I got my teddy bear when I was in my late 20s. My best friend Greis gave it to me.
I told her I never had a teddy bear growing up, and that I thought I should have one. That’s Greis. She listens to every little thing I tell her about me and my trivial wishes. Then, until today. That’s one of the million reasons why I’m keeping her as my best friend for the rest of this lifetime, and perhaps the next — in spite of her bratty self.
We named the bear Bading because that was how we in the office address each other during those days. A term of endearment, so to speak. And so it went that everyone in the office came to be Bading’s friend. Anyone who was feeling emotional sought Bading for comfort. The girls would hug Bading, while the guys would just hold it and shake it like crazy.
For years, I kept Bading in a plastic bag under my bed, along with the rest of my stuffed toys. I had been planning to send them to the dry cleaners but never got around to do it.
One day, Nanay felt like cleaning up my room and found my stuff underneath my bed. For some reason, she got Bading, left the rest, and washed my best buddy bear. I dread the thought how he was washed because when I saw him, he was already hanging by his fluffy ears on the clothesline. Parang tinorture ang pobreng bear.
Now, he’s sitting comfortably inside my car Gigi, along with my stuffed Tigger (who I call Ustigger for UST Growling Tiger, hehehe) and Migo the Mouse (a stuffed rat that Edsa Plaza Hotel gave me for year of the rat).
My brother Dong once gave Greis a stuffed bear from Harrod’s, thinking it was Greis who likes stuffed toys. When I told him he got the wrong best friend, he said I could have it. Greis didn’t mind. Today, that bear belongs to her son Kai.
This isn’t a hint for my friends out there to give me a stuffed toy. Although I won’t turn them down, I think it would be better for you to give it to a homeless child. There’s an annual project that gives teddy bears to orphans, I think. I forgot which organization does that or whose project it is. I-google nyo na lang.
Basta everyone should have a stuffed bear. Especially those who don’t have a best friend. You’ll understand when you get your own bear.