When I was two-years old we traveled through this town, Tallahassee, FL on the way home to Sebring,FL my hometown. I had a teddy bear named “Heavy Teddy.” We did everything together. He was a honey-colored bear with green eyes and articulated joints, so he was real, not like those plush bears that are just pillows with fur.
We stayed in the Ponce de Leon Motel on Tennessee street, which may or may not still be here today. In the rush to leave the next morning, Heavy Teddy fell between the wall and the bed and was left behind. I don’t know when we realized he was not with us, but I am certain I was inconsolable. Oh,the guilt of leaving a friend behind. The loneliness of knowing your best friend and protector was at large in the world without you is crushing. The thought of him finding a new friend and forgetting all about you, heartbreaking.
There was nothing to do but go home and bear the suffering with my little two-year old’s amount of courage. Blankie tried to comfort me, but we were supposed to be three and not two, and Blankie missed Heavy Teddy as much as I did.
Then, and here is my earliest memory, my mom carried me to the mailbox and together we pulled out a package, wrapped in brown paper. Tired, but none the worse for his adventures, came Heavy Teddy from the packaging. That moment was magic- validation that the universe was an awesome and just place, and that stuffed animals truly were sentient and loyal and would stop at nothing to return to their best friend’s side.
I have been promised my new bike is in town, 6 weeks overdue, and I am once again at the mailbox, hopeful, and wanting to believe the Universe is an awesome and just place.
Epilogue- Heavy Teddy is retired and living happily in San Diego, CA with my nephew where I will visit him next week.