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Faded Velvet

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As I sneeze, tufts of fluff shoot out from my open seams. The morning sun gleams as its warming rays reflect off the toys in the store. While watching my clumps of cotton drift sluggishly through the hazy air, the toy maker has already prepared to open. Sitting atop this ledge, I gaze over the entire toy store in its glory. Toys of all different shapes, colors, and sizes clutter the front window, tables and other shelves. Another day, I wonder. Maybe today I will be bought, taken off this plank of hard wood and carried by arms warm with adoration. Hopefully, today my lifetime goal of bringing joy to another will finally be achieved. The toy maker has unlocked the front door with a click and hung the flaming red ‘OPEN’ in the window. As the sun gradually rises higher and higher with each passing second, so does my hope.

Oh, the first customer of the day has arrived. The jingling of bells, bringing about a feeling of Christmas, signals his entrance. As it almost always is these days, the gentleman heads straight to the new toys. Their shiny, glossy surfaces glare with pride at me. They attract people with bright colors, new figures, hypnotizing them with new tricks. I don’t understand why humans don’t want bears anymore. I, Sir Teddy, seem to have become the last of my kind. Have you ever seen another bear with my lustrous fur? Velvet nose? Courageously glinting eyes? I think not! I was even knighted by Queen Teddy herself. No other bear can compare. Just a little over six years ago I was a handsome, and very charming, bear, a newborn cub. I was young, fierce, and people loved me. But now it’s all different. A deep sense of loneliness eats away at my soul, the gnawing is non-stop. I sit here, alone, many of my seams already split and my fur has become ragged, a tangled mass of thorny bushes. No longer do my eyes shine with excitement, instead a dull gleam has replaced my former self.

A chiming of singing brass bells draws my attention to the door. Watching the man disappear, that ceaseless loneliness within me grows, eating at my essence and precious, dwindling amount of fluff. Sitting here, no child can see me; the height of this ledge can only be reached by a step stool. Again, the ringing of music echoes throughout the small store, a young girl has entered hand-in-hand with her mother. I realize she’s equipped with a sparkle in her eye and a skip in her steps. Her movements are carefree, a child, this is my chance. I try my hardest to speak out, to create any noise to capture her attention, anything to get off this retched shelf. Six years is too long for I, Sir Teddy. Finally, her eyes have caught me! My heart of woven cotton fibers could burst. I can already feel the comforting pressure of being hugged or even the immense wave of being glazed with adoration. Pointing at me, her eyes lit with excitement, her mouth opens and closes like the lid of a cookie jar amongst thousands of starving children. Tugging on her mother’s dress, causing wrinkles like a tsunami made of fabric, she jumps up and down. Yes, this is it; this is my chance! Her mother’s lips are tightly pursed into a slight frown and she exchanges a few words with the toy storeowner, all the while turning around to reprimand her daughter. The sun is shining full power, illuminating not only the whole store but also my miraculous door of opportunity. It’s like I have been restored. Watching, near the edge of the ledge, this loneliness no longer hungers for me. The toy maker reaches for the step stool, it’s drowning in years of dust. My hope is now soaring; farther than it ever has, beyond the confining walls of the store and out into the fragments of endless blue sky. And then, faster than I can comprehend, the woman opens her mouth widely and speaks with the toy-maker, her head shaking in disagreement no matter what he replies. His expression is twisted into frustration and in mere seconds, the woman’s frantic pointing and words causes the young girl to cry, stomping her feet, her bottom lip jut into a pout. I have seen this many times before, it only occurs when the child does not get what they want.

Once again, those blasted bells above the door jingle, their sound is no longer an ally to me. Its melody does not soothe me rather it only deepens my sorrow. When her mother clutched the little girl and had to drag her away, spectators across the street stopping to watch only for a moment, the child put up quite a fight. She tore away from her mother’s firm grip to press her face against the front window. As I strained to turn and look, her small hand rose to wave vigorously at me and with tear-streaked cheeks complete with a runny nose, she managed a large, hopeful, smile at me. I watch her leave and the toy store becomes bleak. Time quickly tick-tocks away, like grains of sand through open hands. As I sit here, all I can do is reflect on what has happened, the sun streaked pinks and oranges throughout the large room. Slowly but surely, hope slowly re-stirs within me, daring the challenge the rapidly recovering loneliness. Painting across the sky, the sun bathes me within a new golden glow. Tomorrow. Maybe, she’ll come back tomorrow. I silently mutter to myself, I can only wish that hope will prevail over the forever-victorious loneliness. After waiting six years, what’s one more day?





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