The cellar is dark, winters cold. But it’s not too bad; the oil furnace constantly kicks on with a noxious odor and a bang, bang-clank, keeping me warm, but awake through the long winter months.
The awful time, the time I dread, is summer. Unbearably hot, humid and stuffy; the air doesn’t move, it stagnates. I’m a Teddy Bear. I’m covered in fur, and that makes the summer months in this sweltering basement more than miserable, it makes it intolerable.
But tolerated it I do, month after month, year after year, and sadly I dare say, decade after decade. I’m not sure how long I’ve been sitting on this shelf, or how many decades have actually passed for that matter. There comes a point in time where time becomes irrelevant.
So I just sit, and wait, and watch.
Some days, a delicate beam of light streaks through the small, cracked and grimy window to brighten, if only for a short while, a sliver of my dark world. During those fleeting moments I can sometimes see parties of dust tripping the light fantastic, and from time to time I am there, joyously dancing with them, until the light fades and all becomes dark again.
Occasionally, an old man with thick glasses comes puttering around, kicks the furnace, changes a blown fuse, absently looks for something or other, and then leaves without noticing me. It’s okay though. It wasn’t always like this. I do remember the days when I was just a young Teddy Cub and the old man was young as well, well younger anyway. As a matter of fact, he is the one that brought me home that one delightful day and gave me to his beautiful little daughter. What a sweet and kind little girl. Oh, I loved her so. Still do. And she loved me. She played with me, we enjoyed tea parties, she told me all her secrets, took care of me, and I took care of her; keeping the monsters at bay while she peacefully slept with me in her arms. I miss being held.
We had many nice years together, but then I was moved from her bed to the top of the dresser. I spent awhile there, watching her grow and become a nice young lady. Eventually, when she barely noticed me any longer, I was moved into the closet where I could only listen to her life as she matured into an adult, and then finally moved out to marry, and raise a family of her own.
Yes, I was hoping against hope that she would remember our loving friendship and bring me to her new home so I could keep her children safe at night just like I did with her. Instead, I somehow ended up here, sitting on a grungy shelf in this lonely basement, waiting.
That was many years ago, and that little girl now has quite a family of her own; boys, girls, kids of all ages. I hear them when they come to visit the old man. He doesn’t get many visitors nowadays, the house is usually quiet except for an occasional creak on the floor above as he slowly moves around trying to stay busy. But when family comes, the rambunctious laughter of children seeps down through the ceiling and warms my heart with unconditional love and tender memories. Those memories, that love, and the hope of being held again, is what helps me through this never-ending solitude.
Oh don’t feel bad for me, over the passing years I have gotten more and more company. There are a couple old paint cans, a dog leash, a jar of nuts and bolts, and a few other forgotten items that the old man fiddles with from time to time.
Speaking of the old man, not too long ago I heard a second set of footsteps follow him into the cellar. Anxiously I waited to see who it could be, and when the old man finally came into view, there was a younger version of him, his grandson, assisting him in his tinkering. Over the years I had heard the grandson’s voice as he grew from child to adult, but this was the first time I had seen him. A nice looking man; he seems kind, gentle, and he obviously cares for his granddad. They puttered about for a bit and just before they were about to leave, the grandson noticed me. He noticed me, and then he did the strangest thing, he took a photo of me, and smiled. And I knew from the smile in his eyes that, even though I am old and dusty, and my fur is starting to fall out, when he has children of his own he’ll take me home where I’ll be held and loved again.
Now, time has once again become relevant as I sit on this grimy old shelf and patiently wait, with love, and hope in my heart.
Lon Casler Bixby is a professional photographer and published author in various genres: Fiction, Poetry, Humor, Photography, & Comic Books.
See his writing here — www.amazon.com/author/loncaslerbixby/.