White Bear, the Protector

In this memory, I’m four years old. In our tiny, half-dilapidated apartment, there is no such thing as a bedroom. What we have is a tiny backroom that operates as the children’s playroom during the day and converts into the family’s sleep room in the night.

All four of us sleep in the same room, on two mattresses that fill out the entire floor. The sleeping order is fixed: my father by the window, then me, followed by my mother, and my baby brother sleeps by the wall. My father’s position is the coldest in winter due to the poor insulation of the apartment. My mother has taken the position between me and my brother to avoid the risk of us kicking each other during the night since we are both powerful kickers while we sleep.

In this arrangement, my brother, the youngest of us all, should be best protected from all potential harms – except one. Just next to my brother’s sleeping place is a half-broken door to a storage space. And this door’s large metal hinge sticks out right above his head.

So, my mother has placed a large plush doll of a polar bear to cover the sharp edge. Every night, the polar bear sits in the corner of the room, hiding the metal hinge of the broken storage door behind his back and offering a soft cushion to my brother while he sleeps.

This is the detailed story behind why the white polar bear plush started appearing every night in the same corner of our home in the sitting position.