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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: War and Peace (not about the book) (07/07/11)

TITLE: Cottony Heart
By Laury Hubrich


Only hung this morning, I observe myself for the very first time in a piece of glass. Looking back at me are two button eyes, mismatched at that. I don’t believe they were made to see me, though, but to see my very best friend…sigh…Izzie.

I sit on the corner of the dresser in all my glory: naked, clumps of fur gone from a romp with Rover that I try desperately to forget. Shivers… Here come the memories:

A war insued. Izzie tried desperately to save me. She chased the evil dog. Papa did his level best to take hold of me gently but instead he had to tug and pull. When my insides fell out, I think it scared Rover because he dropped me and ran away.

What I see here now is what is left of me, rather ugly, although one ear stands bent at an attractive angle – my one redeeming feature. How could anyone not see me and pick me up for a quick hug, especially my very best friend, who promised to love me always?

She used to be a little girl named Izzie but she’s grown into a teen and everyone’s to call her Isabel. I can’t get used to that. I try. I whisper loud across the room at night, “I love you, Iz…Isabel.” If I listen very closely, sometimes I hear her whisper back, “I love you, too, Teddy.”

Lately, there have been many days of war in our house. I yearn for the peaceful childhood days. Izzie would trollop up the steps to greet me after school and hug me ever so tight like she hadn’t seen me for a week. I loved going to summer camp with her, too. Hot nights spent in her bunk bed giggling after lights out, or when she would stick me in her backpack, and no one else would know, because she would be teased if they did. Those were the days!

Now it’s fights with her parents. She may not hug on me anymore, but I do hear. She rants and raves about how they don’t listen. They don’t care nor do they understand. I want so badly to have her pick me up, hold me, squeeze me; and remember that I’m her best friend.

When did I get replaced? Did age creep up on her or on me?

The phone rings. Her boyfriend. Then I remember. Yes, I got replaced. It is the way it should be, yet not the way I want it to be.

The fur under my eyes is matted. So many tears I’ve shed over this dear girl. The war that battles in my heart is much worse than the war that rages in her flesh. She yells and stomps her feet one minute and then runs out of the room laughing the next, and I’m left alone, wondering what happened. When did peace reign again? Did I miss something? When did life go on without me?

I look closer into the mirror to see what she sees. Maybe she doesn’t even notice me. After all, I’ve been with her for ten years. She’s used to me. She knows I’ll always be here. Maybe I should hide. Would she come looking for me? It would break my heart if she didn’t, though. For now, I can pretend she still loves me even if it’s not true, because I love her. I hope she still feels it.

I don’t think I’m a normal stuffed bear. The others in the room never talk, never show emotion. They just sit on their haunches, grinning silly. I’m beginning to think I wasn’t supposed to hurt, or care. Maybe I’m different because Izzie’s love for me at the beginning was so intense. Our shared friendship through the years so very intimate, that maybe she brought me to life. If that’s the case, what now? What happens to me if her love grows completely cold? I suppose I have to learn to live with this war that rages in me. This cottony heart may not be real but it’s been broken many times over.

Here she comes. She sounds…different. Happy.

“Oh Teddy! I’m sorry. I know it’s been a long time. How I’ve missed you. You feel good in my arms. I wish I could go back to being a little girl and cuddle up with you all the time.

“I love you, Teddy.”

And with those four whispered words…peace reigns again in my heart…

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This article has been read 576 times
Member Comments
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Catrina Bradley 07/17/11
Awww, how sweet! Love your MC - you gave a stuffed animal such character! But then, again, he is alive, isn't he. :)
Beth LaBuff 07/17/11
I LOVE your title! The poignancy of your story tugs on the heart strings. (Oh to go back to simpler day.) Your descriptions of this little bear were excellent. His little cottony heart beats true. Your ending is perfect.
Patricia Turner07/18/11
This is a sweet story about a bear with a lot of life left inside his cottony heart. I really like it. You did have one sentence that seemed incomplete toward the end, but...he is a bear after all. :)
Jim McWhinnie 07/18/11
Absolutely loved this charmer!

Lovely pace to the story and obviously overflowing with affection.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/19/11
This story was from the teddy bear and, indeed, showed his cottony heart,but it told more--the transitions into teen-age. Good story!
Noel Mitaxa 07/19/11
Loved the intro. A bit visceral perhaps, but after I got my bear-ings, I really enjoyed it.
Loved the ending too.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/21/11
I have this story. It reminds me of the shanty stuffed pony my "baby" still stuffs in her backpack andhave no doubt will accompany her to college next year. I just loved Teddy's POV you did a great job. This is just far enough out of the box! Thank you for the delightful read.
marcella franseen07/23/11
Very sweet story. I like the teddy bear's perspective on the simplicity of childhood compared to the complexity of adolescence. Even as adults, it probably would do us good, every once in a while, to pick up our old teddy bears and give them a squeeze.