Teddy-Book

Teddy-Book waited until her mistress was gone from the house. It had taken longer than usual this evening, since her mistress seemed ecstatic about something or other. She kept putting on clothes and then taking them off and putting on other ones, while staring at the mirror. She also kept talking at Teddy-Book, who wasn’t really listening to her.

“Does this look good? No, no, of course it doesn’t, it’s black and somber. He’ll think I’m dressing for a funeral or something. Okay, okay, so what about this? Is this better? Yellow is cheerful, flowers are good – but no! It’ll be too cold, what am I thinking? Or maybe that’s good. Then he’ll have to give me his coat. And you know what my friend Gil says, don’t you, Teddy? If a guy doesn’t give you his coat by the fifth date then he’s no gentleman and you’re better off without him.”

Teddy-Book sat on the bed, eyes glazed, limbs immobile, just like she always did. She was very bored with what her mistress that evening, and impatient for her to be gone. After all, Teddy-Book thought to herself glumly, she’s usually much more sensible than this, but if this Peter guy stays in her life, I think she’ll never be sensible again.

Finally, at about ten after eight in the evening, the mistress left. Teddy-Book got up gingerly, stretching her stiff, furry limbs. She climbed awkwardly off the bed, holding onto the blankets hard until she felt her soft feet hit the ground, and only then let go. Padding softly to the mirror, she looked at herself, turning this way and that. The mistress still hadn’t caught on to what Teddy-Book was doing, which was to the good.

When the mistress was little, her parents brought Teddy-Book back from a store one day. The mistress fell in love with her, and for a while, carried her around everywhere. She quickly discovered Teddy-Book’s special feature, the one that made her infinitely different from other teddies. She had a pocket inside her. Her round, furry stomach was velcroed shut, but could easily be opened. Inside, the mistress found a lot of fluffy white cotton, but it could all be pushed rather flat against Teddy-Book’s back, and then there was room inside of her to hide things in. The mistress loved to read when she was little, and she began hiding her books inside Teddy and taking her everywhere, and then taking the hidden books out and reading them. She couldn’t hide the big picture books there, of course, so she started to peruse her parents’ shelves and read things that she didn’t really understand but that were fun nonetheless, because she could hide them in Teddy-Book.

But now, Teddy-Book thought every day with a sigh, she didn’t read so much anymore. She spent her time putting on makeup and taking it off, calling her friends and shrieking, and lately, also going out with stupid boys. So Teddy-Book, who was left alone every evening, had developed a habit of her own. When it was night-time, and the whole family was asleep, she’d creep around the house and pick a book off a shelf. She’d hide it in that worn little empty place inside her belly, and then hop back into bed with mistress. The mistress never noticed Teddy-Book’s extra weight because she hardly ever picked her up anymore. Teddy-Book, standing at the mirror, thought sadly about how even now, with a fat book like David Copperfield inside her belly, her mistress didn’t notice it.

So she took the book out, leaned against the mirror with her tuft of a tail fitting exactly between the mirror and the floor comfortably, and continued reading where she’d left off last time. She hoped that one day she wouldn’t have to amuse herself every night like this. As she turned the pages, reading with some surprise David mention a daughter – but who’s daughter? Dora’s or Agnes’s? – she wondered of mistress would one day have a daughter. Maybe then Teddy-Book could be hugged again by arms not much larger than her own and carried about everywhere again.

Adult Fun!

Before you become alarmed – this is strictly PG-rated stuff, nothing beyond, despite what the title may bring forth in your imaginations.

As many of you know, I’m nineteen years old. Young by any standards. I’ll never claim to have more life experience than I have, but I also know that I’m relatively mature and that I’ve changed greatly over the last few years of puberty, just as any teenager does. One of the things that constantly strikes me these days is the difference between what I consider “fun” today and what I considered “fun” years ago.

There are, of course, the obvious things: when I was little, I’d enjoy mundane things like riding the bus or going up and down an escalator. Today the things that thrill me are expensive [like snowboarding] or things that I know won’t thrill me forever but that do now because they’re new to me [like driving].

But the thing that really makes me pause in amazement is the way I spend time with friends. While once upon a time we’d all enjoy just sitting around on a grassy knoll and exchanging jokes, now we like to actually do things together. Now we enjoy doing things that I considered to be “grown-up stuff” when I was little: we go to cafes, go out to dinner, go see movies often, go to museums, attend festivals. It’s astounding to me how different a simple thing like talking with a friend can be when one does it with a cheery cafe in the background or around a dinner table. There’s no real reason I can see for the change in pattern – it all boils down to the same thing, spending time with friends – but it’s a welcome and enjoyable change, nevertheless.

Birthday

If you think about it, the concept of birthdays is a strange one. We commemorate the day we were born – a day which we can’t remember and which we didn’t have much physical participation in. Wouldn’t it make sense to remember the day we said our first words? Or the day we took our first steps? Maybe the date of our earliest memories? But no, we celebrate this day of all days in the year as something special.

When I was a kid, birthdays just didn’t feel like regular days. They felt magical, full of special occurrences, little traditions and big wrapped gifts. My mother would read me The Birthday Bird book by Dr. Seuss every birthday morning, and then the whole family would go out to a hidden picnic table in my favorite park to eat cupcakes, play Frisbee, talk and watch the sunset through the distant skyscrapers.

Today felt like a pretty normal day, despite being my nineteenth birthday. But then, that’s what happens as you get older. Birthdays stop being magical and become just… nothing much. There are still presents and there’s still some fuss made with friends and loved ones, but the magic is gone from the day. It’s bittersweet, really, because although I miss the special fuzzy feeling that I got on my birthdays, I also appreciate that I’m wiser now and more willing to find magic in my daily routines and simple pleasures instead of putting all my excitement about life into one day of the year.

Sometimes I Want My Ribbons Back

I didn’t write yesterday.

That was very, very, bad. Granted, the fault was not my own, since work finished late and I had to dash home and then out again within minutes because of a meeting I had planned with Sir B. F. and yet it still should not have happened.

Days that escape our control are hard. I think this is true for many people – we have our days planned a certain way, whether it is the same routine every day or whether we have a schedule we adhere to on certain days. When something gets in the way and changes things, it’s frustrating, it’s hard. We feel the control of our day wrenched cruelly out of our control, and we struggle to adapt ourselves to it.

The real strength is in adapting, and this is something I admire in more spontaneous people – the lack of worry when things don’t go as planned, the ability to drop everything and do something on a whim. Since becoming “an adult” who works and has “important things to do” I feel that I’ve become way too responsible for my own good.

Whenever I feel like this, I can’t help thinking of the Tori Amos song “Ribbons Undone” – and most specifically this line: “From school she comes home and cries ‘I don’t want to grow up, Mom. At least not tonight.'”