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Yours to Bear

“I like it when the water splashes.” Tina ran her lips along the edge of a glass. “Sometimes when I take a drink, it rushes upwards and into my nose.” She took a dainty sip and set the water on a sill before pulling a cord hanging loosely from the curtain. The weighted blinds whisked over the window, tipping the glass. She clasped her hand over her mouth to giggle, mopping the water with the drapes.

“The ocean has come for a visit, Teddy.” She pulled a worn bear from his place on a small wicker chair to examine him. “You’re just terribly dirty today. I would think that the grumpy Dr. Featherdust should just want to drown you.” She shook a thin finger at the collapsing toy, wandering to a rocking chair in the corner. She dusted the chair off before spreading her nightgown girlishly over the seat. “I want taste of tapioca pudding, Teddy.” She folded her hands on her lap, glancing curiously at a stopped, antique coo-coo clock on the wall. “Nurse needs to come around for us soon.” She sighed and held the toy on her lap, stroking its matted brown fur.

She set the teddy on a chair, suddenly enamored with a sparkling toy wand poking out of a Chinese vase. “I guess a fairy god-mother left this here. I don’t want to do accidental magic, you know, for I could turn you into a prince, or a toad!” She shrieked. “A toad might be fun…but oh dear, I would not know which would happen.” She drooped, still grasping the wand with her pale fingers. Tina looked about the room, fixing on a stern, black and white family portrait on the stand beside her. “What if I turned them into real people- the grumpy-faces!” She snorted, whisking her wand through he air. “I would not even care to share porridge with the likes of them.” She dropped the wand, distracted by a sharp glint of metal from within a half-opened drawer.

“Scissors!” She squealed, holding them to the bear. “The Nurse doesn’t want me to have these.” She covered them with her night-gown, looking around suspiciously. “I don’t want to get in trouble- but there are ever so many things I would like to cut!” She peeked at the glinting tool behind her gown, sliding a finger along the chipped edge.

A tall woman in starched white poked into the room behind Tina, smiling
“It’s bath time, Miss Hamilton.”
“Oh no.” Tina covered her face, dropping the toy bear.
“Oh, yes. And you aren’t going to get out of it today.” The Nurse scolded. “You have family downstairs to see you.” She lifted the nightgown over Tina, who was attempting to hide the scissors in her hands. “Where did those come from?” The Nurse pried them from her, slipping them into her apron pocket. “You know you can’t have these.”
Tina shook her head obstinately.
“Do you want to know who came to see you?”
“It was Teddy’s fault- he has been naughty all day.”
“Both of your daughters made it.” The Nurse swabbed a sponge over Tina’s thin back. “And they even brought the new grandbaby.”
“He is a bad little bear,” she said, stroking its tattered fur. “But I will always love him.”
She draped a towel over her shoulder, but Tina freed herself from the tangle, pushing the Nurse away. She picked up the ripped bear and wandered to the window seat. With much effort she pulled up the blinds and hoisted her delicate limbs onto the cushions.
“Not right now, Tina…” the Nurse dropped the heavy towel.
Tina tenderly cradled the teddy bear, attention fixed on the window- lost in the subtle hum and blurs of the traffic outside the nursing home.




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