Pinstriped SuitsThree hours past her bedtime, four-year-old Sarah clamored downthe stairs into the kitchenupon the arrival of her parents.Standing on the sidelinesI, the baby-sitter, watched as the father and daughter greeted each other.She clutched her brown, raggedy teddy-bear's arm.His curly fur was much like her own dark hair,but rumpled from many washings, an attempt toget out the persistent grape juice stain on his right ear.Rupert, as he was called, had a button nosethat was nearly falling off, but a smilethat was stitched into eternity.Sarah, with her pink fish tee-shirtwith sleeves that drooped beneathher elbows, and sagged beneath her knees,seemed enveloped in a cotton-candy cloud, a cloud with a silly bearsuspended from it.Her father, slightly haggardfrom a dinner party with hiswife's friends, looked olderthan when he left. A small bald spotshowed as he bent over to embracehis little girl.Sarah nearly knockedher father over as he kneltto enfold herin a warm, bear hug.Her brown hair fell againsthis navy pinstriped suitin a mass of dark curls.Rupert dangled in the clutchof the small hand. Then, the bear continuedto grin as Sarah dropped him to wrapher arms around her father's neck.Standing on her tiptoes,Sarah could barely reach his earto whisper, "I love you, Daddy."The pain in my heart still throbsas I remember how I too have discarded mychildhood friend - my stuffed bear. No longer doI reach for his furry hand in the darkness,or sleep on his warm soft tummywhen the lightning flashes outside.I've realized that as the years have passed,I have stopped looking to the comforting toyin my times of frustration and sorrow. I have stopped allowing myself to attend the tea parties out on the lawnwith my bear friend. And, I have grown too old to let myselfrun as I used to;into my father's warm embraceas he kneels on a cold tile floor.by Annette Pollert, Setauket, NY
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.