We sit at a red light. Traffic’s backed up and the radio keeps playing commercial after commercial. I most certainly don’t care about the Teacher of the Year or what traffic is like on the Northway. And Bear Cub is beginning to get snarly.
You know, it seemed so simple at first. How hard could it be to wrangle a small bear cub and take it with you on a mundane trip to the grocery store? Everyone else seems to do it just fine.
Bear Cub is looking at me.
The light turns green and I step on the pedal but slam on the break when I realize it’s only a green arrow. We cannot go yet.
This is not good.
I think Bear Cub might want to eat me.
I don’t want to be eaten.
Most people don’t get eaten by their bear cubs. In fact, their cubs don’t even move. They’re lifeless things with button eyes and a stomach full of stuffing. They’re teddy bears. Not real bears. Those people just set the bears down wherever and continue with their life.
Did I mention Bear Cub wants to eat me?
I swear he’s getting bigger.
And this damn light won’t turn green.
What if it never turns green? What if my car never goes through the light? If I don’t get through this light, I am most certainly going to be eaten. And that would be terrible.
I hear it’s perfectly normal. It’s perfectly common. No one would judge you if you got eaten.
But I don’t want to be eaten.
I don’t. I don’t. I don’t.
Bear Cub’s not a cub anymore. He now makes teddy bears seem like miniscule ants.
He’s a freaking bear.
I look round and round. It’s as if they see nothing out of the usual. After all, it’s just a bear right? How harmful could it be? My heart races. My stomach clenches. My sweaty fingers curl tightly around the wheel.
I need the light to turn green. I need to get out. OUT. Away from the freaking bear.
The light turns green.
The bear follows.
I go everywhere, hoping to rid myself of the bear. To the grocery store where I put on headphones to drown out the bear’s snarling. To the bookstore, where I hide my nose deep into sweet-smelling pages to block his view. And it doesn’t work.
So we rush home. Home is where the bear reverts back into a somewhat cute cub.
It will have to work.
It will work.
And as I open the door, Bear Cub is by my side, snarling and hissing, taunting me about the outdoors. So I turn on music as loud as possible to drown out his snarls.
And for a time, it works.