Prompt: Little Things. 8 minutes. No editing. No stopping. No worrying.
The first thing that comes to mind is my little Clifford. Little Clifford came with a Big Clifford, but Big Clifford didn’t have the same appeal that the little one did.
He used to have three or so hairs that stuck out of his head but they got cut when I went through the hair-cutting phase that every child seems to go through at some point. There is something about little stuffed animals, Beanie Baby size, that you can just hold perfectly when you’re little, they fit in the crook of your neck and under your arm and as you grow up they still kind of fit in those places.
Little Clifford was given to me by the only person close to me in my life who died before they were supposed to. I don’t remember him giving them to me but I remember being told he was the one who gave them to me so real or not Little Clifford will always remind me of Doug Chase.
He was the strongest man I knew. My dad was strong too but Doug was taller than dad and worked with his hands building houses so that seemed to make him automatically the strongest person I knew. He took us on rafting trips and made sure we felt safe. He always kind of had calloused hands and he could eat lots of donuts for breakfast because of his fast metabolism. These are the kinds of things that feel important when you’re a little kid. He also liked dogs like I liked dogs. Even though he was so big and I was so small I felt like he was my friend and we were equal.
He was tall and strong and always around in the time in my life when I was little and it was comforting to have someone around who was tall and strong. He seemed to be my dad’s best friend and that made me love him even more because I liked that my dad had a best friend and I got to hang out with him and my dad at the same time and we’d go camping and fishing and even though I really hated fishing after the first time I did it I still kind of liked the idea and I liked that him and my dad would catch really big fish that I would refuse to look at because they scared me–mind you this wasn’t necessarily when I was little because dead fish still scare me. The eyes, ew.
So this man, who had always been so strong and tall was diagnosed with cancer one day. And he was still strong and tall for quite a while but then one day, laying in a bed he seemed very small, very pale but even then he was so brave and strong to me and while I was sad then seeing him leave us and while I’m sad now as I write this when I think about Doug I feel those feelings of feeling safe and brave because he was always so strong and tall and when I was around him I felt like I was too.
It’s hard to remember specific memories, it just feels like he always there as I grew up.
And over a year ago when I got married I felt he was there. I had always imagined he would be at the important days in my life and he was. There are few things I have felt as strongly as feeling his presence in that moment in a day that was full of nervousness and new life changes and a decision almost as scary as catching a fish, he was there, helping me feel brave, which leads me to believe he’s always there. Maybe even more so than he could be if he was still alive.
Dumbledore got it right, those we love never truly leave us.