Soft Smell of Comfort

    Believe it or not, there was a time when her feet didn’t poke out of the end of it, but were wrapped up in the bright colours of Winnie the Pooh and his jars of honey. The ends weren’t frayed, and the threads were all in the right places. It felt enormous – able to wrap several times around the small blonde’s body, and still have some left over to drag across the carpet after her. It saw more kilometres than her sparkly, purple Barbie bicycle, and if it sometimes got caught in the back wheel she’d grab it into her tiny fists and apologize, rubbing it against the side of her face. Doubling as a cape, Winnie’s face flapped in the wind and caught on doorknobs, got sat on, was covered in at least two different foods at once, and was the Number 1 Monster Repellent.

    Soon, feet would poke out from the end of the red hem, and her mother would steal it to throw into the wash. Pooh bear wasn’t the same after that, though. Sticking her face into it and breathing in deeply, she could smell the detergent her mother used and she’d throw a toddler-sized fit. Once, Winnie and his pots of honey were forgotten. The torturous night that followed was filled with a sleepy child, whining and tossing and turning throughout the night next to an old, tough tea towel. Moms never did understand quite what made Pooh so special.

    Over time the colours faded – the yellow of the bear started to get see-through in areas, and in others there were little threads that didn’t match, but held the rest of it together. She’d have to curl up her whole body to fit underneath it, and she started to hide it during sleepovers, lest other little girls question why she suckled on the ends at bedtime.

    Years passed and Pooh held on tight to the growing blonde girl, getting covered in tears, snot, and was no longer used as a cape, never again to fly around the living room. Every night it wrapped around her arms and her face, snuggled tightly together so she could have just another night of the soft smell of comfort. It worried about the day that little blonde wouldn’t need Pooh anymore, and it would get cast away to remain in a damp closet, or stuffed into a bag headed to Goodwill.

    Two decades passed, and the blonde woman lays in bed next to a dark-haired man, both sleeping, her hands wrapped around the tangled mess of Pooh’s pots of honey.

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