“It’s the least I could do for you,” she said.
“I love you so much,” he sighed, and they held each other as the sunlight danced between the trees.