That Teddy Bear

When I was a kid, I had a really big stuffed teddy bear. It was just an average bear, nothing special about it. White, fluffy fur. Big, round eyes, and a smiling face all the time.

When I was a kid, this bear was my height, or even taller then me! When I was a kid, this bear was my best friend!

I would talk to this bear everyday, and tell him stories about school, and all the new things I learned everyday. That bear would smile and listen to me, always beaming at my stories. We would do everything together. That bear and I would spend days just exploring the universe that I knew back then. The made-up worlds, the far-off lands, the strange new people. Always, this teddy bear was there by my side.

That teddy bear was so enthusiastic. Teddy would always wave at me, and nudge me forward when I was afraid. Teddy would comfort me, and hold me, and treat me just the same, no matter where we were.

Together, we explored the boundless seas, and endless skies. The wonder of the juju trees in Lost Sarata, or the rotten mazes of Nara. We crossed oceans in boats, and ships on the sail. We made friends with pirates, soldiers, and kings. The sand duke Miratan gave us the elixir of life, and a chest of gold for our troubles. But always, we remained by each other's side.

So one day, after a voyage to the end of the world, back in the safety of my own room, I decided to do something.

So I turned to face that Teddy Bear, who had taken the preferred seat by the front ledge, and took a plunge.

"Teddy Bear, I love you!. Do you love me too?"

But that Teddy Bear didn't say anything. For the first time, I noticed the silence. And the eyes. The eyes of that bear, nestled in the smiling, always smiling face.

Always Smiling.

You're always smiling.

But are you really happy?

Those eyes, were they always so cold? Were they always so lifeless? Where is that enthusiasm in your face? Or the laughter that danced on your always-present smile? Or that encouragement that was always just a push and a wave away from your hand?

Why?

Why?

Why won't you respond?

After that day, that Teddy Bear wouldn't talk to me. Teddy Bear wouldn't wave at me, or kiss me goodnight, or respond to my calls. That Teddy Bear was so, SO important to me.

I felt alone, and betrayed. Like a hot iron forcing it's way up my stomach, I cried while trying to bite back tears. I hated myself. I hated myself for not being good enough. For not being someone Teddy Bear could respond to.

Eventually, I was picked up. Or maybe I picked myself up. I rejoined the world of the living, and the days of school and home and frightfully normal things. I went to school everyday at 8.45 in the morning, had lunch and recess, and came home by 3:30. I helped mom prepare dinner, and helped dad with his chores. I did what I could, and then I'd sit in my room.

One day I made a friend. We liked the same foods, and the same kind of things. We lived quite close to each other. We would see each other, and play together at school. Our favorite place was that old tree house on oak street, where we would visit at every free moment.

As we both grew older, our circle of friends grew a bit wider. The same basic people. An extra here or there. We hung out in groups more, did things together. Tried new things, saw new things.

The days flew by with relative quickness. The pace of the summers, and falls, and winters and springs. Things seemed to pick up, like a river flowing down-hill, and the passage of time seemed to speed up.

On one normal, regular day, as I woke up, I happened to look near the window. And there on the ledge, was that Teddy Bear.

The same dazzling face. The same, ever-present smile. Those slightly-too-large eyes.

Wave after wave of nostalgia. Shared experiences.

Accumulated memories.

Forgotten Feelings.

"Hey, Teddy Bear. I loved you. But you didn't love me, right?"

And those eyes. Do they seem a bit brighter? Does that smile seem more real now?

Or did I merely forget them, on that day? Did I lose sight of the truth?

Can I really be content with not having an answer?

Anything, anything at all.

Just give me anything. So I know once and for all.

Childish thoughts. Stupid emotions.

A passing breeze that had no origin. The meaning that defied all existence.

Closed windows.

Moved Air.

And gentle as a feather, touch light as a swan.

That Teddy Bear waved at me.