Where Is Teddy?

Your flight leaves in 1h 20 mins. The taxi’s outside. It’s already honked once. 1h 19 mins. Honk. You can’t find your teddy bear. 18 mins. You hear the taxi start. Honk. 17. Where’s the damn plushie? 13. Engine running! 10. Honk honk. GODDAMMIT. You throw the weekend bag over your shoulder, sprinting out the door. Vroom. “Hey you, wait, I’m here!”. The car screeches to a halt, and the angry taxi driver brandishes a fist at you, “Hurry, hurry.” You drop your bag into the hatch and your body into the front seat. Phew. Vroom.

You shoot a glance to your left. The taxi driver, a 50-ish Indian man with an impressively styled mustache, looks back at you, furious. “I expect payment for time wasted… Sir.” And youstill out of breath, answer with a subtle nod of the head. “Good. And your flight is in 1h?”. Outwardly, another slight nod. However, inside rages a sea of worries. Why did you have to press that damn snooze button? And, more importantly, where is teddy? He knows you are afraid of flying, and yet he abandoned you at such a crucial moment. Woe is you. Suddenly, the taxi driver’s heavy Indian accent brings you back to reality, “traffic is very calm today, we could arrive 10 minutes early, sir.” To which you answer in sad tones, “you don’t happen to know where Teddy is, do you?”.

The Indian man touches his mustache, and one eyebrow sets far above the other. “Who is this Teddy, sir?”. You know how ridiculous it may sound, and yet you tell of the friendship between Teddy the plushie and you. “When I was 12, I went on my very first flight, and with me was my dear Teddy Bear. I remember being so afraid when entering the suffocating cabin, even more so as I watched the ground getting farther and farther away. But Teddy was there for me. Yes, he was then and has always been, forever since. Now he’s gone, and I really don’t know I’ll be able to do this without him.” The taxi driver regards you with sad eyes, “ahh, poor little man.” You are uncertain whether he sympathizes with your situation or feels pity for this strange manchild who still clings onto a plushie at his age. It’s likely to be a bit of both, but more of the latter.

At last, you arrive at the airport, 30 minutes before liftoff. You thank the taxi driver, leaving him the extra money you promised, before rushing toward your gate. You glance at your watch. 20. Sweat runs down your cheek, but you arrive in time for the flight. And then, a lightning bolt of recognition. You throw your bag open, all the while moving toward the boarding queue. THERE HE IS. TEDDY. You let out a shout of pure ecstasy as you hug the plushie tight onto your chest. People stare at you, a few laughs here and there, but you don’t mind, and as you look deep inside your friend’s pearl-black eyes, you know everything will be alright.

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