My Journey

From mind to paper and back again.

The Journey of a Teddy Bear

on June 2, 2009

The rain spattered against the window as the shelf I sat on gathered dust for yet another day. The height of the shelf makes me dizzy even when I think back now, all the other toys were better than me; in arms reach of children and parents alike. No one wanted a teddy bear like me, bright pink with a squashed nose, I’m not as interesting as a train that drives itself or a dolly with a change of clothes.

The days merged into weeks before he came into the little store. He looked around and picked the others up, put them down and wondered back out. A couple of hours later he came back in again. This time though, he came straight to the counter and pointed at my shelf. He must have wanted one of the smaller bears. The attendant picked one up and he shook his head. The little brown bear looked downcast as he was replaced on the shelf. The hand of the attendant pointed down the shelf at each bear individually, looking expectantly at the man at the bottom of the ladder. It wasn’t until his hand stopped at me that the other man nodded. No one had wanted to look at me before; the younger children weren’t interested in me because I didn’t do anything and the older ones weren’t interested in teddy bears at all, claiming that they were too old. The attendant lifted me down, plumped my belly and passed me across. I got a good glance of the man now, his thick set glasses perched on the edge of his nose, the baggy blue cardigan mismatched with grey trousers and the gentlest smile and eyes I have ever seen.

He looked me over and nodded again, thus began my journey home. I was placed in a bag slightly too small so I could see over the top as he carried me outside and to the car. I got to ride on the front seat and could see the people on the streets and the smoke in the sky from factories dotted around. When we pulled up outside a house and he had switched the engine off the radio went off with it submerging me into silence. That is, until the man coughed, a deep raking cough that seemed to shatter his very being. He took a moment, regained his composure and picked me up again, this was it. I was home at last. The sky was dark as we passed through the threshold of the front door, rain threatening again and the night closing in fast the comparison with the bright lights was stark.

‘What’ve you got there Ben?’ A lady asked as we went through into the living room. I knew his name now, I would find out later he was known by two other names as well.

‘I thought it would be nice for a Christmas present for Kirsty. I saw him in a little toy shop earlier on today and went back for him after work. Don’t you like him?’

‘Please like me!’ I shouted as loud as I could but of course she’s an adult and they can’t hear toys like children can, my shout didn’t go unnoticed though, even though she couldn’t hear. She carefully lifted me out of the bag and looked me over.

‘He’s lovely. She’ll love him Ben, but he can’t stay in that bag. We’ll have to wrap him up.’

It was much to my dismay that I would have to sit in the dark under the tree now for more than two weeks. A few days after, I stopped hearing the cough that I remember from the car, the house went quiet and I heard a lot of crying. I didn’t realise exactly what had happened until I saw light again on Christmas morning.

‘Vicki, this one’s off your dad, he bought it a few weeks back for Kirsty.’

I felt two hands pick me up off the floor.

‘I wish he could have seen her open it though.’

‘We all do.’

The room went quiet and all of a sudden I felt a pair of tiny hands tickling my belly. I couldn’t help but laugh, especially when I saw the blue eyes that they belonged to. They were like Ben’s, gentle and loving. I couldn’t see Ben anywhere, the cough had gone and so had he, no wonder everyone was so quiet, for them Christmas wasn’t a time to celebrate this year but to remember their dad and grandad.

I spent the next few years moving from bed to bed, being carried around by the arm and by the ear, and being cuddled by two growing arms. I got cuddles more as she got bigger and bigger, with bruised knees and arms the tears poured until she listened to me. I told her about the magic fairies that would mend the bumps and bruises that she got and the fairy dust that made the tears go away. You never know, she might tell her own children about them one day.

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