My childhood best friend lived next door to us. She was three years older than me, three years more creative and more fun. Playing with her was much more fun than playing by myself and those were usually my only options. We were inseparable, especially during the summer. She would come over and make up impossibly sophisticated stories for us to act out with my dolls.

During middle school, she started to tire of having a younger shadow. She and some other girls her age would gang up to play tricks on me and laugh at my confusion. I would blink back tears and go home, only to go back for more at the first invitation. Over time, she stopped being my friend altogether. The next summer extended before me like an eternity of empty time.

The couple who rented her family’s upstairs apartment got a puppy. I discovered the puppy once when I headed out to sit in the backyard to pretend I had something to do and I was overjoyed. I realized I was considerably more excited about this puppy than his owners were because they left him out there alone a lot. I think I learned his name from the yelling his owners’ provided from the back door.

Bear was adorable and sweet and very aptly named. He looked like a little teddy bear and he was desperate for attention. I started engaging him through the chain link fence that separated our backyard from his. I felt sorry for him and I fell in love with him. One day he started digging under the fence. Though I sensed there would be trouble, I encouraged this behavior. I wanted to hold him and pet him and love him without that stupid fence in the way. When he finally squeezed over to my side, being with him was as wonderful as I had imagined. I picked him up and brought him to my face and talked to him and felt his warm puppy tongue on my cheek. I plopped him down on my lap and stroked his soft puppy fur and felt such joy and love.

I wanted to keep him.

The neighbors were paying more attention than I thought and it wasn’t long before I started hearing them calling for Bear. I hid behind out house for awhile in a futile attempt to keep him longer. The longer the search went on when Bear was right next door, the more trouble for me. Eventually I decided to go sit with Bear on our front porch and let his owners find us.

I held Bear on my lap and tried to make peace with giving him back. I watched with dread as Bear’s owners turned the corner and finally noticed us sitting together.

“Didn’t you hear us calling him?” They looked pissed.

I ended up saying I’d found him, that he must’ve dug under the fence and gotten free. I could tell they didn’t believe me. But there was no harm done, so they just took him back from me without another word.

When I went to the backyard after that, Bear would run over and immediately go to the hole he had dug. The owners tried to fill the hole with soil, but that was no match for Bear, so they eventually secured that area of the fence with plywood. I couldn’t go out there anymore because he would still try to dig and it was heartbreaking and I was afraid he’d hurt himself. I also didn’t want to have to see the day that he stopped trying.


The prompt this week was to write about a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.

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18 Responses to “Bear”

  1. Erin
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    Aww how sweet. I bet he was cute! I wouldn’t have been able to stop seeing him so easily!

  2. Jack@TheJackB
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    Bear sounds like he was an important and good friend.

  3. Annie @ Annie's Heart
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    oh no!! Why wouldn’t they let you share bear? Couldn’t they see he loved you as much as you loved him?
    I know the loneliness of wanting a best friend. I have spent many lonely summers and didn’t have a puppy companion either. Beautifully written!

  4. Crayon Wrangler
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    WOW! This piece tells so much in its beauty. Your loneliness as a child, your hurt, your hope and your spirit.

    I truly enjoyed this and felt your pain when you said you didn’t want to see him stop trying.

    I now want to give you a puppy :)

  5. Victoria KP
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Lovely piece. I could see him digging under the fence like in “The Pokey Little Puppy”!

  6. Denelle @CaitsConcepts
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Aww.. it’s sad that you weren’t able to offer each other that continued companionship!

  7. Amy
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Great piece! It would be so hard to stop seeing him!

  8. andygirl
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    poor you, poor Bear. what a sweet story and your voice was perfect. well done!

  9. NotJustAnotherJennifer
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Oh, that just broke my heart on so many levels. Very well done.

  10. Jennifer Dillon
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    I wanted you to end up with Bear, you needed him as much as he needed you. It never ceases to amaze me how cruel kids can be and how tunneled visioned adults can be.

  11. JP
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    You & Bear seemed so right for each other as you understood him & he you. Good work divulging your true self!

  12. Carrie
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    What a shame they didn’t realize Bear loved being with you as much as you loved him.

    Visiting from RDC

  13. logyexpress
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Thanks for visiting everyone, I really appreciate it. I still get kind of wistful when I think about Bear. I think the neighbors got Bear to be a guard dog, so they really didn’t like me playing with him and being sweet to him. Poor little guy. They were just renting so I think they moved away shortly after…I have no memory of Bear being anything but a little puppy.

  14. Frelle
    Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    I agree with CW… the aching loneliness and the dog who knew you needed him, and oh man, my heart.

    I really like the way you write and what you write about. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my story this week.

  15. Renee
    Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    So sad.
    Losing a friend in such a hard way.
    And then losing that new relationship before it got started.

  16. Galit Breen
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Oh your sweet heart. Your point of view really shined through here! And that last line? Totally killer.

  17. Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    I can only relate to this too well – the isolation of losing your friends and left with no one. It has now come up twice in TRDC prompts.

    The story of Bear is heartbreaking – it could have been me doing the same. I wish it had a happier ending.

    Well told.


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