A Murmur of memories

By Rachel H Grant

The little boy cut a hole in the teddy’s back, inserting his secret note. Then he carefully stitched shut the hiding place, smiling but with tears rolling down his face.

Duncan’s first memory danced inside his head, the screams of children all around, unwrapped Christmas gifts in the middle of the floor, kindness taken form. His present was a teddy bear, an echo of the past that now resided at the back of his wardrobe, never to be thrown away, like a childish charm that still attracted good luck.

Richmondhill House, a warm world of unwritten hope. It was his first memory.

Tears pricked his eyes like stabs to the heart, emotion hitting him with the strength of a thousand memories.

Aberdeen’s VSA had helped his mother and her young son; they were the angels of his childhood. As Duncan walked slowly round the VSA exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery, he reflected on his career success and personal prosperity. The years had erected barricades between him and his childhood, the forgotten frailty of poverty, the unremembered hunger for more.

However at the threshold of his journey, stood Richmondhill House. Gratitude laced his heart with childish tears. The tears began to fall.

A grown man, crying in public. He recalled holding his teddy to his heart, whispering his secrets, murmuring his dreams. His answered prayers had swept him off his feet. Now retired, he had been chief executive of an oil industry related company. Success had brought wealth and happiness.

However today, memories had reduced him to the little boy he once was.

He carefully deposited three hundred pound notes in the exhibition’s glass donation point. They lay there, lifeless but meaningful, for all to see.

It could not do justice to what VSA had done for him, but it would do for now.

A memory tickled the back of his mind, an annoying itch that insisted he listen. What was it? Then he remembered. His old teddy. Had he really inserted a letter to his future self there?

Back at home, he retrieved the tired and dusty teddy from the back of the wardrobe. The imperfect stitches were soon loosened, as he carefully drew out a yellowed piece of paper.

“Become rich so you can help the poor. Give this teddy to a child in need.”

Duncan’s eyes pricked with tears again. He held the teddy to his heart. He would never again forget the children out there who still needed help.

He stitched up the hole in the teddy, this time inserting a one hundred pound note.

It was time to find the teddy a new home.

The little boy cut the stitches in the teddy’s back, tears tickling his eyes as he found the treasure within.

an old teddy bear