Rusty bear and I have shared this journey through life for 61 years since his arrival in a package from Dad on my first birthday. I've lost count how many times he's been packed away to move from house to house. Over the years he has been a steady comfort, sharing pillows from crib to king size. (OK, so I don't sleep with him anymore but he does sit on my nightstand when darkness comes).
His body holds the secrets of our parallel lives. The fur that is matted and worn, bald in some spots, honors years of toddler cuddling, tweenage tea parties, teenage rants, newlywed neglect, new mom blues, and diminished house cleaning attempts. I remember when Mom gave him new button eyes in his early years; now he has only one, barely hanging by a thread. The zippered pocket sewn inside his left leg in the thirteenth year, held a stash of teenage secrets. Rusty and I may be well worn around the edges but as long as the stuffing doesn't fall out, I think the secrets are safe.