Sunday, July 23, 2006

All the Dens Know

The Dens all know the lore. The stories are told at the Puppy Parties and Teddy Bear Picnics about how to be real. To be real, you have to be loved. Your people have to believe. They have to want to hear you.

Some bears just go on with their lives, sleeping all winter, and eating all summer. They have heard the stories and they know that being real is supposed to feel good. But, nobody knows anybody who became real. So they sit from day to day, talking with each other when they can, waiting for the picnics, not really believing. Oh, they told the stories and they said they believed, but ... really!

Sandy knew it was more than just a good story. And she knew it took more than hearing the story or telling it. She set her mind to the picture every day of being with people, her people. She thought of every detail. What the house would look like, and the table, and the bed. And with that thought very clear to her, what she had to do also became clear.

Sandy straightened the bow at her neck and blinked very hard. It was January and most of her cousins were in a deep sleep. It was that time of year. She fought through the sleep to make herself ready because the store would open soon.

Sandy had struggled to get to the top of the pile of bears that looked just like her, and the boy with the tattoos and the ring through his nose had put her at the front of the Valentines Day book display. She wished she could wash her face again, but it had taken a long time to get to the coffee shop in the store where the water was. Yesterday, she almost didn't get back in time.

Now she sat with the first stack of gift books on the table. She watched the people come in and made an effort again not to doze off. If she fell asleep now, she could not make eye contact, and she might not get someone to take her home. That was her dream. A home. People who understood.


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