Chapter 3: Coeur the Cupid & The Montmartre Orphanage Heartbreak
On the bright morning of the 27th of December, just after breakfast, Coeur the Cupid bundled up in her white winter coat, zipped up her long leather boots, and tied around her neck a blush pink cashmere scarf given to her for Christmas by her best friend and next door neighbor Polly Moonbright.
Cupid stepped out of her apartment, met with her driver Gabriel and off they went to explore the 18th arrondissement of Montmartre, which captured Cupid’s interest just last night when she and Polly found themselves at the cabaret club of the Moulin Rouge.
As she arrived, Cupid rode the funicular to the top of the hill, then strolled the cobblestone streets of this historic village admiring the eccentricity of all the shops and local art, reveling in the delightful nostalgia of Paris. Of course, this angel made an obligatory visit to the boulangerie to purchase un pain du chocolat to satisfy her dear gravitation toward sweetness. As she continued winding her way, caught up in the romance of herself and of life, the majesty of the Sacré–Coeur basilica came into full view. But what caught Cupid’s attention was not the iconic and sacred monument before her, but something furry that seemed to be sitting on its stoops. A bright red heart–shaped balloon was floating in the air, attached to this shivering being.
Instinctively, Cupid hurried her footsteps and at once the mystery was revealed. Sitting on the steps of Sacré–Coeur basilica was an adorable little girl, hunched over and both paws held in fists, holding up her head. Secured to her right paw was the heart–shaped balloon, which from up close seemed to be wafting through the air in the same sorrowful kind of way as the little figure appeared to Cupid. She approached her, discovering that she was a baby bear whose fur was the color of light honey. She had a lovable black button nose and her small face was one of absolute cuteness. This cub looked up and locked eyes with Cupid, widening them and whose expression was one of worry and anxiousness.
“Are you my new mommy?” The little bear called out eagerly to Cupid. Her voice was so sweet.
“Your new mommy? Little Bear, where is your mommy? Are you lost?” Cupid sat down next to her on the steps, tilting her head to peer down at this baby cub. At once, Cupid unraveled her scarf, wrapping it like a thick blanket around the bear.
“I don’t have a mommy but they said they would give me a new one,” said the little bear.
“Who said?” Cupid was trying to piece together the puzzle as quickly as she could to relieve the bear’s concerns.
“Where I came from.” The little bear showed Cupid a tiny metal tag she wore around her furry neck, which bore the words “The Montmartre Uncommon Orphanage for Exceptional Bears.”
Perplexed, Cupid pressed on. “Little Bear, what is your name?”
“I don’t have one. But this is my number.” The baby cub flipped to the back of her metal tag and engraved on it was the number 3.
“If you belong at the orphanage, then what are you doing out here all by yourself?” Cupid knew the answer and she wanted to cry.
“They told me I will have a new mommy and to wait for her here.”
“How long have you been waiting?” Cupid asked, her eyes glistening with tears.
“I don’t know,” the cub replied wistfully. Judging by the dirt stains on her little pink dress and the weathered look on her face, Cupid knew this baby cub had been out in the cold for more than a couple of hours. She was lost in thought while gazing at the little bear, knowing full well that the orphanage who had been in possession of her had sold her to the highest bidder. For some reason or another, this family abandoned the little cub, causing her to feel forsaken a third time, tripling the sense she was simply unwanted. Cupid had to do something about this.
“Little Bear, you must be so hungry. Do you want to eat my pain au chocolat?” Cupid reached into her bag and pulled out the poofy and appetizing chocolate croissant, making the cub’s eyes light up. Immediately she smiled widely and nodded her head up and down. As she ate, Cupid stroked her fur and continued talking. “I don’t know where your new mommy is and I don’t know when she is coming but I have an idea, Little Bear. Maybe you can come home with me instead. I have a warm bed and lots of food and a place to play. You can live with me!”
The little bear glanced up into Cupid’s eyes, her pupils large and eager. “You mean, you will be my new mommy?”
“Yes,” Cupid answered, hugging the bear tight into her arms. “Your new mommy, your one and only mommy. Do you want that?”
“Mm–hmm!” The baby cub at once leaped out of Cupid’s arms and onto her feet in excitement and beamed from ear to ear, extending her paw. Rather than taking her paw, Cupid leaned down to pick up the cub from off the ground and into her arms. Off they went, making their way downhill to meet with Gabriel who was at the ready to take them home.
As soon as they entered Cupid’s apartment, the little bear once again lit up her eyes at the spectacle of childlike luxury and the most agreeable combination of furniture, fabrics and colors. For her, being that she was only about one and a half feet tall, everything was extra wondrous, giant and high, high up. She thought she was transported to heaven! Cupid ushered the little bear to her bathroom where she began filling her spacious, swan–like tub with warm water. Sitting on the floral vanity stool that she designed herself, Cupid lifted the baby cub into her lap and began removing the very cold and uncompassionate metal tag and the heart–shaped balloon from her right paw.
“Mommy,” the little bear asked in curiosity, “What is your name?”
“My name is Coeur Le Cupidon.”
“Like this balloon?” The little bear asked.
“Yes, and — ” Cupid stopped abruptly, suddenly having a revelation. “Coeur Bear. We shall name you Coeur Bear! How about that?”
“Uh–huh!” Coeur Bear’s eyes lit up as it has been doing so repeatedly ever since meeting her new mother. “My name is Coeur Bear and I am made of coeur!”
“That’s right, you are!” Cupid assured her. “From now on, no one gets to hurt Coeur Bear anymore. I will never let that happen to you ever again, do you understand?”
Coeur Bear nodded while her expression saddened to show Cupid the worry, uncertainty and betrayal she’s endured in her little life. As Cupid set Coeur Bear into the warm tub and began soaping up her fur, she spoke gently to her. “I know that as soon as you were born, you were given away. But it wasn’t your fault, Coeur Bear. For whatever reason, your mommy wasn’t able to care for you but she wanted you to have a great life and that’s how you ended up in the orphanage. After that…it was both of our blessings we found each other today. Do you know, Coeur Bear, there is an all–loving Being always watching over us and watching over you? This Being will never, ever hurt you and only wants the best for Coeur Bear. That’s how we found each other today! I will always love you and protect you and you don’t have to worry about a thing. I know you were very sad and lonely before but all of that has changed. Okay, Coeur Bear?”
“Okay…Mommy? Did my other mommy leave me because Coeur Bear was bad?”
“No, absolutely not. None of this is your fault. I promise you,” Cupid said gently and firmly as she fought back tears.
“Then why did my mommy not want me?”
“Because she wasn’t able to take care of you the way you really deserve, my baby. She loves you so much she had to give you away to give you your best chance. It was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.”
“Does she remember me, Mommy?”
“Yes, of course she does and she’s very, very sorry.”
“But she doesn’t want Coeur Bear?”
Cupid paused before she answered carefully. “She does, of course she wants you. But she feels she doesn’t deserve you.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means she feels she is not good enough for you. She wanted you to have someone that can give you an even better life than she can. That’s her gift to you, can you see that? None of this is your fault, Coeur Bear. I know you went through a lot and things happened that weren’t supposed to happen. But you are safe now, in the end.”
“Okay…Mommy, was the Being in the sky watching over me?”
“Yes, the entire time. This Being never leaves Cœur Bear and It made sure we found each other today. Isn’t it magical?”
“Uh–huh,” Coeur Bear nodded in agreement and giggled as her attention swiftly focused on the voluminous amount of bubbles in the bathtub, her paws happily beating them like hand drums.
After she finished her bath, Cupid wrapped Coeur Bear in an extra soft and cozy white towel and blow dried her light honey–colored fur. As she did so, Coeur Bear was satisfying her curiosity, touching and playing with all the fascinating potions, color sticks and brushes neatly organized on Cupid’s vanity. Soon enough, Coeur Bear found a lengthy piece of pink satin ribbon, pulling on it until it came loose. She then looked up inquisitively into Cupid’s eyes. Setting down the hair dryer, Cupid took the pink ribbon and started looping it together, weaving an intricate bow design. Coeur Bear watched, her eyes in wonder as Cupid’s deft fingers knitted the ribbon. Cupid then opened up her sewing kit made of crystal, fetching a sharp needle and some pink thread, securing the ribbon weaves in place, stitch by stitch. When it was assembled, Cupid tied the ribbon around Coeur Bear’s right ear, gently looping it around until it was softly secured. Once it was attached, Coeur Bear peered at herself in the mirror feeling so proud and at once spun around to hug her new mommy.
Through the double bathroom doors they exited and Cupid set down Coeur Bear onto her fluffy white four–poster bed. A savory croque monsieur, hot chocolate and a French apple tart were already awaiting to be enjoyed by the new furry baby of the family. After filling her very contented tummy, Coeur Bear was tucked in for a long nap, slumbering away safely and peacefully. Cupid tore herself away to enter into her palatial and impressively equipped atelier. Cutting from the behemoth–sized bolts of cotton, silk and tulle, Cupid measured two yards of each, spreading them onto her expansive white marble work table. Diligently, Cupid began to pattern, cut and stitch. Hours later, she looked up and standing gingerly at the door was Coeur Bear who peered to see what her new mommy was up to.
“Coeur Bear, come here!” Cupid called excitedly to her. Coeur Bear tapped her little feet in anticipation, running toward Cupid, who at once plunked her onto the marble tabletop and began fitting the new clothes she just made for her: two dresses, plus a lavender–colored pajama set. “If you like this, I will make you more,” suggested Cupid.
“Thank you, Mommy!” Coeur Bear nodded passionately and threw her little paws around Cupid’s waist. “Mommy…what’s that?” Apparently Coeur Bear’s attention was seized by the numerous colored pencils, markers, watercolors, paint brushes and sketchbooks neatly displayed and organized in Cupid’s workroom. Coeur Bear opened one of the sketchbooks, mesmerized by the abundant contents inside. Drawings of furniture, architecture, clothing, shoes, time machines, contraptions, heart doodles, scribbles of ideas and jewelry filled each and every page. She finally arrived at a blank page in the sketchbook and instinctively reached for the nearest colored pencil, drawing inside. What Coeur Bear drew nearly moved Cupid to tears: it was the memory of herself sitting on the stoops of the Sacré–Coeur today with her red heart–shaped balloon. Hovering in the sky above the basilica was a happy cloud wearing a warm smiley face, who seemed to be guiding Cupid to find Coeur Bear and protecting this baby from further harm and heartbreak.
Finally Cupid gave in, allowing the tears to trickle down her face as she squeezed Coeur Bear in a hug. Before arriving on Earth, she had never known what it felt like to be sad, unwanted and lonely, but as a human being now, these feelings sometimes made a victim of her, too. Rescuing this little bear from suffering reminded Cupid that there was something very meaningful and sacred that she specifically came to experience here on Earth, something which had not yet come to pass but filled Cupid with a sense of great hope, longing and occasional loneliness: True Love.
“Coeur Bear,” Cupid began as she pulled a pink suede book from her mighty shelf, “Since you like to draw, this book is all for you.” Cupid waved her sapphire ring over the book and instantly the cover was engraved: “This Belongs to Coeur Bear”.
“Mommy!” Coeur Bear squealed and immediately flipped to the first page, grabbing the same colored pencil and drawing into it. After etching a few strokes, the little bear looked up and gazed into Cupid’s eyes. “Mommy, I want to draw and create a dream and make it real, just like you.” Cupid was in awe, wondering how Cœur Bear couldn’t be her little bear daughter, who too wanted to use magic to create a dream life — to combat the inescapable loneliness since birth that she felt inside.
Coeur Bear spent the rest of the evening decorating the inner canvas of her precious art journal, chronicling every new arrival of imagination that visited her mind’s eye while Cupid bonded with her. As the clock struck ten, Cupid took the both of them to bed, opening up Coeur Bear’s paw to retrieve the colored pencil still in her grip even after she fell asleep in her arms. Smiling to herself, Cupid wondered what sort of adventures were up next in her life. In a few days, Paris and the world were about to ring in the New Year. Already, Cupid sensed something significant was to unfold and as the thought crossed her mind, her sapphire ring lit up like a white orb, just like the time at the Christmas Eve Masquerade. Cupid was unknowing of this foretelling sign from her ring, however, because her eyes had already shuttered, falling fast asleep.