Eddie Bear #2
‘Erm, I think it’s…’
I was ignored, which was frustrating but understandable, everyone was in a fluster. The kid was screaming; Mum was rifling through bags at a frenzy, their contents tumbling onto the pavement; strangers were hesitating as they passed, feeling an impulse to help but overriding it in the cause of self-preservation.
‘Don’t panic, baby,’ Mum said, panicking. ‘Eddie Bear will be here somewhere!’ Following under her breath with ‘It fucking better.’ Occasionally her head would lift so she could scan the surrounding floor for the escaped bag of stuffing.
‘I think, if you…’
This time she batted me away with one hand. Not in a rough way, more distractedly than anything, a clumsy sort of stroke down my face. There was affection, I could tell. I thought I’d try again while I had her attention.
‘Honestly, I think we just need…’
She cut me short with her hand again, this time not quite reaching but supplementing the gesture with a shushing sound that fell somewhere between soothing and stern. I took it as it was intended, she had her hands pretty full with the distraught daughter. I knew the pecking order.
Thing is, I knew exactly where Eddie was, and so did the kid. We made eye contact when she pitched him away as we passed the Elephant & Castle. I always knew the Elephant & Castle, I’d had plenty of refreshment in there on trips out with Dad. I did shout up at the time but nobody seemed to think it was an issue back then, not even the kid.
‘I’m so sorry, baby,’ you could hear the fear in Mum’s voice as she abandoned the bags and picked the kid up instead. ‘We must have left Eddie Bear at home.’
The kid looked at me, I looked at the kid, and we both looked at Mum who was failing miserably to keep her poker face. The kid let her head drop until her face was right next to Mum’s ear, opened her toothless mouth, and roared.
I opened my mouth to try again, then stopped, lapping the words back up while I considered mounting a solo quest to fetch the toy and cease the tantrum. I knew I wouldn’t get ten paces before Mum started panicking for a new reason, and I couldn’t let her do that while she was holding the kid, even if a quick bounce on the floor might do it some good.
There was nothing left for it.
‘We need to go back,’ I yelled, as assertively as I could without causing more alarm. ‘Eddie Bear is over there,’ I stiffened and pointed with my nose. ‘This way. This way!’
Mum was now staring straight at me and waving her arms towards the floor in a way I knew meant I should calm down. I stopped talking but motioned to walk back in the direction of the pub.
‘What it is, Jasper?’ she said. ‘What are you barking at?’
This was my opportunity, I pulled against my leash, paused as it went taught, and pulled again. Mum put the kid into her pram, turned it around, and motioned that I should lead.
‘Let’s go! Let’s go to Eddie Bear!!’ I yelled into the wind, waving my tail behind me.