Reginald.

Reginald is a perfect name for a squirrel, but aiming to prolong the conversation, I was contrarian and said that we could do better. She tried, and her subsequent suggestions were, as always, excellent. Mine were derivative and uninspiring, but this was no surprise.

We continued eating our monochrome but delicious dinner, exchanging smiles across the table between bites, until, amidst a chuckle, she suggested, “Mr. Giggles.”

It was an unconventional name for an animal, but it was perfect; her utterance sent us into little fits of giggles at the dinner table. After that, when we would pause between bites to catch our breath, a simpled shared glance would set us off into laughter again.

After our meal, as we walked in the biting cold air to the bus stop, she put her arm in mine and pulled me close. She did it just for the warmth, I’m sure, but that didn’t stop my heart from beating just a little faster, my every step being a little springier. And as we walked, arm in arm and shivering, towards the bus stop, she looked up at me, smiled, and said, “Mr. Giggles.”

There, on a cold January night on a deserted street, the two of us erupted in laughter, thinking of squirrels, as we pulled each other close to escape the wind. There, on a cold January night on a deserted street, I was happy.