Flashback Friday is a feature I did in 2011 when I first started this blog. It was a way to practice my writing by sharing stories of things that happened in my life. This feature is what inspired the name of my blog. I haven’t done any writing since 2011, but since I’m in a writing group now I’ve started writing again! And I thought I’d resurrect this featured to share my writing with you. This is a memory of my dad. I hope you enjoy.
Daddy shuts my favorite book and kisses me on the forehead. He gets up from the edge of my bed and turns off the bedroom light but keeps the door open a crack so it’s not dark. I’m glad he remembers now so I don’t have to yell down the hall. I’m seven and I have to yell a lot for anyone to even hear me. I snuggle my white teddy bear and close my eyes to go to sleep. I yank on my bear’s cord to play the music box that’s inside him. He plays Jingle Bells. I know it’s not Christmas. Leave me alone. Just as I’m about to drift off to sleep, the music stops sooner than it usually does. I jerk awake and pull on the cord again. This time the music stops even sooner. I pull on the cord a third time and watch as the string only comes half-way down and the music doesn’t even get to the chorus. I’m wide awake as I try to pull the string again. It won’t move.
“Daddy!! Daddy!! My bear…is…is…broken!”
I take deep breaths so I won’t cry.
I can hear my dad’s feet walking down the hall.
“What’s wrong with your bear?” he says, standing in the doorway.
“Teddy won’t play music. See?” I demonstrate how the cord won’t even move.
I’m expecting him to say, “Oh well you just do this” and fix it. But instead he frowns and takes my bear to get a closer look. I want him to fix it right away. I’m never going to sleep ever again. One tear gets away before I can stop it.
“I’ll have to look at it some more to see what’s wrong.”
“Are you going to fix it?”
He pauses before he says, “I’ll try.”
Adults say that all the time. It means no when they don’t want you to get mad at them.
He takes my bear out of the room and into the living room where he watches the news after we go to bed.
Sniffling, I look up at the rest of my stuffed animals in their hammock at the bottom of my bed. He’s going to fix it, I keep saying to myself. Daddy can fix anything.
And that’s when I spot Chubbles.
Chubbles looks like a little bear from a movie called Star Wars that I’ve never seen. He has a little red jacket with a hood over his head and his eyes glow. Well, they used to glow. Whenever you would turn off the lights, the lightbulbs that were his eyes would blink and flash and he would giggle. I thought it was funny until he only worked some of the time. Then it was scary after weeks of him not saying anything. Eventually he stopped giggling and blinking at all.
I had asked my dad to fix him, too. But he said you can’t fix stuffed animals. There’s no place to put new batteries (I had figured out by then that everything needs batteries.). And if it’s broken, you’d have to cut him apart to fix the parts inside. I guess stuffed animals are hard to put back together again.
I don’t know how I’m ever going to sleep again. I’ve listened to Jingle Bells every night since my grandpa gave him to me last year for Christmas. I’ve never met my grandpa, but when I saw that white bear for the first time with his little green and red knit hat and his matching scarf, it was the most beautiful stuffed animal I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe he was mine. I bet if I met my grandpa, he’d be my favorite just like my bear.
My bear’s hat was sewed on but that scarf was always falling off. I wouldn’t go to bed unless he had it on. I even made my parents help me on the nights that it was really hard to find. They would sigh and moan and be cranky because they just didn’t see how important his scarf was. He’s my favorite teddy bear now, of course. I let him sleep in my bed every night even though it makes the other stuffed animals jealous. I love all my stuffed animals, but not like I love my bear.
I was quietly crying for a long time, but my eyes start to dry out and I can’t cry any more. My head starts to hurt. My dry eyes want to close, but I still can’t sleep. I can’t hear anything from the living room. Maybe my dad can still fix it but it will just take a long time.
I can tell it’s getting late because my mom has gone to bed and even my arms and legs feel tired now. I’m trying not to think about my bear and how it will never play Jingle Bells again when my dad shakes my shoulder. I jump a little because I had fallen asleep.
“Sorry,” my dad says. The hall light is off so it must be really late. “I thought you’d want him back tonight.”
“You fixed him!?” my voice sounds like a frog or like my little sister’s voice when she wakes up.
“Well…” He pauses. Oh no. He didn’t say yes right away. Teddy is broken forever! “Kind of. I had to pull out some stuffing and make a hole for the cord to come out. It had gotten clogged with stuffing and that’s why it wouldn’t work.”
I turn my bear over and look at the new hole in his bottom feeling a little sad that he got hurt. But when I pull on the string, it goes all the way down. Jingle Bells plays over and over again. I knew Daddy could fix anything! And he even fixed a stuffed animal which you can’t do. The hole is nothing to me compared to how happy I am that he works again.
I smile and say thank you very sleepily as I snuggle with my bear. Jingle Bells plays in my ear and this time I’m fast asleep before he even gets to the end of the song.