Marianne left to check the mailbox during the last round of scrabble. “I can’t do anything with the tiles I have left,” she said.
“I can,” Charlie said. He added a ‘t’ to start. “How many points is that?”
“You tell me,” Isaac said.
While Charlie added up his points, Marianne returned with the mail. “Is that a package?” Isaac asked.
Charlie looked up. “Is it for me? It’s not my birthday.”
Marianne flipped it over. “It’s for me. It’s from Aunt Doris.”
Charlie frowned. “It’s not your birthday, either.”
“It’s probably more parenting books,” Isaac said.
“Boring.” Charlie held up his notepad. “It was worth a thousand points.”
Isaac raised an eyebrow. “I think you need to check your math. It was not worth a thousand points.”
“I added a few awesomeness points. It was a good word.” Charlie grinned.
Isaac laughed. “I don’t think so.”
“You don’t think I’m awesome.”
“Of course you are. However, that doesn’t earn you any points in scrabble. Calculate again, my friend.”
Marianne returned with the scissors and cut open the package. “Huh.” She held up an old, ratty teddy bear. “Why did she give me this?”
Charlie dropped his notepad and hurried over to inspect the teddy bear. “Did it used to be yours?”
“I don’t think so,” Marianne said. “I don’t remember it.”
“Maybe you could call her and find out.” Isaac picked up Charlie’s notepad and wrote on it. “There you go.” He handed the notepad to Charlie.
“Just five points? That’s not fair.” Charlie scowled. “It was an awesome word.”
“I told you, there are no points for awesomeness in scrabble.”
“Fine.” Charlie totaled his score. “You win again. Congratulations. Mom, do you want to play Clue?”
Marianne looked up from her phone. “Sure. Just let me call Aunt Doris first.”
Aunt Doris said she’d found the teddy bear in a box in her attic and thought it might be Marianne’s. “It made me think of you somehow,” she said. “Just keep it, dear. I don’t want it.”
The teddy bear was left to guard the couch while they played Clue. Charlie won, just barely. Marianne was just a few steps behind. Isaac still wasn’t sure which room was the right one. To celebrate a fun game night, they ate ice cream after dinner.
In the middle of the night, Isaac woke to the feeling that someone was watching him. He sat up and looked around. The old teddy bear was sitting on his nightstand, leaning forward, looking at him with scuffed black eyes. Isaac gently picked up the bear and left it on the couch. Then he went back to bed.
In the morning, Charlie woke up Isaac and Marianne with a shout. He charged into their room moments later. “Who left this bear on my pillow? It wasn’t funny.” He dropped the bear on their bed and stalked out of the room.
Marianne looked at Isaac. “It wasn’t me,” he said. She shook her head and took the bear back to the couch. It was sitting on the table when they sat down for breakfast. Marianne sighed and handed it to Isaac.
Isaac took it back to the living room and set the bear on the couch. It slumped over. Its black eyes were dim. He felt sorry for the poor tattered bear. “I think you need a hug, don’t you?”
He gave it a hug. “It’s okay,” he told the bear. “You’re a great bear. You’re perfect just the way you are.” The bear felt warm in his arms, and then it disappeared.
A week later, Charlie turned to Marianne at breakfast and asked, “Whatever happened to that old bear?”
She shrugged. “I think your Dad got rid of it.” They never saw it again.