When I was very small, just a tiny little baby only about sixth months old, my mother took me to meet my father at the airport when he got back from a trip. When my father arrived, he had in his hands a brown and black teddy bear a gift he had gotten from the airport gift shop.
According to my mother, I grabbed that bear from him the minute my dad presented it to me and refused to let go. His official name was Teddy (because I was a very original child) and I took him everywhere with me. We played in the park and had tea parties that would make the Queen jealous. He was by my side every night, because I knew he would protect me from the monsters in my closet.
Fast forward to when I was about ten, during my Easter vacation. My father announced that some cousins of his from Germany were getting married. He wanted to take me to Germany with him to attend the wedding of relatives I had never met.
I was very excited. I loved to travel, and had even visited Germany before. I was excited to ride on a plane that had a TV on the back of each seat that had a load of movies to chose from. Of course, I was going to bring Teddy along.
I watched movies on the plane to my hearts content while I had Teddy snuggled up next to me. Eventually, I fell asleep from the extremely long flight.
When we finally arrived at our destination, I was incredibly groggy and not sure what was going on. My father asked me if I had everything with me, and I nodded my head yes. We shuffled off the plane, out of customs and into a cab that took us to our hotel. I fell into my bed and fell into a deep sleep.
When I woke up several hours later, I began to unpack my stuff. I organized my clothes and emptied the bag of books and toys I had brought along for the ride. Then I reached into my bag to get Teddy.
I couldn't find him.
I dumped the rest of my bag onto my bed and began to frantically search for my bear. I searched all over the room and under my bed. I looked out in the hallway and down at the front desk.
I still couldn't find him.
I began to panic and told my dad what was wrong. My dad called the airport and asked in German if a Teddy Bear had been returned to Lost and Found.
No bear had been returned.
I had lost Teddy. He was gone, lost to the frightening world of German air travel.
So, I did what any rational kid would have done.
I bawled like a baby.
My dad, the sweet yet misguided man he is, decided that the best way to cheer me up was to walk me through the little village fair that we were staying in, as well as getting ready for the wedding. It didn't help. All I did was cry about Teddy or sulk about Teddy.
Now, I don't remember a lot about this wedding. Most of my memories of this trip involve me crying over Teddy. But there are two things I remember very clearly.
First of all, the only food there that I liked there were these tiny little roasted potatoes. The rest was a mix of disgusting traditional German food that made me run away from the smell.
The other was a little "fun time" that was planned for all the guests (and there were a lot of guests). There were two planned activities that you could participate in.
One was a five mile hike uphill into the Black Forrest. The other was learning a traditional folk dance.
I chose the folk dance. My wonderful father left me, the only person who spoke English, to go on the hike.
I was pulled into a circle of several adults (I remember being the only kid at the wedding). Then, in German, we were told to walk in a very slow circle, moving our feet in one direction and another.
This went on for hours. It was slow, and it was boring. Eventually, during a break in the dancing, I snuck away to sit by a nearby stream. I threw rocks and sticks into it, wallowing in my pre-preteen angst.
Eventually, my dad and the hikers came back, and then we left. I don't remember anything about the wedding after that.
A few days later, my dad and I went on a hike of our own on the Black Forrest. his hike, unfortunately, was not fun at all, due to my father scaring the living daylights out of me about wild boars that lived in the woods that would gorge hikers with their snouts. If I walked in front of him, he would break large sticks and throw large rocks to make me think I was about to be killed by a boar.
This must be what Ponyboy feels like, I thought to myself.
Eventually, it was time to leave. As we drove to the airport, my dad and I stopped at a gas station to get some food. As I continued to wallow in my angst and depression, my dad called me over to an aisle he was standing in. I grudgingly walked over.
There, sitting right in front of me, were about 100 different teddy bears. There were tiny ones the size of my hand and big ones about the same size as me. My dad told me to pick out any one I wanted.
I searched through the mass of bears. I couldn't decide which one to pick. They weren't Teddy.
Sudden;y, a small bear caught my eye. He was brown with a white snout, and wearing a little red T-Shirt. On the shirt were the words I Love You.
I picked him up and looked at him. He was the only bear without other bears to match him. He looked very lonely.
I brought him over to my dad and placed him on the counter. His name would be Teddy 2.
Right now, he's looking at me from the windowsill of my dorm room. We grew close.