The Strength of My Bear

December 8, 2009
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My mom has always had a kind of obsession with our Indian heritage, and wanted me to share it. I of course had no desire to be anything like my Cherokee ancestors…or her. So when my dear mother bestowed upon me the ‘purple necklace of bravery’, as she called it, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. Just another reason for her ‘flower princess’ to join the search for the forgotten traditions of my 2% heritage.


As I stepped off of the bus, and said my farewells to my friends for the weekend, I had the feeling that tonight was a different night. It might actually possibly perhaps maybe be a time that I walk in to normal parents. No, it’s not possible. I think, crushing any hope I might have had. My shoulders drop in despair. I enter the house and slam the large white door closed. The smell of pine sol acquaints itself with my lonely nostrils. The house was actually clean! Whoa my gosh! I walk into the living room and pull my little brother up off of the floor where he is attacking the Nintendo control with the intensity of a dying man. I hug Gabe, and thank him for the clean house, since my 10 year old brother is the most likely person ever to be responsible enough for such an action. Gabe punches me and goes back to his game, mumbling about how I made him die. It’s just a stupid game. Damn it. I ignore him and go to my room to start my homework. I was nearly through the first problem set, when my mom enters my room without knocking. This was highly unusual. I mean usually she just slept all day, but I guess she decided today was the day of truth. Perform the impossible. Walk downstairs. Seating herself on my bed she starts talking to me about how I should clean my room. She asked me how I was doing in school. Sucky. Oh great. She leans over and gently closes my Algebra book. Let’s talk. So we talk for a while. I hadn’t had a typical conversation with her for at least 3 years. It felt good. Maybe that day was normal. She talks for a while about her plans and gives me a little advice for school. Then she started telling me about how we lived in past lives and how I was queen of the fairies. That led to our Indian ancestors. She reached over and put something in my hand before standing up to leave. After pulling my broken door completely closed, she silently walks away. I stare at the door until I hear creaks above my head which report the return to her small bedroom above me. It is only then that I look down to see what she left me. This turns out to be a purple Indian necklace, with an emblem of a bear. I threw the necklace at the wall and finished my math lesson in fury.


In the past two years I have forgotten about this necklace. A week ago, I was searching through my old room. Memories of my old life pulsed through everything. I found the forgotten necklace, broken lying on the floor alone. I have realized, through recent experiences, that this necklace was meant as a symbol of bravery, not a symbol of my mother’s pride. And because of my stupid anger issues, I had to go through it all alone. Now I know that that one day, that one normal day, meant a lot to me. By keeping this purple Indian necklace, I will keep the strength of the bear in my heart always.





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