Today's unscripted post is inspired by Teddy Bear
She clung to it, her safety net. It had been a gift several years ago and was showing its age now. Where once the fur was soft and fluffy, now it was matted and balding in places. The black plastic eyes were scratched and pitted, a sign of a well-loved toy. As she moved through the classroom on the first day, she glared at everyone who showed interest in the bear.
"That's a... cute bear you have there," the adult chimed, squeezing the little paw. "Why don't we put him in your cubby so he doesn't get lost?"
She pursed her lips together and furrowed her eyebrows, spinning away from the teacher's waiting hands.
The teacher sighed. "Alright, Emily. You can keep your bear for today. But only because it's the first day. Tomorrow, he needs to go in your cubby with the rest of your things, okay?"
She glared at the teacher, then reluctantly nodded. Her mother had warned her that she wouldn't be able to have him with her forever. She still didn't understand why adults didn't have theirs. It was nice having someone to talk to, someone who wasn't mean and wouldn't hit you if you spoke badly. Someone who was always there, no matter what happened.
She gave the bear one last squeeze, then made her way to the seat the teacher had pointed out to her. She traced her name on the bright yellow sign taped to the desk and bit her lip nervously. Plopping down in her seat, she set Teddy on her lap and waited for instructions. The girl in the desk next to hers leaned over and whispered, "Nice bear. I have one like it, but my daddy made me leave it at home this morning."
She turned towards the girl and blinked, then glanced down at her bear. "My mommy would never take my Teddy away from me."
The girl smiled. "Your mommy must be really nice. I'm Tracy."
"Pleased to meet you, Emily," Tracy said slowly and regally. "I think we will be best friends."
"I don't know where he could beeee..." she wailed.
Tracy patted her on the shoulder. "Shh... it's okay, Emily. One of the boys probably took him just to be mean."
"What's going on here?" the teacher asked, looking down at the sobbing girl.
"Emily lost her bear."
The teacher sighed and tapped her foot impatiently. "Come on, Emily. You can't act like this anymore. You're growing up."
Tracy stood up and stamped her foot. "Let her be upset about it! It's a very important bear!"
The teacher rolled her eyes and walked away, leaving Tracy to comfort Emily. "I'm sure he will turn up sometime. Maybe you just left him at home or something."
"I didn't leave him at home! I had him with me on the way to school this morning, and brought him into the classroom with me!" she snapped.
Tracy held up her hands. "Sorry. I was just trying to help."
"Well, I don't want your help!" Letting out a groan of frustration, she stood and raced towards the building.
"Why the puffy eyes, sweetie?" her mom asked as she grabbed her bookbag.
"Teddy's gone," she mumbled, storming out of the building without waiting for her mother to follow. Her mother let out a sigh and quickly caught up with her daughter, then drove her the short distance home.
"Go play in the backyard for a little bit while I get dinner ready."
Dropping her bookbag unceremoniously in the front walkway, she rounded the house and opened the gate to the backyard. She kicked at the grass with her shoe and mumbled as she trudged around the yard, keeping her eyes at the ground.
Her mother slipped out of the back door to the house and set a glass of lemonade on the patio table. "Come have something to drink, sweetie."
Sighing, she walked slowly up to the table and dropped into a chair. As she reached for her lemonade, she let out a shout. "Teddy!" She rushed to the other side of the table and grabbed the bear from his resting place in one of the other chairs. "Oh Teddy, I missed you so much! Mooom... why didn't you tell me he was here?"
Her mother smiled. "You didn't exactly give me a chance to when I picked you up. I snagged him from your cubby after I dropped you off so I could fix him up a little bit. He got surgery to fix the hole in his side and got his mouth all fixed up, good as new.”
She spared a quick hug for her mother, then squeezed her bear more tightly. “I'm never letting him go again!”