That Night With the Teddy Bear

When I went to university, I had high hopes that my life would become less boring and that I would have some interesting stories to tell later on. And well, that came true. I’ve lived through longs days and long nights, and I have been in situations where I would suddenly think ‘how on earth did I end up here?’. It’s safe to say that university did more than just teaching me Russian and Polish.

And since some stories are too good not to tell, I will now dig into my memories to tell you one of my favourite stories. It’s one of my favourites because it is absolutely random and funny. Stick with me, reader, if you want to know what the link between long nights and curious teddy bears is…

This story takes place during the second semester of my first year at university. That year I had a sweet nothing with a guy I will call X, because I find that an appropriate letter when you want to protect someone’s identity. We were definitely not a couple, not even fuck buddies. At most you could call us kiss buddies. And text buddies, because we texted a whole lot. Since we would only meet at night, this was our way of staying in touch.

X liked going out and drinking and did that a whole lot. He could, because he rarely attended his classes. I did attend all of my classes (okay, except for one, completely useless bullshit class), so I also used my nights for sleeping. So one night, it was a Monday in April, I went to sleep at midnight and slept for two hours. For some reason I woke up after those two. I heard my mobile phone freaking out since my inbox was full. My inbox is always full. I don’t know why I am the only one struggling with that, but okay. My phone was vibrating with a passion, and I was awake and annoyed by it, so I got out of bed and started deleting texts so the next ones could arrive safely.

Apparently, X had been sending a lot of messages, asking where I was and saying I had to come. I believe there were even sad smileys involved. I told him I was trying to sleep and that therefore I couldn’t come. He replied saying I had to come. I told him I was trying to sleep and that therefore I couldn’t come. But of course he didn’t listen. For some reason (I could guess what that reason was) he seemed to need my presence. At some point he suddenly said: I have a bear for you!

A bear? I thought. How can he have a bear for me?

I figured that it was a typo and replied that I liked beer, but not tonight. I was trying to sleep, you see. I needed my sleep so I could attend my class the following morning.

Not a beer, he replied, a bear.

A bear.

Do you have any idea how weird that sounds? When a guy tells you he has a bear for you, and it’s around 3 am, that sounds very, very weird. Especially because he wasn’t the romantic type and I didn’t suspect that he would have bought me a gift to deliver it at home at 3 am.
Time was passing, so yes, we were heading towards 3 am and I still wasn’t back asleep. And I didn’t know what to reply to that text saying he had a bear for me. So I said: Oh, now I understand.

I think he was too drunk to understand that I didn’t get the bear thing, or at least that I had understood him so wrong. So he said: I’m bringing it to you.

No, I said. I’m trying to sleep, I need my sleep, and if you come over now, I know I won’t be sleeping.

I must have said that a thousand times. He didn’t listen though. He said he would be quiet, but added that he was on his way.

So I sat there, 3 am, thinking oh no, oh no, oh no, he’s coming with his bear and I don’t want that, and I will not give in, not to him! At the same time I couldn’t believe that he was really heading towards me. Nevertheless I kept on trying to make clear that I didn’t want him here, that he shouldn’t come, and so on.

Time kept going. 3:30. Well, there goes my sleep.

Suddenly he texted: I’m at your door.

I lived in a house with five other students, and my room was on the first floor, right above the front door. I could have looked out of my window to see if he was really there. But somehow, I didn’t dare to do that. Somehow, I couldn’t believe he was really there. I don’t remember what I replied then. Maybe I still repeated that I needed my sleep. But he kept responding saying he was really there, and that it was cold.

About half an hour had passed after his text saying he was there. It was 4 am. I didn’t know what to think of it, until he said: Hurry up, it’s cold ;(.

So I put on the light, brushed my hair a little and said to myself that even if he wasn’t there, I didn’t have to tell him that I went to take a look. Then I went downstairs. Our front door is partially milk glass, and I could see a silhouette.

So he has really come.

I opened the door, and there he was.

With a teddy bear in his arms. An innocent teddy bear.

He only wore a T-shirt with short sleeves and shorts. In the middle of the night. No wonder he was cold. And he was carrying a quite big teddy bear who wore a red knit cap. I didn’t expect to see this, so the first thing I said, was: “Are you insane?”

Still I felt compassion and let him in, since it really was cold. And after all, you don’t get a teddy bear delivery every day, right? Then he told me the teddy bear came from a student bar. How romantic to get a stolen teddy bear as a present! He also told me that he even got lost on his way to me. Normally, that road would have taken about half an hour, which is already long when you’re wearing so little and it’s night. And then he even got lost. All just to get that criminally acquired teddy bear to me. I almost felt flattered.

It was quickly decided that he could stay, though I warned him to keep his hands off me for the reason I had been repeating so often already. Next to that I was determined to not give him what he wanted. But okay. It ended up with him sleeping so deep and me lying awake. Of course. But at least he listened to me when I said he should keep his hands off me.

The next morning I ‘woke up’ (though I didn’t manage to fall asleep for real), went to take a shower and ate some yoghurt, all while he was still asleep. Then he woke up as well. I gave the teddy bear back to him and told him he should return it to the student bar. What could I do with it? Nothing. And I didn’t want something stolen sitting in my room. He accepted it, but never returned it, as far as I know. We walked back to town together¬† until our roads parted. Right before I left for class and he would continue what he called his Walk Of Shame, he asked for a kiss. Coming to think of it, that must have been the only time we publicly kissed in daylight.

We never did any better than kiss buddies, but still: how many people can say they had a teddy bear delivered at 4 am?


Sweet Nothing

A while ago I stumbled upon a song that I already knew but never really listened to. It was the kind of song that play at parties, so I never guessed it could be something I would enjoy listening to when just being at home. It turned out a little different.

The song I’m talking of is Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris and Florence and the Machine. It has this party side to it, but when listening to the lyrics, it suddenly struck me. Nothing described what I had last year better than this song. I had this thing last year with a guy. It wasn’t a relationship, but it also wasn’t nothing at all. We would meet at night and then hang out, but we never arranged that. It happened by accident. The kind of accident in which I would walk into a bar, knowing they would be there, because they were always there.

The weirdest thing about it was that I knew perfectly well that this would lead to nothing. I might have still thought that in the beginning, but it didn’t last long for sure. We would never have become a couple. And we both didn’t want that either. He wouldn’t have been a good boyfriend for me. In fact, he wasn’t that good to me at all. It’s hard to describe that situation well, since it was strange and complicated, but o so easy at the same time. I guess the only thing that kept us together was the need for attention and affection. But we were opposites. I was the girl who would attend all her classes. He was the guy who only went out, every day again.

I knew it was leading nowhere, I knew he wouldn’t do anything for me. And yet I couldn’t end it either. We stayed in touch for far too long. When I decided to not text him so it would finally come to an end, he started texting me. And those little, stupid things flattered me enough to keep it all going. It was safe though, you know. I knew he didn’t expect anything from me. And what he expected, I wouldn’t give, because I didn’t feel like owing him anything at all. It was safe because it would never become real. It was safe because he would never get serious with me. Sometimes, I don’t like things getting serious.
This all doesn’t mean that I liked it. I liked it enough to keep it going, but also hated it at times. Nothing gives more doubts than this kind of thing. Wasn’t I worth more? Why couldn’t I take the right decision? Why did he stay in touch with me? Did he like me? What did he want from me? And so on. There were no answers to these questions and yet I couldn’t end it. Eventually, it ended itself. It died out.

This is not a love story. This is just a story of two people who needed attention but were afraid of the commitment of a relationship. This is a story about long nights, much beer and very sweet nothing.

It isn’t easy for me to let it go
I’ve swallowed every single word
And, every whisper, every sigh
Eats away at this heart of mine.
And there is a hollow in me now

So I put my faith in something unknown,
I’m living on such sweet nothing,
But I’m tired of hope with nothing to hold,
I’m living on such sweet nothing.
And it’s hard to learn,
And it’s hard to love,
When you’re giving me such sweet nothing,
Sweet nothing,
Sweet nothing,
You’re giving me such sweet nothing.

And it’s not enough
To tell me that you care,
We both know the words are empty air.
You give me nothing!