Maybe it’s a Sign
“How do you think that bear got up there?” she asked him, looking at the teddy bear that dangled from a high pole that stretched across the street. It was impossibly high up, and tied tightly with rope.
“I have no idea.”
“Do you think someone stole it? And crawled out there and tied it up for a prank?”
“That’s a lot of trouble to go through for a prank,” he said, and he waited for his black coffee to cool.
“Maybe it isn’t a prank, then. Maybe it’s a sign, or some kind of signal.”
“Oh, yeah, that sounds totally reasonable. The hanging stuffed animal is a signal,” he said, the sarcasm evident. Still, she continued.
“Yeah! Maybe there’s this awful gang that can’t terrorize blocks where there’s a teddy bear hanging up or something. It’s probably for the Crips.”
“So it’s like the lamb’s blood on the doorpost for the 21st Century.”
“Or maybe it’s where people are supposed to meet their dealer for drugs. Meet me at the corner of Lexington an 9th. I’ll be standing near the hanging teddy bear,” she said, using a breathy, deep voice for the drug dealer dialect.
“I’m starting to think that you don’t have a great grasp on how drug transactions work. Or gangs, for that matter,” he replied, squinting his eyes at her as he sipped his still-slightly-too-warm coffee.
“Oh, shut up. I’m just being silly. Why can’t you ever just let me be silly?”
“Go ahead, be silly. No one’s stopping you. I’m just not participating in it.”
“Of course not. Mr. Self-Important can’t stoop to the level of silly,” she replied, rolling her eyes. Her latte was already gone, but she pretended to take a sip of it anyway.
“Ah, there it is. And to think that we nearly made it a blessed fifteen minutes before you saw fit to disparage and pout.”
“And nearly five before you started to sound like an arrogant ass.”
“There’s the name-calling! Right on schedule,” he said, sighing as he looked at his watch. “Well, darling, as much as I hate to end our little morning date, I’m going to have to get back to the office.”
“I’ll miss you desperately,” she replied, face expressionless.
“I know, love. Now give me a kiss pretend that you mean it.”
He swallowed his last gulp of coffee, stood up and leaned over to kiss her. She kissed him back, tilting her head and placing her hands on the back of his neck. He pulled away from the kiss and she kept her hands there, looking up into his eyes.
“I’ll see you at dinner. Marcino’s tonight, remember,” she said.
“Reservations at 7?”
“I’ll be there,” he said, and stood upright.
“Lovely. Goodbye, dear.”
“Goodbye,” he said as he picked up his briefcase. Then, chuckling,”Let me know if you figure out why that teddy bear is up there.”
She glared at him as he left, as she knew he wouldn’t turn back. He didn’t, and when he was gone she switched her glare to the teddy bear, still hanging by his neck and swaying slightly in the wind.
“I’m starting to think he put himself there,” she mumbled. “A teddy bear with a death wish.”
She picked up her cup and his, then took them to the barista and left the shop.