You would be lying if you claimed you never had some type of nick-nack you were obsessed with as a child. Whether it be a toy, a stuffed animal, a blanket, etc., everyone has grown up with some constant in their life they went to for comfort. For me, it was my teddy bear. To any outsider, I probably looked like the average little girl overly attached to her inanimate, plush object. But, to me, my bear was special. My bear, came with a story. A story I’ve told over and over again, yet always look forward to reliving. Just like any story, it started off quite normal.
My family and I were standing in a line that seemed endless. At this rate, it felt like we would never get to Nantucket. And, being 5 years-old, of course I was squirm-ish. Needless to say, the more I fidgeted in place, the more I began to annoy both the people around me and my own family. So, as any mother would do in that situation, she sent me away with my grandfather. We were to enter the ferry and grab a seat before it filled up. I took my grandfather’s hand and hopped onto the boat. And boy, was I excited. This is will be the best family trip ever, I thought to myself. That was my first mistake.
“Hey, MeiLiu,” my grandfather said once we were on the first level of the ferry boat. “What do you say we go up to one of the higher levels so you can look at the view? Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall.”
If only I had said no. Before I knew it, we had placed our luggage down, and I was racing to the balcony to observe the people below. And, because I was a child, of course I had my favorite teddy bear glued to my side. That was my second mistake.
On my tippytoes, I leaned over the edge of the ferry to play Where’s Waldo with my missing family members. The moment I spotted them, out of pure instinct, I shouted as loud as I could to get their attention. When I couldn’t get them to notice me, I decided to take a more blunt approach. So, with the best intentions in mind, I opened both my hands and hollered to them to come join us. However, at that exact moment, I felt one of the worst feelings of realization I had ever experienced. Praying an all collective prayer to every single god I could think of, I slowly glanced downwards and watched as my beloved teddy bear plunged 20 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean. And, what did I do? I just stood there. Stunned. That was to be my last mistake.
It must had been at least five minutes before the reality of this incident set in. Until then, nobody had noticed that a little girl had just dropped her stuffed animal overboard. I could have stayed quiet if I had stayed calm. But, I was a 5 year-old, so naturally I did the only logical thing a person at that age would do: I cried. I began bawling my eyes out and soon enough, every single person surrounding me realized what had just occurred. And, from that point on, it became everyone’s mission, family or not, to stop this endless sea of tears.
Unfortunately, nobody was successful. But, that didn’t stop them from trying. Before I even had a chance to take a breath, I found myself being bombarded by strangers, all with the same mixture of annoyance and sympathy painted on their face. People began petting me and hugging me as if I were a pet. They were talking to me, attempting to find words of comfort. I was even given presents. To this day, I can still recall someone handing me a giant, stuffed brown dog with pink ears. It must had been the size of me. But, I didn’t want a new stuffed animal. I just wanted the teddy bear that I had believed to be at the bottom of the ocean by now. At least, that’s what I thought.
As time went on, and the crying began to dry out my throat, my grandfather finally took the initiative of taking my family and me to the snack bar. It was at that moment, sitting in the booth waiting for him to return with snacks, that I finally grasped the concept of a miracle.
I was sitting in the corner of the booth, wallowing in my misery, when an employee approached me and asked, “Excuse me. Are you the little girl who lost her bear?” I nodded. With a grin on her face, she handed me her phone speaking words that I could probably say in my sleep by now. “Someone would like to speak to you.”
“Hello,” I whimpered into the phone. “Hello!” I heard a woman exclaim on the other line. “I know you must be sad right now, but I have some great news. It just so happens that I found your bear floating from out under the dock when your ferry departed. I have retrieved it and sent it on the next ferry to Nantucket.
Congratulations!” And, with that, she hung up the phone. I wish I could articulate what I was feeling after that phone conversation was over, but I can’t. All I can say is that was some of the best news I had ever heard. If only, what she told me was the whole truth.
Apparently, her telling me she had found my bear, dried it off, and sent it on the next ferry was a bit of an understatement. I learned the rest of the truth later on. According to my mother, my bear wasn’t truly retrieved out of genuine compassion. It was more of a coincidence as a women on the dock had shouted at the harbormaster, “Hey! Hey! Can you get that bear below you?” But, that wasn’t even the craziest part. It just so happened that there were seagulls flying overhead when my teddy bear had been rescued. To stop any from diving for my bear, I was told the woman started chucking pebbles at them to scurry off.
Regardless of how insane it sounds, I couldn’t be more grateful to my renowned “Bear Rescuers.” They even took the liberty of microwaving him before he was sent to me. Hearing this half of the story made me grin just the more.
That night, I couldn’t fall asleep. All I could think of was my teddy bear. I replayed what had taken place on the ferry over and over in my head. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it to this day. All I know is when I arrived at the dock the next day, I was handed a shoe box. And, in the shoe box was a piece of cloth cuddling my brand new looking bear. Leaning over, I was greeted with a huge grin spread across his face. I could just imagine him saying, “Hello friend! You would not believe what I have been through.”