I don’t have many childhood memories but I remember the book, and the bear.
The book was small, with rounded cardboard pages.
I must have read it a million times, though the ending made me so sad.
And today I can think of nothing else. I tried searching on google for it, as I have many times before, but I never find it.
I’m thinking of recreating it.
I have to have it. And the bear.
Oh the bear.
What a sad ending he had: in the book and in my life.
I remember coming across a meme awhile back that got me thinking of the bear and the book. For they were twine, with each other as well as with me.
Of course, I am still emotionally attached. Or else I wouldn’t be sitting in the bath, writing this on my phone.
Back to the book: we’ll get to the fate of the bear at the end.
The book had thick cardboard pages, each with real life photographs of the teddy bear, documenting his journey as he begins to messily bake cookies – only bake isn’t the right word, for he never makes it that far.
While he makes the dough, he keeps tasting it, adding more honey, more chocolate chips. But it’s not quite right, so he keeps tasting it.
Then, at the end, the baking sheet is empty and so too his mixing bowl. He had tasted all the dough there was. And he was sad. And I was sad.
I owned him; I loved him. I had the bear from the book. He was my best friend.
And for a child as lonely as I was, he was a loyal friend. I talked to him. He slept with me. I cuddled him, held him tightly, no doubt releasing oxytocin in my poor little body; for my childhood was not a happy one.
And I don’t know what happened to the book.
But I know what happened to the bear.
I was 12 or 13, maybe 14. He had been my best, my only friend, for years.
And we had moved, so many times – often in the middle of the night. There was an extended stay in a mouse-infested Travelodge. My mom set traps that safely caught the mice, and we released them. But then we had moved to a place I loved.
It was, to this day, practically the only place I remember of my early years. Not that it wasn’t without its striking tragedies, but my memoirs will one day give you an account of those. This was the less intense tragedy, but no less traumatizing. For it was the end of that place, and the end of my teddy bear and I.
My mom and I had found the place together. I loved it right away. It was big, multiple stories, there was a fireplace. A few years later, when we lived in a shabby apartment but a few blocks away, I would go there to be picked up by friends, still pretending I lived there.
I remember one day my dad got a satellite installed on the roof, to trade stocks.
Maybe it was my childhood intuition, but I came to him one day crying.
I told him that I didn’t wan’t to have to move, that I wanted to stay in this place and that I loved this place. He seemed secure in his response, told me, “come here.”
I followed him up the stairs and he removed a fireproof briefcase safe from his closet. He used the analog combination dial to open it, and inside he showed me a bunch of pure silver coins, which meant nothing to me, but he told me they were worth something and that we were fine.
It wasn’t long after we were evicted.
I was so upset. Upset is not even the word. I don’t even remember where we moved after, maybe Lamont, maybe Diamond, maybe Grand, I could give you a hometown tour of all the places we lived.
I just remember having to pack, and I took my teddy bear to the dumpster, where I stomped on him, yelled at him, and threw him inside.
And it’s one of my biggest regrets.
Not long after this incident, I began smoking pot, drinking. And looking back, that moment, when I threw him away, that was the end of my childhood.
And twenty years later, I’m only now starting to recover it, myself.
To my teddy, whom I loved dearer than anything in my childhood – who was always there for me – I am so sorry I abandoned you, and subsequently myself.
I think I’ll drive to K-Mart tonight and find you again, reincarnated in another.