The cars blowing past roared so loudly that Mr. Snuggles’ dirty, soot covered, fur vibrated in response. If the Teddy bear had contained a skeleton, the concussive force of the sounds would have resonated in his bones as well, but he didn’t; he was full of white, fluffy stuffing. The busy roadway was almost always active and Mr. Snuggles hadn’t had a moment of peace in the three days since he had been abandoned – lost. “Lost, I was lost, not abandoned,” he had initially corrected himself, “Theodore will be back for me.”
He had hoped that it would only be a matter of time before that blue truck pulled up, the same truck that held the box he had been crammed into for the move. He had been relieved at first when the box popped open and he had the space to move a little, but when the truck hit a bump and Mr. Snuggles became airborne, said relief had given quick way to terror. He had watched from the side of the road as that blue pickup barreled on up the hill, his Theodore sitting in the passenger seat, smiling off into the distance.
The cold, noisy, gravel-strewn roadway was far removed from the suffocatingly plush, soft, and warm bed he was used to. When that truck pulled up and Theodore came running out, swooping him up into those scrawny, little arms, Mr. Snuggles presumed he will have learned a thing or two about appreciating what he had. But as the days had dragged on, this possibility had slowly evaporated, leaving behind only the smallest stain of hope. Eventually his expectation that his boy would come back for him turned to hopes that anyone would pick him up. He could have a new child, even these bored faces would be better than the road.
The bear tried to pass the time by waving at the small faces he saw in the cars, but most of them looked off into the boring distance and didn’t see him. A few did see him, but they just stared, their expressions stupid and blank like the cow that sometimes visited the fence on the other side of the road.
He thought about the look of wonder that had spread across Theodore’s face when he had opened the box on his birthday and found a bear the same size as himself inside. That was Mr. Snuggles’ favorite look; the look that started in the eyes as a glint of curiosity then quickly transitioned through recognition seamlessly into wonder. It rippled out from the eyes to the eyebrows then the cheeks and mouth, stretching them all in expectant joy. There were no hints of that look on the slack faces of the children that watched a dirty teddy bear waving his arms in the winds of passing cars. Longing to be held again had turned to just a need to see that sense of wonder in the eyes of a child again, so he danced and waved wildly.
Still, only a few of the children saw him, and instead of wonder, they wore pity, or sadness. One such little girl went past now. Her mom’s crimson minivan didn’t decelerate, but as Mr. Snuggles and the little girl locked eyes, everything seemed to slow slightly, the girl saw him and he could see that she understood. For a moment, he thought that they might stop and pick him up, that she might tell her mother to stop the van and jump out of the car to run to him laughing and smiling; his heart started to flutter thinking that he may have a new child! But instead the girl looked like she was about to start crying and pulled her own bear up close to her chest. Then they were gone. The sorrow on her face had said it all. Nobody wanted him. Those that saw him just wished he didn’t exist, because he made them sad.
In the early afternoon the wind started to pick up and he let it carry him out into the street. When he saw a car that carried a child coming at a good speed he jumped in front of it. The roaring sounds of the other cars faded away into nothing, replaced by only the rumble bearing down on him. The singularity of the noise was simple, calming. Then, suddenly, the car struck him with such force that he exploded: his flesh tearing away and loosing a great big plume of white fluff, like a snowball struck by a baseball bat. As Mr. Snuggles’ severed head came to a rest, he watched the excited boy in the backseat of the car. The boy looked out onto the swirling mass of white snowstorm around him with wonder. Seeing this wonder, Mr. Snuggles smiled one last time and died.