The Blue Blue Bear.
By Simon Evans
It was at my father’s funeral that my Uncle told me about the Blue Blue Bear. We had wandered away from everyone else, I think we were both guilty smokers at that point, and James had told me about the bear that changed my life. The happy blue bear who lived under the sea, beneath the sun.
“Just go to him” he had said. “Whenever you have problems in your life just go to him. He’ll help you. Your father and I were told by your grandfather. It’s a family secret though – don’t tell anyone”
When he said this he gripped my forearm. “You mustn’t tell anyone – not even Ruth.”
I looked back at my wife, Ruth, who waved at me and gave me a brave smile. She held the hand of Shaun, our son. He also waved, all cheeky grin and combed hair.
Later at the Wake, I again found myself alone with Uncle James. We were sat on the end of the spare room bed, looking at old photographs.
“Go to him. Go and find him”.
It was the determined earnestness of his eyes that convinced me, not that I needed convincing, that this was serious.
“So how do I find him?” I had asked.
“You drive to Gannet Point. You hire a boat. You row out until you are under the sun. Then you call him.” Came the reply.
Several months later Shaun fell terribly ill. He died. The death hit Ruth and I like a slow, heavy, intense wave of unbearable grief.
One morning I lay looking at Ruth’s back as she shook with tears. I slipped out of bed, pulled on some clothes and drove in the early morning sun to Gannet Point and hired a boat. I rowed through the sparkling water until I was under the sun.
I lay the oars down and stood in the slowly rocking boat. I clenched my fists and closed my eyes and lifted my face to the warm morning sun.
“Blue Blue Bear. Blue Blue Bear. Come out from under there.” I recited, exactly as Uncle James had said.
A warm breeze picked up and a rush of bubbles broke around my little wooden row boat. I leaned forward and peered expectantly into the ocean. I discerned a shape hurtling from the depths towards the surface of the water. A huge blue fluffy bear burst from the water and landed perfectly in front of me in the boat. He was completely dry. He was bright blue. He had cute little ears on the top of his head. His face was big and smiley. His eyes were yellow and huge and radiated kindness, sympathy and a deep understanding. He waved at me with big, soft paws.
I started to speak, to try to articulate my despair, my hurt, my loneliness, my emptiness. He pressed a warm blue paw lightly to my lips. He did a little dance. He swept his arm around at the sky. He pointed at the water. He stroked my arm and patted my head. Then the big blue bear waved goodbye and jumped from the boat and was gone.
What he left behind was incredible. I felt incredible. Never had I experienced such elation, such peace, such euphoria.
About ten days later Ruth left me. We weren’t coping. I went back to Blue Blue Bear and again he came to me and did some faintly bizarre gesturing, hugging and dancing (in complete silence, always in silence) and again left me in a beautiful cocoon – a perfect world.
I went back again when I lost my job. I went back again when the bank repossessed the house. I went back again just because I felt like it. Sometimes I just wanted to dive in after him, I never did.
One day I was drinking in the park with some bikers. They gave me some drugs. I’m not sure but I think I told them about Blue Blue Bear. I’d never said a word to anyone. But I was pissed and confused and I wanted to impress them.
The next time I felt low (for no real reason – I was just depressed and felt like life was shit, oh and James had died) I hitched a lift to Gannet Point. I stole a boat and I rowed through the choppy cold water until I was underneath the hazy mid-day sun.
I stood shakily.
“Blue Blue Bear. Blue Blue Bear. Come out from under there.” I rasped.
A cold wind picked up. The boat lurched. Bubbles broke at the surface, releasing a sulphurous stench.
Blue Blue Bear eventually rose to the surface and smacked his head against the underside of the boat. He clambered painfully on board. He looked awful. He was grey. He was soaking wet and stank of dampness. His eyes were baggy and bloodshot. His ears sat flat and wet on top of his head. He tried to wave but fell backwards and shrank until he was just a wet, dank file of fur.
I pushed the deflated corpse off the boat and rowed to the nearest beach.
So now I’m on the bridge looking down at the ravine beneath me. The wind is picking up and I’m starting to attract attention. I climb over the railings and lean forward in a dive pose. I feel oddly content. I’m really looking forward to falling.