When I was young I had a bear. I guess I could have been anybody. Don’t all kids have bears, or the equivalent of bears to snuggle with in order to go to sleep. Well, my bear had no name, but he was brown and a bit mangy. Maybe the mangy nature of the bear was because I held him close all the time, not just at bedtime. My sister had a matching bear that she called Boobie. I’m not quite sure where she got the name from but it didn’t assist me in naming mine.
The bear survived quite a while. I’m still not even sure when he disappeared from the scene, but I maintain to this day that one afternoon my mom entered my room and tossed him in the garbage for whatever reason. Maybe because he was mangy, or perhaps she was just jealous. I’m not really sure, but I remember crying for him. I didn’t insist we have a funeral because I was a bit older then. In fact I think the only reason I still slept with the bear was because of habit. I had a lot of habits back then. I still do.
I used to talk to the bear late at night when I was supposed to be asleep. I would pretend he was my friend, that he understood the issues I was dealing with in my life. He was also a superhero who could save me from my problems in the blink of an eye, a store owner who kept trying to get me to eat hummus, and a shapeshifter who could turn into other types of bears. I most often pretended he was a polar bear. I’m surprised I didn’t spill white-out on him at some point to keep the illusion real.
My cat was not a fan of the bear. Shadow was her name, and she could often be found batting the bear around as if they were in an MMA match. She always won too. I felt sorry for the bear in those moments when I caught Shadow taking out her aggression on the inanimate object. I didn’t blame her for it, though. Everyone gets jealous sometimes, and I hardly ever slept with Shadow so it makes sense.
Of course the bear was gone before I was able to name him, and I sometimes thought about that after the fact, if perhaps naming him would have saved him from extinction, if my indecision all those years aided in his disposal. Or maybe not. I’ve come up with about a million names for him since that day, each name a link in the chain leading me back to him and to all the memories I shared with him and no one else.
So I’ll keep giving him posthumous names, and maybe I’ll still remember him when I’m 60. Or maybe not.