Family

Six through Sixteen.

When I was six, I hugged my teddy bear for the first time out of love.

The moment I unwrapped my birthday present and saw it all fluffy and warm, ready for my embrace.
The moment you took me in your arms and told me “Daddy will be here soon.” when I asked you why wasn’t he there to cut my cake.

When I was ten, I hugged my teddy bear out of comfort.

The moment I stormed into my room and threw my body on the bed, crying because of a boy at school who pushed me off my chair and called me a baby for wearing my favourite Cinderella T-shirt.
That day, I called out your name over and over, only to be told “Stop yelling! He’s just acting mean because he likes you!”

When I was twelve, I hugged my teddy bear out of loneliness.

The moment I realised that I was the odd one in my group of friends.
The moment I started seeing an apple as thirty five push ups and plastic wrap as something Google advised me to use to make my waist look thinner.
The moment I watched you leaving traces of yourself scattered around as you walked to the backyard at one in the morning to smoke a cigarette because dad was not home yet.
I remember you thought it was unfair.
I remember you wanted me to comfort you.
I remember I did and I remember I told you “You are still so perfect to me.” hoping it would be an opening sentence to 2 years worth of repressed hurt. But you just stared at me with guilty eyes then lit up another cigarette and told me to get inside before I get sick.
If that night had defined our whole relationship, would we have made it? Would I have been hugging you instead of a lifeless cotton toy?

When I was fourteen, I hugged my teddy bear out of fear.

The moment your screams woke me up so I sheepishly walked to the kitchen to see broken glass on the floor and my dad pointing his finger at you.
The moment you stood in front of me, blocking the scene of my father pressing the bottle to his lips, and told me to go to my room because it was past my bedtime.
The moment my friend next door called me to ask about the noise and see if I was okay and I ended up telling her everything I was supposed to tell you.
It was you who I wanted to tell that I was hurting. You were the one I wanted to explain to how if I had my heart in my hand instead of my chest, I’d be able to see it beat in pain to the beat of “I’m hurting, I’m hurting and you’re just watching.”

When I was sixteen, I hugged my teddy bear out of heartbreak.

The moment I realised I was in love with a boy who missed classes more than anything else and drank alcohol too much and too often that he used to forget he loved me back sometimes.
The moment you told me that my overwhelming, soul-eating pain was just a phase when I tried to tell you about that night he slipped something in my drink and I ended up in his car, giving him a little bit more than just my first kiss.

When I turned eighteen, I started hugging my teddy bear out of rage.

I wish I could ask you if that “He’s mean because he likes you.” rule you told me when I was ten, is still valid at eighteen when I’m throwing up on an empty stomach every night, just for the simple fact that all the words I was never able to yell at him started accumulating and rotting in the back of my throat.
The moment I felt so lonely I decided to call a best friend I abandoned the same night my so called boyfriend called her pretty as we walked past her in the hallway, only to find out later that she was the one he had been cheating on me with while I was busy counting the sparkles in his eyes that had stopped shining for me long before I decided to give up everything I had grown up used to in the name of love.

You should have warned me that eventually, you become the things you love, and I swear-I swear I love him. It went from skipping classes to opening bottles of champagne with nothing to celebrate. And as I’m sitting in my room right now, writing you a letter you won’t ever read because you’re too busy getting ready for another date, I can’t help but remember that autumn evening, a few years back, when you took me on a walk around the city for the first time in ages.
I remember how ecstatic I was feeling until you started mumbling words such as “Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to.” , “Love is not always enough.” and, “It was a mutual decision.”

I remember how numb I felt then, staring at the beautiful autumn leaves, praying to God they would teach me something about the art of letting go. But I was afraid that if I had to let go of my sadness, I had to let go of you too.

Because you still haven’t answered my calls from when I was ten, sitting alone in my room, crying because of a boy at my school who pushed me off my chair and who happened to be the same boy who swore he loved me when I was sixteen then called me a slut for daring to say no.

Because you still haven’t answered my calls from when I was ten, hugging my teddy bear out of comfort instead of love, wishing it was you.

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