He sits on my bed. Sometimes he absconds to the floor; a flash of grey fur into the corner where he’ll wait until we’re done. He’s lived in suitcase caves in Oxford (next to other things I couldn’t live without), on a giant teak wardrobe in Aotearoa, a closet in Chicago, and briefly in a vacuum sealed bag in my ex-in-law’s attic on a military base. He’s well loved, but often in the background. His pristine black eyes gently covered in clean, well tended fur, look out at me.

He, like me, has a twin sister. Like my sister, she arrived first, and is slightly older. She is LB, Lex’s Bear. He is KB, Kip’s Bear. (These aren’t our real names; though again, after a fashion, they actually are.) Our mother gave them to us. At least, that’s what I recall being told. And now that she’s dead it’s better to presume this is the case, to create another small attachment to her, to bind her in memory.

LB is brown and worn and flat. We have a propensity to love things too much, we twins. She squished, dragged, battered, and compressed LB; loved into near oblivion. I, on the other hand, curate things I love. Squeezed but also placed aside. More distance for when it’s not convenient for a 26 year old to have a bear.

I don’t remember him during the dark years. There were other creatures that hunted in our home and other spirited animals that I held onto. I don’t know where they are now. I remember a velvety rabbit with long chocolate ears named Floppy, and a giant but almost insubstantial blue patterned bear. There was a quilt on the wall that I used to wrap around me that was lost as well. But he was there with me at the end, holding fast, so unbearably present that rather than running I stood my ground.

We travel together. I’ve moved across vast oceans of my own accord, on my own dime, and by academic whim, several times. I learned a long time ago, when living in Mexico, that if you can’t run with everything you need, to catch a bus, then the things you have aren’t worth it. So when I plant new roots in another country I bring not much more than one bag. My life contained in one sack. KB has always come along. I’ve never had the desire to leave him behind.

He has his own ways of travelling. Roads of might-have-been and journeys-to-come. He’s always near me, I know he is. Yet, for weeks I won’t see him. The room is not large enough for things to go missing. But space is curious. It shifts and folds and creases so that little pockets of nothing contain the largest of things. I think he visits these places. He’s there should I need him, my shield-brother against the dark lights of life, but he’s off again; still present. 


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