My Bear and Savior - Luke 1:47

When we first met, I was screaming. Everything was new and alarming, the fluorescent hospital lights on my weak blue eyes caused my vision to blur in and out. The periods of darkness were crowded with the hyper, overlapping clammer of strangers. To most of those voices, I was just one of a million, but to a couple, I was their one in a million. I didn't know the difference then, just that the many fingers on my ivory skin, along with everything else, came together to form a chaotic and dissonant symphony. And then, in an instant, the music stopped. He looked familiar, but maybe it was just the simple fact that he was the same size as my six pound self, and we were both the size of one of these stranger's hands. Maybe he was scared too. Nonetheless, his stationary brown eyes, pink and blue skin, and plush exterior made more sense to me than anything else. He came toward me gently, floating. A Randy Newman composition played in the background while we formed a silent agreement to stick together throughout whatever unknown was before us. This was Bear Bear's first experience in the role of my comforter. The montage continued throughout various locations and seasons. He cuddled with me in the bedroom, walked with me on the beach, sat at the Thanksgiving table with my family, and sang at the Christmas Eve service. Our bond never wavered, but I slowly began catching up with the strangers, while he seemingly grew smaller and smaller. He remained ageless, with the exception that with every few inches that I grew, he acquired a new badge of bravery in the form of a portion of Grampy's old socks or underwear roughly stitched onto his skin. How he got these wounds is beyond me, considering he never left my side. Maybe it was from fighting off the monsters in my closet, which was one of his duties. Throughout the course of our relationship, Bear Bear didn't see much. This is because there wasn't much to see. My childhood was replete with emotional availability, physical safety, and lavender. But when he was held tightly to my chest, he felt the unwarranted dread and anxiety constantly ablaze right under the surface. Nobody else could feel that, feel mine, and nobody else could ease it, except for Bear Bear. He was an emotional superconductor, soaking up every ounce of negative energy and depositing it in some secret place only Bear Bears knew about. So, eight years after our first meeting, I was not ready to let go. But that decision was made for me one fateful night, when he ran away at a hotel in Virginia, and a ceaseless amount of phone calls didn't motivate the receptionist to find the unfindable. If my young, emotional recollection of that night and the following weeks is accurate, there were more natural disasters in that period than ever in history. I thought of Bear Bear, laying under the bed, scared and unable to move, hearing the unfamiliar noise of strangers coming in and out, like me when we first met, except he was alone. In a thoughtful but futile effort to lift my spirits, my grandmother, who introduced me to Bear Bear, invited Bear Bear's cousin, “Country Bear”, to live with us. Whatever superpower Bear Bear possessed that could ease the most rugged inner turmoil did not run in the family. I loved Country Bear, of course, but differently. We had a much shorter montage, and by a reluctant but inevitable default, my restlessness was no one's but my own to remedy. This was my first experience in the role of my own comforter.

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