something

Prompt: something you miss

Brownie Bear.

When I was little, I got Brownie Bear for Christmas. My kid sister, who I shared a room with, received an identical bear, except for it was a very light pink. She did not name hers Pinkie Bear. Somewhat more creatively, she named it Sunshine.

They were massive bears. In the photographs of us the Christmas we received them, they are almost as large as we are–my arms are wrapped around Brownie’s midsection, hugging him tight, and I am beaming over his head, my chin digging into the soft space between his ears. His feet dangle just above mine. He is wearing a bright red calico dress with white flowers.

Brownie Bear became an installation, an auxiliary pillow on my bed. He had stars in his eyes–literally. I used sparkly stars from one of those Lisa Frank sticker sets to put stars in his eyes. When I moved bedrooms, he came with me. When I went to college, he came with, carelessly packed and tossed forgotten on the floor at the foot of my bed. When I had a medical emergency and came home, Brownie Bear was there, stuffed in the bottom of my luggage. When I went to the psychiatric ward for medication readjustment, my mom brought the comforter from my bedroom and Brownie Bear to make the hospital room feel more like home.

When I met and married John, Brownie Bear came with us. He mostly stayed in a suitcase, because we moved pretty frequently those first few years. After we moved into our first house, Brownie Bear came out of storage and was placed, initially, on our sons bed. Then he migrated to the living room, and sort of became a family bear/ living room pillow.

Then the 2007 flood happened, and Brownie Bear was on the floor when we evacuated. We didn’t actually think the house would flood … it hadn’t flooded in something like 75 years, and it was raised 18 inches off the ground. It wasn’t even supposed to be that bad of a flood, but then the dam in a nearby river broke and it just went to hell.

Anyway, flood water is pretty toxic stuff. Its not just the rain and river water–it’s oil and sewage and garbage and just all manner of grossness. Really awful sludge to have in your house. Access into town was limited even in the best of times, and in the aftermath of the flood the roads were a) flooded, b) closed because they were flooded, and c) manned by patrols making sure idiots didn’t try to drive through the closed, flooded streets.

So we had to wait a few days after the flood to get in and check on our hour, which meant a few days that Brownie Bear laid on the floor in that garbage flood soup.

Needless to say, there’s no rescuing that. I bid him a sad farewell. I couldn’t even give him a last hug goodbye.

 

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