DC: Shrödinger’s Bear

“He’s real you know,” he said.

“No, he isn’t,” I argued, “he’s just a stuffed animal.”

Dad insisted, “Sure, because this is the desert. He can’t be real here. He comes alive in the snow.”

My skeptical eyes grew wide as they filled with possibility. I hugged my stuff polar bear, Teddy Bear D. Chow (Yes, that was his full name) close. I would be going on a trip to the mountains with my cousins soon, in the back of my mind, I noted that I wouldn’t forget to pack my favorite bear.

I remember holding onto him the whole ride up the mountain, excited to bring him to -what I thought was- his natural environment. The moment we arrived at our cabin destination, I was excited to see there was already snow on the ground. Dad hadn’t given explicit instructions on how exactly this was supposed to work, so I figured setting my bear on the snow was my best bet.

I set him down in a sitting position and backed up to give him space. The packed snow crunched a bit beneath my boots as I shifted my weight. Nothing happened. I stared at Teddy Bear and he stared back unblinkingly with his deep black acrylic eyes. Growing impatient from waiting, I snatched him back up and shook him around and turned him upside down. That’s when I noticed, for the first time, the sewn black tag under his leg. On it, was embroidered the name of our local pharmacy.

I remember calling Dad shortly after that. He laughed playfully on the other end of the line as I felt my eyes begin to well-up with tears. He never even said if I had done it right. He just laughed.

It’s been well over a decade since the last time I saw that bear , but I still remember his big brown bow tie, velvety soft paw prints, and lush white fur. Between shuffling around from place to place and countless yard sales, he must’ve gotten misplaced in the confusion.

Like Shrödinger’s Cat, on that day in the snow, for just a fraction of a moment, Teddy Bear D. Chow was simultaneously alive and not. I may never truly know the answer. He may have been something left behind in my childhood- lost, but I will never lose my sense of wonder.

The Daily Post Discover Challenge: The Things We Leave Behind


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