Beaming with excitement, I took my brand new Huggy Bear stuffed animal from my father. I had been begging for weeks to get one.
Huggy Bears were the bestest. They were teddy bears that hugged you back. Imagine that! A stuffie that gives you hugs. I loved hugs.
Daddy didn’t give many hugs. He was pretty busy with work and all. Mommy only hugged her special bottle. I wasn’t allowed to touch Mommy’s special bottle–or Mommy–but now I could get as many hugs as I wanted from Huggy Bear. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.
I carried my Huggy Bear everywhere. I named him Winston, and Winston became my bestest friend. He wasn’t much of a talker–he didn’t talk at all, actually–but I didn’t care. I chattered on about my day and told him all the stories that were in my head. There were a bazillion stories swimming around in there, and Winston listened to all of them. Mommy usually told me to go away, and Daddy said he was listening but I knew it was just pretend; he never even looked up from his newspaper.
One day a week after I got Winston, I accidentally dropped Mommy’s dinner plate when I was setting the table for our Louisiana Baked Chicken dinner. Mommy got really mad. She even threw her special bottle at me; she missed, but I had to clean up the glass.
Then Mommy got scary. She screamed at me and took Winston from me. She blamed Winston for distracting me from my job of setting the table. I watched in horror as she pulled Winston’s head off. Mommy killed Winston!
I cried myself to sleep. Poor Winston.
The next morning, I woke to Daddy screaming. I tiptoed to their room, scared, and saw the strangest thing.
Winston’s head was back on. His neck was all red, but his head was back on, and he was hugging Mommy’s neck. Why was Daddy screaming? Winston was back and giving hugs again. He should have been happy.
Daddy rushed me back to my room and told me to stay put. After a while, I heard sirens and lots of people talking. When they left, Daddy opened my door and told me that Mommy had been really tired and had gone to sleep forever. I tried to reassure him that Winston would make her feel better with his hugs, but he didn’t listen. He never listened.
Daddy got mad at Winston. Just like Mommy, he ripped his head off, then he ripped off his arms. His arms! How was Winston supposed to hug now?
Two days passed. Daddy didn’t say a word, and I didn’t either. Who did I have to talk to? Winston was gone.
On the morning of the third day, Daddy didn’t wake me up for kindergarten. That was strange. I went to his room to check on him.
Winston was back, and he had given Daddy’s neck the biggest hug ever.