I saw Teddy again today, but only from a distance. I knew it was him. I knew it was my favourite stuffed animal that little girl in the park was holding so dearly in her arms. Teddy used to be my best friend. He was once mine but now I can’t even be near him, least embrace him once more.
I remember it vividly – that night I lost Teddy.
Daddy came home one night with a bag full of presents. Inside were pretty dresses, drawing kits, even a video camera, a set of dolls and more teddy bears! I was so happy to the point that Daddy had to talk me back to sleep.
Days passed and I was happily amused by all the new toys I got; I was hand painting, drawing on walls and recording everything with my video camera.
One morning, I noticed Teddy was gone. I couldn’t find him anywhere. I was pre-occupied playing with all my toys and forgot where I put him last. I continued looking for a couple of hours, but when I saw how many toys I already had, I forgot all about him instantly!
“Teddy left me. Maybe he found a new playmate and doesn‘t want to play with me anymore,“ I blurted out.
“Oh well, why would I need him when I have all these toys in my room wanting my attention!”
I went back to the play room, had fun all day and never thought of Teddy again. Days passed and my teddy bear didn’t cross my mind. Years went by and I soon forgot about him. I grew up and kept my childish toys away.
One day, I was sitting at my usual spot on the hill in the park when my eyes wandered to a bench on my right, just near the big old oak tree. It was him. Teddy. I knew it was him the moment I saw those expressive brown button eyes and his stitched-red smile. My body was trembling as I felt like a little girl again, wanting to run towards my teddy bear, grab him and take him back home.
I was about to take my first step, when I saw a little girl running towards Teddy. She kissed him and hugged him so tightly like it’s the most precious treasure one can have. That moment I saw Teddy’s eyes glimmer as he turned toward me and smiled.
Then it struck me. Teddy has changed a lot; he has been through a lot of repairs. He used to be so fluffy and clean and white; not dirty and badly groomed. My eyes surveyed his body and I saw stitches that were never there before. There were stitches on his ear, on his tummy and on his leg and arms; Oh his right arm! It was slightly shorter than the other! It was obviously ripped and stitched back.
I was disheartened. “Oh dear friend, how can I not notice that you’ve been through so much?” That brought me to tears. I couldn’t do it. I could not claim what’s not mine anymore.
From that day on, I’ve been watching this little girl play with my Teddy in the park for hours. Day by day I sit on my special spot on top of the hill as I observe Teddy with his new playmate.
There were times when I wanted to reach out and play with him too. Countless times I wanted to talk to that little girl and tell her my story. But every time I see Teddy in her arms, I realized how long I’ve been away and out from my Teddy’s life. He is somebody’s toy now. And he doesn’t need me anymore.
How this little girl found him, I would never know. Where Teddy has been and what he has been through all these years will forever be a mystery to a stranger like me. Yes, a stranger. Because that’s what I am to him now. Nothing more.