Look for a sign

Submitted into Contest #103 in response to: Write about a character looking for a sign.... view prompt

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Contemporary Funny Romance

It was the oddest thing. I turned on my computer, to start my day’s work at home. And the screen didn’t show the picture of somewhere or something exotic. There were just words there instead, written in big letters. They read, “Look for a Sign: You’ll know it when you see it.” I thought, ‘oh great. An advertisement, for some ‘upgrade’ or ‘premium’ or other. I hate upgrades and premiums. I like my computer the way it is, the way I understand it. So I quickly turned the computer off. Then I counted to ten and then turned it back on again. The words were not repeated. A picture of some impossibly tall and thin leaning rock rising above the sea appeared, along with a comment about how famous it is. Well it is now.

Now I am not a superstitious woman, although when I think of it, which isn’t very often, I do not step on the cracks of a sidewalk.  I mean, I do not actually think that I will break my mother’s back if I step on the rhyming ‘crack’, although sometimes, when she asks me ‘When are you going to get married, and give me grandchildren?’, I think, ‘Why not step on a crack, at least once…or even twice?’

Now my life is kind of dreary right now, work at home all day, watch Netflix most nights, but without the ‘chilling’ aspect. Maybe I should open my mind to the possibility of a little luck coming my way. Today I am taking a little time off work to go shopping. I will look for a sign.

It is a hot day, my walking trip to the grocery store takes me past the local Dairy Queen. As I go to open the door to get some ice cream, a young man, perhaps a teenager, one of three sitting on a bench eating blizzards, gets up quickly and opens the door for me. I thank him. Maybe this is a sign. But then I hear him laughing with his friends. I don’t think that this is a sign of aging that I want to recognize or acknowledge. I’m getting old.

The Next Morning

           I take a walk early (around six o’clock) every morning. On this morning I thought, when I got up, that I would for a sign, when there is hardly anyone around to see it before me. What I see then as a sign, will be all mine, and no one else’s. 

           Just as I approach the park that is about a third of the way on my regular walk, I see something move in the bushes. It’s black. Oh great, a black cat. That is definitely a sign, but not a good one. Wait, it is too long in the body and tail to be a cat. Maybe it’s a dog. But black dogs aren’t really a good sign either – the black dog of depressions comes to mind. Thank you Samuel Johnson (and my degree in English Literature).

           But then I see that it is not a dog either. It’s a fox, a black fox with a white tip on its tail. I have never seen a black fox, or even heard of such as creature. This must be the sign that I am looking for, but I have no good idea of its meaning. But at least it is all mine. The meaning might come with time.

           I stop to watch it run away, something in its mouth. Then I start walking again, faster than before. I am energized by the experience, by the sign that is mine.

           I pick up the local newspaper as I get back home in near record time. I pour myself a bowl of cereal, and have breakfast, reading the paper all the while. But then I see an article I wish I hadn’t seen. It is all about how people are seeing black foxes all over town. There’s even a picture that looks very much like the little fellah that I saw just a short time earlier. Damn!

           Maybe I should just give this up. I’m not seeing any signs. It must have just been a trick of the computer. Speaking of which, it is time for me to commute across the kitchen and get to work, and stop all of this nonsense.

           I turn on the computer. The words are there again right in front of me. “Look for a Sign: You’ll know it when you see it.” I quickly turn the damn machine off, and count to ten, as I did the first time. But this time, the words appear again. They flash twice and then they fade. And then there is a beautiful seascape, in a spot that I will never visit.

           What do I do now? There is a message there. It’s Friday. I’ll do my work, send it to the boss, and then, tonight, I’ll go to a bar and drink. To paraphrase Billy Joel in “Piano Man”, “I’ll share a drink I call loneliness, as it is better than drinking alone.”

           The work drags, but I don’t really care. I have plans for the night, and it doesn’t involve looking for a sign.  I’ll go to that Scottish bar, they have good beer there, and the music isn’t crappy contemporary.

Night At the Scottish Bar

           I walk into the Scottish bar. A few men look my way, but I’m not interested. They would look at any woman who walked in. I sit down at the bar right beside the pumps that deliver the good Scottish draft. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but the bartender still knows what I like to drink,

About an hour later, I have to go for a pee. I’m drunk enough to remember that old joke of “How can you tell the difference between the men’s and the ladies’ in a Scottish bar? Both have pictures of a person wearing a skirt”. I’m also drunk enough to want to say it. As I walk towards the washrooms, I spot a man of about my age sitting at a table alone, so I ask him the question. He laughs, and then replies with a semi-serious voice “Look for a Sign: You’ll know it when you see it.” My head snaps in his direction. “Are you here on your own?” He nods his head. “Would you like company? “ He nods his head again. “Well be there when I get back.”

July 22, 2021 13:46

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