There I was, driving down the lonely road, afflicted with despair, watching the dense rain pour and the raindrops splat on my cracked windshield just as my thoughts fell on my shattered heart and splattered feelings all over me.
The swift and stormy night was leading me into the pitch black sky, into the dark road, where I saw no hopeful light.
As the loud crack of thunder rumbled across my spine, I saw her sitting across the road. I tried to steal a closer look and I could see the fear in her wide, innocent eyes, yearning for help, the wind blowing across her worried face and the invincible rain getting her all cold and wet. That beautiful soul was clearly lost and didn’t deserve to be.
I approached to her with my arms wide open as she pounced on my lap and rubbed her fluffy fur against me. She looked at me with utter joy and relief, like I was her saviour and I knew that moment that she was going to cherish me forever. But it was the other way round.
Nothing has ever felt softer on my weathered skin. It’s a trick, like the inner workings of a wizard’s dream, that something – a lifeless object could be so tender and welcoming. A man made “Mr. Cuddles”, as it’s written here, would bring me a piece of warmth. In subzero temperatures, a cold frigid nuclear winter and the daily battle between sunlight and fog. This stuffed animal motionless and yet so colorful. My eyes trained for so long on recognizing no more than the grey and black of what’s left of the trees and ghosts. Never seen so many colors concentrated on one matter… “Mother base, there are no signs of any survivors in zone B113.” I reported my last findings to our forward operating station and… I couldn’t take my eyes off this teddy bear – I wanted to bring it back to base for one of the survivors’ children but I could risk contamination. I have never locked eyes with an object for so long. As if they were eyes; two dark and hollow dots of plastic flanking a bear-like nose all wearing a faint smile.