On Things of Comfort

Cherubic Calves

When I was a kid, I had a ted­dy bear who didn’t real­ly have a name until he got old and stinky. Then he earned his name: Stinky Ted­dy. I loved Stinky Ted­dy. I wouldn’t let him washed because his smell was one of the things that I found com­fort­ing. I would car­ry him every­where. I would pluck on his fur while I was suck­ing my thumb (yes, I was a thumb­suck­er) and roll the plucked fur into tiny fur­balls. After years, Stinky Ted­dy final­ly turned pret­ty much bald and he must’ve been so stinky that my mum had to come up with this sto­ry about Stinky Ted­dy being dead. I trust­ed my mum, as I always had, so we arranged a lit­tle funer­al for him. I put Stinky Ted­dy on a chair for my broth­er and myself to car­ry to the back­yard, Stinky Teddy’s final rest­ing place. I don’t remem­ber get­ting a replace­ment for Stinky Ted­dy. If I did, I guess I just didn’t love it as much as I loved Stinky Ted­dy because I have no mem­o­ries of it. I did find myself a replace­ment for Stinky Ted­dy years lat­er, but in anoth­er form.

It was mov­ing day. We were mov­ing from the house with­out elec­tric­i­ty to the house where I grew up. I was lying on my par­ents bed with my mum, wait­ing for the movers to come and pick up the bed, when I made an epic dis­cov­ery. I dis­cov­ered how high­ly pluck­able the blan­ket on my par­ents bed was! Of course I had to ask my mum for it. That was how the blan­ket became Stinky Teddy’s offi­cial replace­ment. From then on, I would suck my thumb while pluck­ing the soft cot­ton off the blan­ket to roll into tiny fur­balls. You wouldn’t believe how com­fort­ing it was. Soon the blan­ket earned its name: the Suck­er. I kept the Suck­er for many years until it became ragged and dis­in­te­grat­ed and I had to unwill­ing­ly threw it away. My mum gave me anoth­er blan­ket to replace it but sad­ly, it wasn’t as pluck­able as the Suck­er so I didn’t care much about it. By then I was already in high school and had quit suck­ing my thumb for years. But that’s not the end of the Suck­er.

One day, my mum and I went to a depart­ment store, and guess what I saw? A stack of brand new blan­kets that looked exact­ly like the good, old Suck­er! I felt like I was in heav­en. I told my mum about it and she was more than hap­py to buy one for me. And so the pluck­ing con­tin­ued. I loved the Suck­er Junior just as much as I loved the old one, if not more. It was my faith­ful com­pan­ion. It com­fort­ed me when I was feel­ing depressed. It was the only thing in my life that didn’t change after my mum died. I even promised the sil­ly blan­ket that I would take it with me wher­ev­er I go. I didn’t keep my promise. I left it in Indone­sia when I went to Cana­da four years ago. It might sound crazy but I feel kind of guilty about it. I also miss it a lot. I miss the com­fort it gave me. It was the kind of com­fort I used to feel when I was a kid. A sim­ple, uncom­pli­cat­ed kind of com­fort. I real­ly hope my fam­i­ly back home hasn’t thrown Suck­er Junior away just so that I can ful­fill my promise and bring it to Cana­da with me some­day.

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I had a pil­low, too, and I often had to stran­gle my younger broth­er who had illu­sions that it was his. It was the soft­est, cud­dliest pil­low in the world, and a poignant reminder of my child­hood nights.

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