When you are only seven years old, you don’t have much choice when your Mom gets a new job. Sally held tight to the Teddy Bear that Kevin had given her on her fourth birthday. He drew a little heart with magic marker on the front of the bear and wrote: “Kevin luv U” in it.
At the time her Mother thought it was precious. Her Dad laughed out loud.
“So you are going to marry my Sally are you Kevin”
Kevin answered with a straight face, a face covered with child like innocence, absolute certainty, colored in the tone of True Love:
“Yes, sir. When I am old enough, and if (looking over at Sally with a shy blush) she still wants me when I am all grown up and hairy.”
That made everyone laugh. Everyone except Sally. She only smiled hard at Kevin.
“I hope you don’t get hairy…I don’t want to hug a rug.”
And that laugh was shared by Kevin and Sally.
Now, just three years later, they were being torn apart by circumstance not by wish.
“I have to go now.”
Sally couldn’t stop the tears as she turned to bolt back into the house. Anything to run away from the pain of saying goodbye. As she turned to run, Kevin reached out to grab her. All he caught was the eye of the Teddy Bear. It came off like a sticky scab with a little tearing sound. Sally didn’t stop. She ran to her Mom’s SUV and hopped in.
Kevin stood in the driveway until he couldn’t see Sally, or the car, anymore. In his tiny fist was Teddy’s button eye.
Two decades passed.
“You have to meet her. I swear you will like her. She is just your type.”
Kevin Smiled. Melanie was the Office Matchmaker. She always was on the look out for Romances - outside the Office of course - inside the Office she frowned on any relationship other than work related.
“And what, exactly, is my type?”
That stopped Kevin in his tracks. The look on his face must have conveyed some deep hurt because Melanie struggled to recover her words.
“I don’t mean that exactly. It is just that you don’t seem to care about dating, except as a casual fling. Like you don’t want anyone in your life…alone. Lonely. You know?”
Kevin did know. Ever since he was seven he had been lonely. Not consciously, but for real. He didn’t often even think of Sally, he thought. He was wrong. Melanie’s comment was accurate. His type was lonely.
Kevin didn’t have a mean bone in his body, his natural humor came back in an instant.
“So your idea is to set one lonely person up with another lonely person? And that will work out…how?”
His twinkle and broad smile took the sting out of the words, but the question was valid.
“Kevin, I have known you for six years. I met this girl at the Convention in San Diego back in November. I swear, she was like talking to a female you. She was bright, funny, energetic and sweet…just like you. (Kevin blushed, but almost every head in the Office nodded in agreement with Melanie’s assessment.) And just like you…there is a hole in her heart. A well. Something left…empty, bare, unfilled.
(Melanie took a breath, and a moment to study how Kevin was taking in all this honesty)
I told her she reminded me of someone back at the Office. She said to me:
“I would like to meet him. Maybe we can be lonely together.”
Melanie laughed at remembering that line. Kevin laughed at the irony of it.
“Okay, Melanie, what is this girl’s name?”
“Sarah. She just moved into an apartment near here. She just got a promotion and her firm sent her here to head up the new Branch. I can call her and set up a dinner date tonight! (Now it was Melanie’s turn to blush a deep red - her enthusiasm had run ahead of her courtesy…making her seem, well…pushy.)
Everyone in the Office held their breath. What would Kevin say?
“Okay, but you have to go as my Chaperone. If I get lonely, I need a way out!”
Everyone laughed. Melanie would call her husband Henry and tell him they were double dating tonight, but it would be a steak house. That would stop his grumbling in its track. If there is anything Henry hated it was double dating with his wife’s matchmaking pairs…but if there was anything Henry loved more than a Porterhouse, it was only Melanie. So he would go willingly.
The date was set for eight. They could pick her up at her apartment any time after seven thirty tonight.
Sarah liked Kevin almost immediately. He seemed, well, familiar. Kevin thought the same thing when he shook her hand, in his mind he shrugged it off to loneliness. The Introductions were in the Lobby, and short. But before they could head out the door Sarah looked in her purse for a moment.
“Drat. I left my phone upstairs. Why don’t you all come up with me? I know right where it is. And I don’t have anyone to show my shiny new apartment to.“
When they got upstairs Sarah took everyone for a short tour of her apartment. Like her, it was neat, organized, and sweet. It already looked like a home, not just a place to stay. On the Mantle over the bed was a stuffed Teddy Bear missing one eye.
Kevin froze in place. He reached into his pocket to gently finger the eye of a Teddy Bear that looked just like that one from long ago. It couldn’t be. This girl’s name is Sarah. His girl was named Sally. It must be one of those Teddy Bears that are supposed to look like they are missing an eye, or blinking.
Sarah saw the stunned look. So did Melanie and Henry. Sarah laughed gently.
“I know it is such a girly thing. But I have had that bear for years. I don’t know where the eye went. I just sewed it shut. It is my good luck bear.“
Whatever Sarah was expecting, it wasn’t a full grown man crying in her living room.
“I thought your name was Sarah?”
Sarah looked baffled.
“Well…I knew a girl named (reaching into his pocket to pull out the eye he had kept for decades) Sally. She had one of those bears, but it had two eyes. Here is the other one.”
No words were spoken as Sarah took the preferred eye, and with the reverence usually reserved for precious objects, placed the eye on the Teddy Bear. It matched perfectly.
“But your name is Sarah.”
Melanie spoke in tones so close to awe that a miracle couldn’t have told the difference.
“Kevin, Sally is a nickname for Sarah. Or it used to be.”
Still holding the bear, Sarah reached out and pulled Kevin close to her. Whispering into his ear:
“Of course, you wouldn’t know that. We were only seven.”
At the wedding all the single women were given a Teddy Bear with one eye missing. All the Single guys were given a round bright Teddy Bear eye. When you found the bear with the matching missing eye - you had to sit together all night.
Kevin and Sally figured if it worked for them…it might work for others.
Melanie told the story of the Miracle to anyone who would listen…which was damn near everyone.
Their Teddy Bear couldn’t wink anymore because it had both eyes again. But if it could …it would.