Teddy Bear was waiting for Amelia on the hall table outside her bedroom. She knew he would be.
She knew he would be because she heard Johnny tiptoe up the stairs late in the night, not being as quiet as he thought he was. And she heard him stop at her door.
When Johnny was a little boy, Amelia would read him to sleep while he snuggled with Teddy.
Later, when Johnny decided he was too old for his mommy to read to him, he’d still snuggle with Teddy but sometimes …
Well, sometimes he got scared or lonely and needed Amelia. On those nights, she’d hear him tiptoe outside her room — not really quiet then, either — and then tiptoe away. She would open the door and find Teddy Bear waiting for her, and she’d go to Johnny and rock him or read him to sleep.
Later still, after Jack died and Johnny left school to go to work, she didn’t always hear him come up the stairs at night. But when she opened the door in the morning, Teddy Bear would be waiting.
And she knew Johnny was safe. And that he needed her still, somehow.
When the war came, Johnny took Teddy with him to Europe. Amelia missed them, but Johnny sent letters.
In them, he said that he was safe and that he loved her. And, even though he didn’t write it, the letters said he needed her.
Amelia knew Johnny would be coming home , could feel it in her soul. She had given him to the world, and now it was sending him home.
She touched Teddy on the head, and he disappeared into the shadowy morning as she walked downstairs to answer the door.
On the stoop, a military man held Teddy, and a telegraph.