Years ago while at a conference in a big city, I purchased a teddy bear for my young daughter which she named Greta. She was a particularly charming bear, I thought, with soft brown fur and deep brown eyes, and she soon accompanied us everywhere, riding in grocery carts and sitting at the table in a high chair.
Years later, my daughter grew up and left home, leaving Greta behind. While many other stuffed animals disappeared, Greta managed to stay and I’ve kept her on my bed where her brown eyes follow me around the room. I even talk to her occasionally and she listens. I pick her up and smell the top of her head, the soft fur.
Still, I’m at the time of my life when I’m getting rid of things I don’t need. Sorting through shelves of books, closets of clothes, tables of knick-knacks. More than once, I’ve picked up Greta and put her in a bag for Goodwill. Maybe she’d like to belong to a little girl again or maybe she recognizes the little girl in me.
I see her across the room, peeking out of the top of the bag, brown eyes following me. No one at Goodwill would know her name. Maybe it’s okay if I keep her.
Maybe I should keep her.