By Ruan Peat

When I was born my parents were given a bear for me from my godparents, I grew up with her and named her Alexandra which was the poshest name I knew when I was small. It is my middle name and I somehow felt she was me!

Memories of her causing problems tease the back of my mind, she had a ‘mama’ sound when you tipped her that broke (I just recall it) and my father performed ‘open bear surgery’ to take the broken thing out and then filled her back in (she was a PJ case once)with tea towels. He sewed her up for me with big stiches right down her back. Sadly he used the new tea towels to stuff her and my mother never forgot this! So deep in her she holds pictures and things once prized beyond stuffing.

I have pictures of her drying on the line in 1970, along with many others long lost to memory. Old browned photo with a toddler in pyjamas, and hair everywhere, gazing out with a bit of worry in the face, under a line with 30 or 40 beloveds blowing in the wind. I have pictures of my teen room in the 80’s with her lying in the back ground loved but not central. The posters from Athena and the stereo in pride of place on the desk, the very colours of pastels and the odd bold bright thing marking the age of Garfield watching on. The very photo, one of a few from my disc camera, that was all the rage! Competing with Star Trek and Dr Who for my dreams, but she was always there to hold me tight.

Her head is odd and triangular, as a bear she was white and blue, she was hard and was mended a bit odd. She wasn’t a normal bear, and I never felt a normal girl. Nowadays I would have a statement and helpers, then was just ‘idle’ could do better, or distracted. Being odd made me more like Alexandra, we just didn’t match the others but that was fine we were different together.

University was culture shock, full colour, full speed. I never seemed to catch my breath, always went to the wire, and lived every moment, she watched from my bed safe from most of my fellows and the few who met her, loved her and protected her as well. Packed and shifted back and fore, as I moved to and fro each year. Over seeing my life with a faded woollen smile and the occasional nod, when the bed got bumped as I went past, her neck just a bit of fabric keeping her head on.

Time hasn’t been kind to her, her odd head is now dangerously loose, and has been mended decades ago. Another fix that used something precious that got my father into trouble again. Her body  is all beige, faded and furless, her eyes replaced with buttons, and her nose thread bare. She is dressed in baby clothes and in an all in one suit my own children grew out of nearly 15 years ago. Her clothes have always been a mix of my old clothes and more recently my children’s old clothes, but she still lives in my bedroom, sat carefully on a shelf with reverence, but still huggable when I need it.

I think on the tea parties we had, the days lying on the lawn in the sun, the nights peeking out the curtains at the stars. The stories we told each other and hopes and dreams. She is my treasure, my own children didn’t get to play with her, too precious for new young fingers. She over sees my dreams, and more often as I get older my memories.