chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things


PandaThe Christmas tree was in front of the big window in the living room. It was our first Christmas in the new house, so I was 3. Panda was seated under the tree. For me. He was silky, glossy black and brilliant white, and big enough to really hug.

He’s a serious bear. He became my companion, my sibling. I talked with him, discussed the questions I might have addressed with a sister or brother, whispered my woes into his soft black ear. He lost some parts and was sewn back together with dental floss. In spite of my mother’s furious vacuuming, his white fur turned tan.

At some point — maybe I was 7 or 8 and showing the first glimmers of social consciousness — I thought I would give him away to a child who didn’t have something as wonderful as a panda bear. I delivered him to the giveaway pile in the basement. But a day or two later, I felt a rush of horror and regret, and reclaimed him. He’s still here.

He has moved with me from place to place, riding shotgun, belted in on a pile of jackets and books to give him a view over the dashboard. He has worn silly hats and maintains his dignity even with stitches showing in his crotch and his tongue hanging on by a thread. He embodies patience. And memory.

He doesn’t get much attention these days, but when I look at him, what I see is that little girl, hugging him desperately, and, before that, the magic of his appearance there on the floor beneath the decorated tree.

Merry Christmas.


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