Teddy was given to me at the age of 8 by my Nanna. He was found in Marks and Sparks in 1981 and travelled from Gillingham, Kent to Johannesburg, South Africa where we spent our formative years. He had a bright red bow initially and was really fluffy. He had several repairs including a leg and ear operation and once a fateful un-authorized bath for which he lost his smell for a while and I was furious. He still bears my laundry tag under his right leg from when I went to boarding school which is a bit like a teddy tattoo I guess?

I am an only child and the daughter of a travel agent. So not only did I spend much of my childhood sleeping in strange beds, but I also had no siblings to settle with at night as my parents turned out the lights and delivered me into darkness. As I lay there staring into a black canvas where imagination takes flight into both fancy and foul, the presence and companionship of Teddy made me feel entirely in good company. I would use him as my pillow and there right where my mouth almost fell into his ear I whispered to him my secrets and laughed or cried about the happening of my day/ week/month/year/childhood and eventually adulthood.

I left him in Disney World in a hotel room when I was 11. Tragically I only realized he was missing as we arrived at the airport to catch our international flight. I felt the life drain out of me. This was my first realization about how the loss of a loved one felt. He was in fact returned to me a month or so later by post but it was a kind of training for when later that year my Mother passed. The power of Teddy and his support although silent, soft and stuffed was immense. He provided such great comfort and undivided attention and I loved him all the more.

Of course there is much history that follows and naturally I grew up which meant I no longer needed him to that same level. Womanhood replaced childhood and I began to whisper sweet nothings into the ears of lovers instead. I still occasionally take him to my bed. Some-times on those nights where I do require extra comfort and some-times just because I miss him. And I still have to hug him if I see him. I truly love my Teddy Bear.


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