You rescued me from the toy store shelf, fourteen long years ago. You were special to me because, out of all the other teddy bears, you chose me.
I remember your tiny hands pulling me down, and holding me close to your chest, a feeling I would soon live for.
And so live for it I did. We had tea parties, watched movies, wrote in your diary, played dress up and frolicked through imaginary worlds only you could create.
You even coaxed your mom into letting you take me to church with you every Sunday. I adored every second of the time you spent with me; you were my everything.
Not only was I your playmate, but also your protector.
While you played and slept and dreamed your private dreams, you believed I could protect you from the monster under your bed, the critters in your closet, and the noises in the night.
In my heart I vowed to keep you safe, and you loved me for it.
Over the years I began to wear out. My soft fur became matted, and the power of your hugs split a few of my seams.
You begged your mother to teach you how to sew just so you could stitch me back up. You showed me so much love.
Even on rainy days when you felt you had no love left to give, you gave me what little you had left as you held me tight.
Time passed. You grew more and more distant. Being friends with the wrong crowd had an impact on you.
I recall a girl you thought was your friend coming over and making fun of you for still having me around.
"Haven't you outgrown that thing yet?" the girl said with a sneer. "It's true what they say about you. You are a baby!"
I despised that girl for what she said.
As soon as she left, you scooped me up with tears in your eyes and threw me up onto a shelf similar to the one you rescued me from, but this time, it was overlooking your bedroom.
I was heartbroken, and I could tell you were too.
It took little time for dust to gather on my soft brown fur, turning it a dull gray, the color mirroring how I felt inside. But that wasn't what mattered the most to me.
What mattered most was what I saw you becoming.
Everything about you changed.
Instead of going outside to play or having friends over, you spent more and more time sitting alone in your room, the door locked, tears running down your beautiful face.
The shelf had become a prison where I was forced to watch a monster, one not even I could defeat, attack you over and over.
Months went by, every night just the same, until one night something happened that changed everything.
You ran to your room, and slammed the door, the vibration of your anger trembling through me.
You continued your routine of sitting on the end of your bed and sobbing bitterly until at last, you pulled an amber bottle of pills from your sweatshirt pocket.
You popped the lid off, letting it roll to the ground.
I watched in horror as the only thing I had ever loved took the final blows from a monster she had fought for so long.
Every ounce of me wanted so badly to leap from that awful shelf and save my beautiful friend. . . . I was failing you for the first time.
And then . . . hope. You looked up and glimpsed me through your tears, the now empty bottle rolling across the floor.
Our eyes met and you shot up from the bed, grabbed me down from the shelf, and held me tight to your chest, like that very first time--the time you rescued me.
The world around us seemed to slow. We sank to the bed, and you held me for what would be the last time.
"I'm so sorry" you cried, your voice weak, brittle, fading. "I never wanted this; I don't want to die. . . . What have I done?"
I could hear your faint heart, deep in your chest, as it struggled for its next beat. I knew the end was near. No amount of medical attention would be able to save you now.
I could not rescue you. The monster had won.
"Please forgive me, God, I know now. . . ." were your last words.
I felt your grip loosen, as I strained to hear another heartbeat that never came. We tumbled to the floor. My joy, love, and courage died with you that day.
* * * * *
Now I sit in the dark silence, which will be my forever home. I'm still in your arms, being held in the way only you could hold me. I am loyal to you until the end.
I will stay with you in this cold dark place for a long, long time.