Mommy never believed in my magical blue bear. She would pretend that she believed, the way most adults pretend they still believe in Santa Claus. But you can see behind their eyes that they are laughing at you while you put out the milk and cookies. That was how mommy believed in my magical blue bear. Until the day she saw that magical blue bear rip out daddy’s throat. After that she believed in anything I told her.
I remember the day I met Blue. I had been playing at the park near our house. When it was time to come home, I ran. I couldn’t wait to tell mommy all about the new friend I had made. Mommy was busy doing mommy things. Probably washing dishes, she loves that so much, she is always doing that. I told her I had met a friend at the playground. She said, ‘oh’ and half looked down at me, not really taking her eyes off the dirty plate in her hand.
I was so excited I told her everything. I sat right down at her feet on the kitchen floor and described my new friend as best I could remember. It was kinda hard because I don’t know all the words yet, but I tried.
“Her fur is a shiny blue, mommy.”
“And her claws sparkle like rainbows.”
“And her eyes look like giant red rubies. The kind Sarah’s mother has in her ears.”
“Those are earrings, sweetie. Was Sarah at the playground too?”
“No mommy, listen I am telling you about the magical blue bear I met in the park today.”
“Oh I am sorry dear, yes. What is this bear’s name?”
At that question I had to stop. “I don’t know. I will go ask her.” I was instantly deeply embarrassed I had not thought to ask my new friend’s name yet. I approached the large blue shimmering bear with caution. I did not want to have offended her and make her run away. I didn’t need to worry, though. She was kinder than any adult or kid I had ever met. She laughed a great big laugh when I asked, shy and looking at my shoes. Her laugh made me smile. It filled the room. It sounded like bells and songs and music all at once. I started laughing too.
“No need to be embarrassed my sweet child. Why, if I could manage to remember all the polite and proper things I was supposed to do and say, I would never have time for any fun. I am delighted to tell you, my name is Blue. As in blueberry.” And she laughed some more.
I began giggling too, my small child’s giggle harmonized with her great big thick laugh. It seemed so obvious, so perfect. The name fit her so well, just as her laugh did. And I ran happily back into the kitchen to tell mommy.
After that first, day Blue and I were never apart. When I wasn’t home, she would wait in my room or sometimes my closet. She said she didn’t want to scare my mommy or daddy, so when they came in the room she would slip behind the hanging clothes until they were gone. Then she would come out and we would laugh and play and dance. I had so much fun with Blue, my magical bear. I loved her and I knew she loved me.
And then one day, after daddy had been in my room, Blue didn’t come right out of the closet after he had gone again.
“Blue?” I called, a smile already on my face, as I was sure she would pop out from behind my shoes and jackets with some joke from her big blue mouth. But instead, I found her still and silent, like a statue or a stuffed animal, lifeless and motionless, tossed absent-mindedly behind my galoshes and scarves.
“Blue?” I shook her shoulder. For an instant I was terrified she was just a stuffed bear and I really had been imagining her to be real this whole time, like mommy thought. But Blue looked at me when I touched her and put a great paw on my hand. She must have seen how relieved I was because she smiled at me then, a sad kind of smile. The kind mommy has most of the time, the kind that has tears behind it.
“What’s wrong, Blue?” I asked
“ Oh child, nothing’s wrong,” she said with that same sad look.
“No!” I suddenly felt anger rush over me like a hot a wave. “ No, not you too.”
“Mommy looks at me like that, and daddy sometimes too, but not you! Don’t you ever look at me like that.” I could feel the tears slide down my cheeks and Blue lifted a great furry paw and wiped them away. “They think I don’t know. They think I can’t understand, but they are wrong. I know when they are angry; I know when they are sad. And then they just smile at me, just like that, and pretend nothing is wrong. I am small but I am not stupid.”
“No child, you are not stupid.” Then Blue wrapped my small body in her gigantic blue furry arms and held me close to her chest. My hot cheek felt cool on the roughness of her fur. And I could make out the beat, beat, beat, of her strong bear’s heart, underneath all that fur. I put my arms around her as much as I could. She was so big, even if I stretched as far as I could, my hands didn’t even get halfway around her.
When I looked back up I saw in her eyes something different. Something darker. Something deep down that made me go cold and pull back from her embrace. It was the look daddy would get when there was nothing anyone could say to make him happy. Until he made things even again, that is what he called it, although it didn’t feel even, not to me and I am sure not to mommy, who would cry after daddy had evened things up.
But I had never seen this look on Blue’s face before. It made me worried and sick to my stomach.
“I think it might be time I met your mommy and daddy, little one. Very soon I think I will ask you to introduce me. Would you do that for me, child?”
At once I was relieved. “Of course! I have been dying for you to meet them. Mommy says she believes in you, but I don’t think she really does. And daddy…” I trailed off as I thought of daddy. I couldn’t find the words to describe daddy. I didn’t think I was old enough to know those words yet. I think they teach you those kinds of words when you get to high school.
“I know child, I know,” Blue said and hugged me again.
I hugged her back, happy that I didn’t need to know the words for Blue to understand me. Happy to have someone who could see all I wanted to show, without my even having to open my mouth. “Do you want to meet them right now?” I asked hopefully.
“No my sweet dear, not today. You will have to wait.”
As it turned out I did not have to wait long. A few weeks later, daddy, mommy and I were in the kitchen. Daddy was making things even. I had made a mess when I brought him his breakfast and mommy hadn’t cleaned it up yet. Part of daddy’s breakfast lay on the floor where I had spilled it. The rest sat on his plate on the kitchen table getting cold while he punished mommy and me.
One moment it was the three of us in the kitchen, and then suddenly there was a giant shadow in the doorway. So big it took up almost the entire doorway. Instantly, I knew it was Blue. For a second I forgot daddy was mad and I clapped my hands with excitement. I was so happy daddy and mommy were finally going to meet her.
“What are you smiling about girl?” daddy snarled at me. Whenever he spoke like that he reminded me of the pit bull that lives next door. But this time I was too happy to shrink back.
“Daddy, this is my magical bear! This is Blue!” I practically shouted as Blue stepped further into the kitchen.
Daddy looked confused for a moment. His brow knotted and he tilted his head to the side. That reminded me of the lost little puppy in the coloring book mommy gave me. I giggled. That made daddy mad. He leaped for me, his hands out, and this time I did jump back. But before his hands could reach me, Blue was in between us.
Her rainbow claws were out and her teeth looked long and sharp. I had never noticed how sharp they were. As she stepped in front of me, she let out a growl that filled the small kitchen. The cupboard doors rattled and I was afraid the dishes were going to fly out on top of us.
Daddy’s eyes went wide and mommy screamed. I don’t know why she screamed. Maybe she was just so surprised that Blue was really-real, not like pretend-real.
Daddy didn’t make any noise. Blue’s massive paw clamped down on the bottom half of his face. All I could see was his giant white eyes. They were looking right at Blue. Then daddy had an accident. I have accidents too sometimes, but not since I was really little. I had never seen daddy have an accident. He must have been embarrassed because then he made a weird noise I had never heard before, either. It was like his throat was the tub drain and water was sinking down into it and it made that glug glub sound as the last bit of water slips away. Daddy made that sound. His hands wildly scratched at Blue’s paw around his throat, but Blue didn’t move.
Then Blue opened her mouth as wide as it could go and showed daddy her teeth, like the bears on natural geographic do. Then she howled into his face. That time the entire house shook and mommy screamed again. I clapped my hands in excitement. Nothing this interesting ever happened right here at home. I laughed with delight.
Then Blue closed her paw around daddy’s neck. Her beautiful rainbow claws ripped into his skin like scissors shredding construction paper. I heard a crunching sound and a dark red ooze leaked out onto daddy’s shirt. Daddy’s hands fell limply at his sides. I couldn’t see his eyes anymore. His head was the bright red that reminded me of the roses that grew in Mrs. Griffin’s front lawn.
Then Blue tossed daddy to the side and he flew across the room and crumpled in a heap in the corner like one of my dolls. I ran up to Blue and threw my arms around her. She sighed and hugged me back; careful not to touch me with the arm that daddy had made wet and red. She softly kissed the top of my head. I looked up at her and smiled.
“You need to go comfort your mother now, child. She may not understand things as quickly as you do. Be patient with her. Show her love.”
I twisted my head around, still holding tightly to Blue. Mommy was curled up with her back pressed against the cupboards. She hadn’t moved since Blue entered the kitchen. She wasn’t looking at Blue though, she was looking at daddy, well, I suppose what used to be daddy. I knew right away that daddy wasn’t there anymore. Mommy was staring at him and I could see Blue was right. Mommy didn’t understand.
“Ok Blue, I will take care of mommy. You won’t leave, will you?” I held tightly to her. I knew I needed her now more then ever. I knew right then that I needed Blue to stay with me forever. And I suddenly was very scared she was going to leave.
“No no child, I wont ever leave you. I will always be here for you. Now go take care of your mother. Be sweet. And tonight we can talk and play and sing songs, just like always. But you must care for your mother first. If she does not understand, she will want to take you away from me.”
“Its all right child. She could never do that. But she might try. So I want you to talk to her. Explain things gently so that she understands. Ok?”
I pulled myself away from Blue’s embrace and raised my hand to my forehead, like I had seen soldiers in movies do. I said, “I will, I promise,” and I saluted like a real solider. Blue turned and left the kitchen, leaving me to turn to mommy.
It took some time before mommy understood, but eventually she did. I told her how Blue was only there to protect us. She was my guardian. And all she had done to daddy was even the score properly. I explained how daddy had been miscounting for years. He allowed himself mistakes, but punished us for them. He had demanded payment from us for providing food and shelter, when it was his job to provide such things. I told her that the ways daddy would hurt us to keep things even wasn’t right. That daddy was wrong. Mommy’s eyes were very wide while I explained all of this. Slowly, they moved away from the thing in the corner that used to be daddy and she started looking at me.
I explained how daddy had been unfair and it was him who owed us. He had taken so much from us and hurt us so many times. And all Blue had done was even the score. She took payment for all he had done in one swift act. And now he was gone and he would never owe us anything ever again. And if anyone ever took anything from mommy or me again, Blue would even the score again.
After that mommy understood.
Things didn’t go completely back to normal after that. We had to learn to make our way with out daddy. But we managed. And most of the things that changed were good things. Like, mommy listens to me now, really listens. Not like how grown-ups say they are listening but really they are thinking about doing laundry or washing more dishes or whatever else they like to do. That’s the way mommy used to listen to me. But now when I want to tell mommy about what I saw at the park, or what happened in school, mommy stops doing whatever she is doing, and she looks me right in the eye and listens.
I am very happy now. I have my mommy and I have my magical bear, Blue. I don’t think there is another girl in the whole wide world that is as lucky as me. I love mommy and I love Blue too.
I don’t know if mommy likes Blue very much, though. She never speaks of her or to her. And when I speak of her, mommy seems to shake a little. But it is ok, because I have Blue to talk too. Blue and I still laugh and play and sing and dance. And when I talk, mommy listens. And we are all happy. Everything is perfect.
- Published 1/22/18