Teddy

By , jacksonville, FL
She dragged the laundry detergent scent of her teddy bear under her bed. He still had the scent of her mother wrapped around his folded ears. His bead coffee eyes were as scared as hers were, wishing he could be anywhere; maybe back at the teddy shop, anywhere anyplace but there. The scent of tobacco lingered in the five year old girl’s, Love’s room and she knew her mother was there on her bed with her hair spun in a bun like a woven web. She knew she was sitting there; tilting her head slowly to the right and then balancing it in the middle and back to the left again just like a see-saw.

TAP TAP TIP TAP! Her nails hit against the child’s bedpost just like they had when she was a computer teacher, pouring out the letters, letting her words ride out over the buzzing student voices. Love began to rock my teddy bear, hoping his beady eyes became more like the calm waters of the ocean. She knew he was thinking about how mother use to hold them and read them stories throughout the day ,while they sat on a picnic blanket in the living room under the tent ,sipping apple juice and letting their lips become intertwine in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ,crumbs falling in between the pages of books.


But things changed when daddy lost his job and as time revealed, so did life’s bruises as well. He used to work as a teacher at an elementary school but budgets were cut he was laid off. Mom said it was “OK” she would stroke his back and let her fingers sift through his blond hair, untangling the illness like she did when they were sick only. She doesn’t do it anymore. He left her for another woman. He didn’t leave her anything but Love, a black and white television set, and a lot of bruises with no remedy for healing.

Now at night Teddy and Love become scared as she staggers through the wooden door and slams it close; she must have forgotten it’s already hanging off the hinges. She takes the scent of all the men she has slept with, and all the beer they gave her all robs the child of the image she used to be.

“ LOOOOVEEEEEEEEEEE!”

She yells letting her name stagger off her tongue like the unevenness of rolling plains. Unlike Teddy, who wasn’t born into this life but into a shop of his own kind of softness and love, Love can’t think of anywhere to escape to run to. And she knows her mother has only her she couldn’t leave her for an escape like her father did.


She crawls from under the bed letting her jet black curls flow after her like the sweetness of the air.

“Let’s go into the bathroom“, she whispers bruising Love’s nose with the foulness of her breath.

“Mommy, are the animal jungle after you tonight”.

She asked for she knew even at the age of five that it wasn’t tigers and lions after her mother but pain.

She brushed her over Love’s rosemary cheeks letting tears drift on her face like fallen rose petals.

” Yes, my Love they are”.

Love left Teddy in the bed thinking how she would give him to a thrift shop and he wouldn’t land in a home with tigers and lions chasing his owner under a bed escaping from the scents of pain. Maybe then his eyes will refrain from being beady and black like the cold still air.

She grabbed her mother’s hand, and steered her to the hall where the boards creaked under her feet like moaning ghosts. She then grabbed the picnic blanket and the tent from the closet and read to her, her favorite book while she ran her fingers through Love jet black curls letting some of the pain condescend through the pages. The phone began to ring in the middle of the night, sending chills down Love’s back. It was grandma on the phone repeating to her stories that she told her mother when she was a child; it coaxed the child a bit and she fell asleep to the dream of Florida’s beaches and grandma’s promises.



The next morning, she woke up surprised to see a fresh cup of orange juice sitting on the tattered table. Accompanying it was a small bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. She often dreamed of her hair dancing on the reflection of the sea while she and the leprechaun chased rainbows of cereal. Love’s things were packed neatly in to the luggage grandma brought for her when she visited the beaches of Florida. She knew right then grandma was there to save her. It was a far distance appearing in mother glassy china doll eyes as she penguin shuffled to the door leading through the door with my luggage. Love thought about Teddy and decided he needed to be there to chase the lions and bears from her.





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