Christopher Robin Friend Requests the Residents of the Hundred Acre Wood.
BY RACHEL KLEIN
Pooh and Piglet and Rabbit and Owl and Tigger had all gathered together at the center of the Hundred Acre Woods for a Very Emportent Meeting. They knew it was Very Emportent because Rabbit had said so in the note he’d left on the Giant Oak Tree:
VERY EMPORTENT MEETING
OF CHRISTOPHER ROBIN’S FRIENDS AND
AKWAITENCES AQUAINTANCES OTHERS.
TOMORROW. 3 PM.
“Well,” Rabbit began at precisely three, as soon as it seemed as though all of the parties were there, “It seems as though all of the parties are here—“
“Except for Eeyore,” Piglet corrected him.
“Right. Yes, except for Eeyore, but I imagine he’ll be by, well, by and by, as it were. Anyway, we are here to discuss a certain incident that occurred last night. You see, I had already put on my slippers and was heading to bed with my cup of tea, when I thought I’d just check my Facebook feed one last time quickly before retiring.”
“A very good practice,” Owl said, nodding his head in agreement. Owl and Rabbit were almost always in agreement when it came to bedtime practices and social media.
“At any rate,” Rabbit continued, “there I was just checking to see if it was someone’s birthday tomorrow or whether Sheila had posted another picture of her new baby, when I saw something most curious—a friend request from Christopher Robin!”
“Me too! I got one too! Right around that time. I know because it’s just when my tumbly gets grumbly for a little humbly—I mean ‘hunny,’ to be precise,” Pooh said.
And everyone responded that yes, they, too, had gotten a friend request from Christopher Robin around midnight the previous night.
“It seems odd,” Rabbit went on, “that Christopher Robin should go and leave us, go off to school, to college, and whatnot, and—well, God only knows what he’s up to now, it’s been so very long—and suddenly, out of the blue, many years later, look us up on Facebook.”
“W-w-w-w-w-we were his bestest friends,” Piglet replied.
“Yes, but that was ages and ages ago. I mean, what has it been? Fifteen years?” Rabbit said, looking for agreement from someone in the group, but no one knew quite how long it had been. “He hasn’t been around in all that time. He didn’t even call when Tigger tore his ACL and was in physical therapy for half a year—“
“That was not a wonderful thing about Tigger,” Tigger shook his head, remembering.
“—or when Kanga had her miscarriage—“
“Poor Kanga,” sighed Pooh, and they all agreed that Kanga’s miscarriage was a sad thing but that Kanga had handled it quite well and seemed to know just what to tell Roo and that, overall, the experience had the effect of bringing everyone together, which Owl always said was a most emportent thing.
“But,” Pooh began again, trying to sort out in his head just what he thought of the whole situation. “But—perhaps maybe he just misses us?”
“Of course he misses us,” Owl replied. “But an empty gesture such as this? Why it hardly makes up for all the years of neglect. It’s as my cousin Norbert always says—“ Owl always had a cousin thus-and-such who had done or said whatnot which was most often a very sensible thing to have done or said,“—‘friends are people who are there even when things are not so fun.’”
“But Christopher Robin was the best friend a bear could have. Remember when he helped pull me out of Rabbit’s front door when I’d eaten too much hunny? Or when we made that grand parade in honor of Piglet?”
“Yes, Pooh, we all had fun times with Christopher Robin, but that was ages ago. Let me ask you this: did Christopher Robin call to congratulate you when you got that poetry chapbook published a few years ago?”
“Well, no, but, you see, he’s been quite busy, I assume, with school, and perhaps dating, or, he could be married, I suppose, or have children of his own—“
“That’s just the point, Pooh,” cried Rabbit. “We don’t know anything about what’s going on in Christopher Robin’s life, or he in ours, and to just—“
“Hallo?!” called a voice from across the clearing. It was Eeyore, coming to see what all the fuss was about.
As he approached Rabbit spoke: “Yes. Hallo, Eeyore. Good of you to come and such and so forth.”
“Hmph,” replied Eeyore. “If you’d wanted to make sure everyone knew about this gathering you could have sent an email or even a simple MMS. Not all of us spend our time walking about the woods looking for signs on trees.”
Rabbit ignored Eeyore’s complaint. “Eeyore, did you get a Facebook friend request from a certain boy who used to frequent these Woods?”
“You mean Christopher Robin? Sure did. I took one look at it and clicked ‘Ignore,’” Eeyore said, quite matter-of-factly.
“You did what?!” Pooh cried.
“But, Eeyore,” Piglet whimpered. “That was just what this meeting was about—to decide wh-wh-wh-wh-what and h-h-h-h-h-how to do with—I mean say to—I mean…but Eeyore!”
“No disrespecting what’s clearly a very Emportent Meeting,” Eeyore began, “but to me it’s simple: Christopher Robin left to do who-knows-what-and-where, and we stayed here. Both of our lives went on. The way I see it, Christopher Robin was feeling lonely and sad last night—maybe his girlfriend just dumped him, maybe he got rejected from the graduate program he was hoping to get in to. He’d probably been drinking, and he started getting wistful for days-gone-by, so he searched us all on Facebook and so-on-and-so-on and there we have it. Trust me, Christopher Robin is probably relieved I did it. He’s probably sitting in his apartment right now in a pair of ripped sweatpants, eating ice cream out of a tub and re-watching The Wire and thanking his stars he doesn’t have to actually still be friends with his old, mopey pal Eeyore.”
“What wire?” asked Pooh, trying to understand the last part of Eeyore’s story.
“Oh, it’s just a television show about how people’s petty concerns and the labyrinth of institutional bureaucracy make it almost impossible to effect positive systemic change,” sighed Eeyore.
“Is there bouncing in it?” Tigger asked.
“But this is all besides the point!“ Rabbit said irritably. “Or, it is precisely the point. That is—what do we do about Christopher Robin? Eeyore has already taken it upon himself to ignore the request, but that’s to be expected from him. Still, the question remains: what do we do? I suggest whatever it is, we all, Eeyore aside, do the same thing.”
At this they all fell very silent, and Tigger thought about the time when he taught Christopher Robin to bounce, and Owl thought about the time when Christopher Robin helped rebuild his house after the wind had knocked it over, and Piglet thought again about the parade, and Rabbit thought about how often he felt that he and Christopher Robin were the only sensible ones in the whole Hundred Acre Wood, and even Eeyore thought about when Christopher Robin helped him find his house. And Pooh thought how Christopher Robin had asked him to never forgot him, even when he went away and changed and grew up, which Pooh didn’t quite understand, but knew it had something to do with buying new clothes and not being able to come to the Hundred Acre Woods anymore.
And then another sort of thought came to Pooh, a thought he couldn’t quite explain, a sad sort of rainy day thought—and he thought and thought that thought until finally he said aloud, to no one in particular, “I really was quite proud of that chapbook, you know.” Then he opened the Facebook app on his iPhone, went to Christopher Robin’s request and tapped IGNORE.
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