I had been sitting on a Walgreen’s shelf for a few weeks when a young, caramel-faced woman stared into my eyes. She picked me up and squeezed my side. Sandwiched between her arm and her side, I was taken to the register and purchased. I was elated to be chosen and soon I would have a home. We drove quietly to my new abode. A love song by someone I am unfamiliar with, played on the car’s radio.
The caramel-faced woman’s name is Michelle. She took me out of the plastic bag and sat me on a faux suede sofa. It was brown and soft like me. Out of nowhere and huge black dog charged into the room. Our eyes lock. Certain that I am staring death in the face, I say a prayer to the stuffed-bear gods. Quick as a blink, Michelle grabs me holding me over her head. With her free hand, she grabs the dog’s collar and leads him into the basement. I am safe.
I feel like the luckiest bear stuffed. I have a new home and a mom who just saved me from the brink of death. I watch mom write and seal a card and stuff it in a glittery bag. She places me in there, too. I soon fall asleep.
I awoke to voices – Michelle’s and a man’s. I strained to see but it is dark inside the bag. Michelle’s hand retrieved the card. I heard the man say, “Aw.” I heard kisses.
“Wait, I didn’t give you your gift,” Michelle chimed.
“I told you that men don’t get Valentine’s gifts.”
“I couldn’t help myself. He is just too cute. Just like you.”
She pulled me from the darkness.
“Bwahaha!” the man laughs. “What is this?”
“A bear silly.”
“I’m a grown ass man,” he managed between laughs.
“You don’t like it?” Mariah asked disappointment echoing in her voice.
“Nah, It’s okay. I’m giving it to Mariah though.”
When the rough play of the day was done, I could always look forward to being placed in her arms and tucked under the covers. We would sleep soundly until morning.
Christmas came and everything changed.
I have been in this chair watching Mariah hug a plastic doll. She is not soft and furry like me. When I sat on the shelf at Walgreen’s waiting to be purchased, I had not known what it was like to be hugged and loved. I am waiting again, this time with a broken heart.