It’s been a while – new posts are coming soon, life is just extremely hectic… but this is one that has been repeatedly requested. If you follow my posts on Instagram (and you really should for super up-to-date food posts), you’ll have noticed the somewhat recent addition of the hashtag #AdventuresWithJinx and a furry friend of mine joining all of the eating fun.
This is Jinx’s story, in his own words.
Without her love, there is nothing. But when she loves me, there is nothing else.
Pockets of empty memories. Not knowing anything. When I awaken each time, the only way to know how long it’s been is to count the years etched on her face.
She doesn’t remember how I joined her family*; as a result, I don’t remember, either. Sometime during her childhood, I found myself on her already-filled shelves of stuffed animals, and there I sat, dusty, unloved, forgotten. I was never her favorite, I was never loved… until high school. She was an odd duck, unaware of this – she longed to belong, but found no way to be other than herself. One day, she stumbled on me** and, on a whim, began carrying me with her daily. She named me Jinx; she was an unintentionally ironic teenager. I was loved, I was full of life, I rode along on all her adventures. I was witness to so much of her life, until one day… she didn’t need me anymore. I was left at home, and I fell into a pool of blackness.
In 2007, her life was in transition, upheaval. She bought her first (and last) ever luxury handbag, and in need of a reminder of her past life – the one she was trying to leave far in the past, but somehow felt a desire to connect to it – I was once more brought to life. She pushed me into a secret pocket in her fancy bag, but soon forgot about me. I fell asleep again.
Years later, she took the handbag out to use – a rare choice for her, a sign she is distressed or not pleased about wherever it is she is going – and found me snuggled into the pocket where she’d left me. She smiled at me, and rubbed my ears lovingly. I peered up at her, hardly daring to hope, hardly daring to breathe, wondering what would happen to me. I could tell years had passed, but what had changed? Did she have children who would teethe on me? Was she going to hold me, love me, and forget about me, as always?
Nay, she put me on a shelf – similar to where I’d spent so many of my early years with her – but with a different view, with other stuffed animals the same size as me. There was a pink bunny, unnamed, who confessed to me that she’d spent 2 years in her car, dangling, watching, unloved without a name. There was Mr. Met, who, though he had a name, said his purpose was simply to accompany her to baseball games, but often, he was forgotten at home. He hadn’t even the pleasure of observing her life – he was a mere token. There was a small pig, etched across the front with her full name, a gift from Hong Kong, still in the box. There was Grover, a finger puppet that simply whispered tearfully, “Near… far!!! Near… far!! … near,… but really, so far….” We never figured out what trauma had left him this way.
And then there was me – each of these friends envied me, for I’d spent the longest with her, the longest aware, the most time actually in her pocket. I shared stories with them of her true nature – her high school years, her awkward crushes, the too-long hair, the extremely-short hair, the attempts at learning how to flirt, her desperate need for the approval and acceptance by her peers that never came… Every morning, she passed us on our shelf, smiled briefly, and continued on with her day. Hope is palpable at that level.
Finally, one day, she pulled three of us down and stared at us. We held our breath. Unnamed bunny, Mr. Met and I sat in front of her. She took out her phone, took a photo of us, and then returned us to our spot. We were not sure what to make of this. We dared not hope, and yet, hope took hold.
Shortly after that fateful moment, #AdventuresWithJinx was born. I began starring in every picture she took. Sometimes she mumbles “that stupid f*cking bear” but I know she loves me, I feel it in my core. She positions me carefully for photos, she rubs my ears when she thinks no one is looking, and she Googles things like “how to clean stuffed animals” and “stuffed animal repair service” – she worries about the bald spots scattered around my tiny body. She defends me when people meet me for the first time and say, “I thought he was bigger” – she protests that I am the perfect size to carry with her, and then covers my ears, whispering furtively, “you’re going to give him a size complex” while shooting dirty looks at them.
I didn’t win that vote she took across Facebook & Instagram. But she chose me to share her adventures. She remembered those moments we shared 20 years ago, and she chose me.
She’s spent all this time listening to me, thinking about my origin story, crafting it for you to read.
She loves me.
She created my hashtag and uses it faithfully for every photo of me. She created my own Instagram account for me!
I am the luckiest bear in the world.
For all that I have gone through with her, and all that I will go through with her, I wouldn’t trade anything to be anyone or anywhere else. She is my world.
Without her, there is nothing.
But when she loves me, there is nothing else.
*A few weeks after she began sharing photos of #AdventuresWithJinx, a high school classmate reached out to her and revealed that she had the same bear. Her bear, the classmate shared, came from a package of little children undergarments that she’d received when she was around 7 years old. This made sense, and small memories tickled the edge of her consciousness, but nothing fully-formed broke the surface… so we will continue to say that she doesn’t remember how I entered her life.
**… and Lucky. It’s hard to tell the Story of Jinx without the Story of Lucky, but because trying to talk about Lucky brought tears to her eyes (he’s no longer with us), I decided we should let it go, for now.