Months ago, probably around Christmas, I can't remember exactly, driving down Bells Line of Road on my way to somewhere, I noticed something lying at the side of the road. It was a teddy bear, lying on it's back. My initial thought was how sad some child would be without his best friend and that surely once Teddy's absence was noticed, a search party would be launched and a happy reunion would eventuate.
It didn't happen. Teddy lay there, mostly face up to the sky, once or twice when we'd had a windy day, he was lying on his face. Then I noticed that the grass at the edge of the road had been mowed, and thought surely he had been rescued. God forbid that he had been mown! For a week or two, he wasn't visible - I felt pleased that someone had picked him up. Then - no, there he was again - the grass clippings had moved or subsided and Teddy was still there.
I'm sure I can't be the only person who had seen him lying there. It just so happened that the road at that spot is quite narrow with no real place to pull off and also it's just below the crest of a small hill.
Summer progressed with blistering heat and I worried about that poor, lonely bear. Then I would wake in the middle of the night and hear the rain pouring on the roof. Poor Teddy, lying in the pitch dark with no-one to hold him. My determination to rescue the bear grew.
About three weeks ago, we decided to buy some takeaway for dinner and Mike went off to collect it at North Richmond. On his way out the door, I said "If you get a chance to stop, please pick up the Teddy". He returned bearless - "no, there's nothing there". Once again, my hopes rose that Teddy was safe.
A few days later, I once again drove past and sure enough, there was Teddy, still lying in the grass.
Last Thursday evening, after our tragic day where we said goodbye to Daisy, and despite the fact that I was already in my pyjamas and into my first red wine when Mike got home from work, he insisted that we go out down to Windsor for some fish and chips. It was a vain attempt to make ourselves feel better. However on the way back home, I said to Mike "Tonight is the night that I WILL pick up the bear". We were in a line of traffic as we approached the spot where Teddy was, so Mike pulled into a side street until we had a clear road behind us. Then he slowly drove along the dark road until I cried "There he is!" The car stopped, I opened my door and reached down. Teddy was saved!
When we got home, I inspected this poor, saturated bear. His front half was quite bleached by the summer sun, as he had mostly laid that way. His back was very muddy. Through the grass clippings and the mud and the wet fur shone a lovely smile. He had a label which of course said 'surface clean only'. I filled the sink with warm sudsy water and plunged Teddy in - after all that he'd been through, I figured a warm bath was nothing by comparison. It was only as I soaped him up that I realised that there was something hard in one of his paws. A quick squeeze and a little teddy voice said "I love you, I love you".
I love you too, Teddy. Did my Daisy send you to cheer me up?