One morning, when the sunlight poked its fingers through the curtains, Jack woke up in a grumpy mood. ‘Who told the sunshine it could come into my bedroom’ he said to himself under his breath as he climbed out of bed and went to brush his teeth. ‘Who put my toothbrush in the wrong place’ he mumbled as he reached around the toys to get it back from where he had thrown it the night before, ‘who said I wanted toast for my breakfast’ he groaned as he sat down at the table, where his mum had already finished eating.
‘What’s up’ said his mum as Jack took a big bite of his toast, ‘nothing’ said Jack in a miserable sort of a way. ‘Oh well’ said mum, as she got up to put the dishes in the sink, ‘I am sure things will get better.’ I don’t think they will thought Jack as he swung his feet backwards against the chair legs, frowning all the while.
Later that day Jack was back in his bedroom still feeling gloomy though he could not work out why. He picked up his racing car and looked at the broken wheel, he put it back down again. He picked up his tool box and tried to decide which of the tools he would need to use to mend the wheel, he couldn’t figure it out, finally he threw the car on the floor and flung himself on the bed, he didn’t know what was the matter with him, he just could not feel happy today.
After some biscuits at three o clock, Jack went down into the garden to see if he could find something there that would make him feel better. He kicked his football around the grass for a while but that just made him feel worse so he stopped. He could hear the children next door in their garden and the sound of their dad’s voice booming over the hedge. “kick it Fin,’ he heard Fin’s dad say, ‘go on, give it a whallop.’ Jack heard a thud as Fin gave it a kick and as he did so he felt a feeling inside him that he hadn’t felt for a while, a sort of pulling and aching, a nagging sort of a feeling that made him feel restless and a little bit like crying. He sat down. He tried to make the feeling go away. He could hear the children next door laughing and shouting. He went indoors, he didn’t like this feeling that was growing inside him.
In his bedroom he pulled open the cupboard and rummaged around. There, at the back, all pushed out of shape and a little bit battered was a familiar face, a round sort of face all furry with big eyes. Jack reached into the cupboard and found the arm of his Dandlebear and yanked him out, falling over slightly as he did so that the two of them sat down on the floor with a Pffff sort of sound. Dandlebear looked at Jack in a squinty sort of a way. “what did you do to your eye?’ Jack asked Dandlebear. ‘You squashed me up in the back of that cupboard’ Dandlebear replied, silently of course because Dandlebears do not speak they sort of send their thoughts in a magical way. Jack looked at Dandlebear and took hold of his great big paw as he did so he remembered that Dandlebear’s paw is a big as one of daddy’s gloves. As he remembered daddy’s glove, he began to think about Fin and his daddy and as he thought about Fin’s daddy, he began to feel that funny sort of feeling was growing again, he dropped Dandlebear’s hand quickly and looked out of the window.
Dandlebear quietly shifted up close to Jack and sat with him looking out of the window. ‘You miss your daddy don’t you’ he said silently, Jack nodded slowly but kept on looking out of the window, the feeling was getting stronger and stronger, he was scared of it and wanted it to go away. ‘Do you know that your daddy misses you too?’ said Dandlebear, Jack shook his head and looked glumly at the floor. ‘I don’t like my daddy’ said Jack out loud, as he watched Fin from next door kicking the football high into the air. Dandlebear sent a sort of hurrumph noise to Jack in reply as if to say, I don’t think that is true, but Jack just kept on looking gloomily at the floor.
Dandlebear shifted as close to Jack as he possibly could and snuffled in a Dandlebear way. ‘There are things you don’t know Jack that you need to know and there are things that you don’t need to know that you do know’ Dandlebear sent this message silently to Jack in a kind sort of a way because its a big thing to understand and Dandlebear wanted Jack to know that he was being kind. ‘What do you mean’ said Jack, starting to feel a bit curious but a bit irritated all at the same time. ‘Well’ said Dandlebear, its a bit like this. You see Fin out there with his daddy. Well in the world that Fin lives in, his daddy is good and his mummy is good and his sister is good (though not all the time of course because sisters can be naughty) and that makes Fin happy. But in your world Jack, your daddy is bad and your mummy is good and you haven’t got a sister so that’s not a problem but the truth is Jack that your daddy is not bad, you just have to believe he is and that makes you very unhappy. Dandlebear sat back for a rest after that big message and Jack stared silently at the floor thinking about what this all meant. Was his daddy bad or was his daddy good. Dandlebear certainly had a point, Fin seemed to be having a lot of fun with his daddy, that must make him good, but Jack could remember when he used to play with daddy like that too, did that mean that daddy was good, Jack felt confused, he tried to squash the thoughts back down and think about something else but Dandlebear was sitting there watching him with his big wise eyes. Jack remembered when Dandlebear and he used to go over the bridge to his daddy’s house, Dandlebear had always been there, daddy had always been there, but then daddy wasn’t there and mummy seemed to be crying all of the time and things felt scary and Jack had decided that he didn’t want to go over the bridge anymore, even with Dandlebear. He got up to put Dandlebear away in the cupboard again, he picked up his big paw and started to swing him back into the pile of toys when he stopped, he looked at Dandlebear’s big paws and he thought about daddy’s big gloves. Outside he could hear Fin and his sister laughing and playing, he wondered where daddy was and whether he missed him. Dandlebear looked at him with his great big eyes and sent him a message, ‘Jack’ he said ‘your daddy still loves you and he misses you every day.’ Jack stopped and sat down on the bed again with Dandlebear on his knee, ‘does he’ he asked, ‘does he still know where I live?’ Dandlebear smiled, ‘of course he does’ he said, ‘of course he does’. Jack thought about it for a while and then picked up his racing car, daddy would know how to mend the wheel, he would know which tool to use. The feeling inside Jack that was heavy and grumpy and not very nice began to change into something different, something lighter, something softer, something all together better. ‘I didn’t know that Dandlebear’ said Jack.