Photo: Daniel H0ltzhouse


Once I was lost in a forest for what seemed like ages.

I found various paths and they asked ‘Who are you, where are you going?’

I said…’Urrrmmm I dont know.’

Each was certain they knew and could take me there.

So I followed one, then another and on and on, but never ended up where I wanted to be.

After such a long time, it was getting dark.

Ufff I’m tired. Soooo tired. My eyes were heavy as a wave of exhaustion hit me. I just want to lie down, close my eyes and go to sleep.

They were almost shut but I was just about able to make out a sign -

It read ‘MAN CAVE.’

Then, ‘What Happens In The Man Cave, Stays In The Man Cave.’

Sounds interesting I thought. Maybe there’ll be a bed here for the night?

As soon as I took the first step into the cave a single point of light appeared but did not illuminate in any way.

The cave was darker than absolute nothingness.

I took one step towards the light.



The darkness swirled around me and it was as if I disappeared, my only point of reference was the sensation of my feet on the solid floor.

No walls.

No ceiling.

No behind or ahead.

Just the blackness, my feet and the point of light.

I took each step forward with a single breath. I was eternally grateful to feel the floor as my foot lowered to meet it, time and time again.

Riding on waves of crushing heaviness, fear and expansive surrender, i walked for almost an eternity.

Moment after moment I was swallowed into nothingness, until one moment I was sat beside a Teddy Bear.


I was looking for a man. This is a man cave? What kind of man has a raggedy old teddy?

The golden stuffed toy looked at me with his soft black eyes, the candlelight reflected.

He said nothing, sat perfectly still.

I demanded to know, ‘Where am I? Who are you? ‘I’m lost. How do I get out of here?’ The questions and the grasping desire to know continued for days and weeks and on and on.

Finally I joined him to sit on the floor and he never left my side, never once turned away as I continued to ride on waves of crushing heaviness, fear and expansive surrender.

I talked until I was hoarse for almost an eternity and learned to be grateful and forgive, let go of resentment, bitterness, suppressed anger and shared all my fears.

Teddy’s gaze bore witness to all my secrets, dirty laundry, fantasies for who I might become and he give me the softest bear hugs as I cried over lost friends, lost loves and the deep loneliness inside.

He listened and never once interupted or passed judgement until the violent waves became soft ripples, sometimes even calm as I understood about what it is to just be…


I was often so filled with love, joy and excitment, I couldn’t hold back my goofy smile, at first it hurt my face.

I saw a glint in Teddy’s eye, he was smiling too. Such a soft and warm and gentle smile, one that seemed to say ‘you are enough.’

Had he been smiling all along? I think he might.

One day not long after, I heard the delicate rustle of the forest and a rapturous dawn chorus calling sweetly. I felt the caress of a breeze and roughness of my bended knees and stood the first time ever on my own two feet.

I smiled the saddest most happiest smile but was unable to say goodbye to my Teddy, just a lazy wave and a ‘see ya!’

As I left the darkness into the glorious sun lit day, I re-read the sign by the entrance, ‘Man Cave. What happens in the man cave stays in the man cave.’

I remembered who I had been and how I’d for gotten to be...


A grown man who is grateful, loving, kind, able to listen to and honour his feelings and his friends feelings too. Laugh until my face aches, cry until my face stings with tears. Oh and give the softest of teddy hugs and the warmest of smiles.

Day 6 of 7 of a writing challenge. Inspired by a visit to Caffe Bearista in the Santitham area of Chiang Mai. Such a lovely place for open air coffee, inspirational chat with a friend, writing and Teddy Bears.

I’d love to know your thoughts and feelings about this short story, leave a comment down below.

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