He missed the river. He missed long, slow days lying off in the shade down on the banks. He missed gorging on fish and drinking until his belly felt like it would explode. He even missed the rough and tumble action that came with a good bear fight. Now, he wouldn’t be sure that his body would be up to it. But the point was that he never got to do these things anymore anyway. He never got to see his friends and this was because he was a family bear now.
The only fighting that he did now was constantly growling at Mamma Bear. In his younger days, all he had to do was bare his teeth and trouble would scamper away with its tail between its legs. Now his teeth weren’t what they used to be and it took him longer to move around. Now that he had responsibilities his opportunities for movement were few and far between. He often snorted at the presence of ties at the end of that word.
He lived in a ridiculous cottage deep in the wood. Ridiculous because how many bears have you heard of living in a cottage? He hated the place and what it had taken from him. Of course the whole idea had been Mamma Bear’s idea from the beginning. She was a great one for the notions. She always wanted to be above the average bear. She wanted to turn heads and she certainly had achieved that much. People would be talking about the three bears and their cottage for a long time indeed. They were the talk of the woods.
Days were spent out scavenging amongst the bushes and nights were spent squeezed into that tiny one bed chateau. He missed the friendly glow of the moon as well as the welcoming glint of the stars to orientate him. Maybe that’s why he felt so lost half the time.
But what he missed most of all was the freedom of his youth. He had responsibilities and a cub to think of now. But he would give anything for just one more day down by the river. He couldn’t even remember the taste of fresh fish anymore. Years of boiling hot porridge had burnt away his taste buds. He couldn’t bear facing another big bowl in the morning.
Her cub was an unplanned pregnancy and represented the greatest folly of her youth. She vividly remembered the day that Pappa Bear swanned into her life all brute strength and immaculate fur coat. The next thing she knew she was expecting, shunned from her own family and looking for a new home in the woods.
She knew that the cottage was ridiculous but the annoyance that it caused Pappa Bear was one of the few pleasures left in her life. She struggled to keep a straight face as he tried to land his big arse on those tiny little human-sized chairs. The fact was that there was no romance between them anymore. They were always snapping at each other.
Pappa Bear had let himself go badly. His fur coat had gone to ruin, he had gained a few pounds and hibernation season seemed to be getting longer and longer each year. It was well known that he couldn’t catch anything anymore bar it walked into him or swam down his throat. The bear had no sense of shame. Despite their meagre rations, he still took the larger share of what little they had.
Not once did he ever thank her for the for the home that she had made for them deep in the woods. She had gone for a minimalist and sparsely furnished look that she admitted could look quite bare sometimes. But Pappa Bear never noticed the little things that she did bring in to cheer the place up. Like the matching bowls or the custom made chairs and beds. He preferred to growl about what they did not have. The bare-faced cheek of him!
It took all her efforts to keep him away from that river and his degenerate friends. She only had the one cub because she couldn’t bear the thoughts of another. Her greatest fear was that he would turn out to be like his father, so she put most of her energies into him.
To Baby Bear, it was as clear as day that his parents didn’t love each other anymore. He couldn’t wait to grow up and get out of the house. One thing was for certain and that was he never wanted to marry a bear like his mother. He would go out of my way to find someone the complete opposite.
One day he hoped to run away and join the circus. He heard that a bear could make a decent living that way. His parents definitely won’t approve of this plan because their first reaction will be about what their neighbears would think. At least if he escaped and got to live life on the road, h won’t have to cope with Pappa Bear ignoring him and Mamma Bear’s constant overbearing nature. He hated being called ‘Baby Bear,’ especially in front of his friends.
Everything has to be perfect with her. Everything had to be just right. Not too hot, not too cold. Not too hard, not too soft. Not too high, not too low. She drove himself and Pappa Bear demented with her unrealistic expectations and perfectionism.
At least when he joined the circus he could be himself. He could tour around for a while, see a bit of the woods, then find a nice partner to settle down with. He just couldn’t wait to get out of that house. He did not bear any ill will towards his parents, he just knew that life had to be better out in the real world.