Haltingly, the man had walked into the shop, eyes searching. It was somewhat of an oddity, for they always came with their younglings in tow. I could feel the excitement around me, for I had once known the feeling. For those around me, it was the same every time: ‘Will it be me?’. For me, it was indifference. I knew i wouldn’t be chosen. Disillusionment had come swiftly. Every time, some child’s scanning eyes passed me by, they’d take on an expression of… distaste. Over time, I’d come to know well that expression.
Those eyes of his were different, as they came to rest on me. They lingered, passed me by, and again came back to me. Indecision, and a slight confoundment flitting through his features.
And then, ‘I’ll take him’.
I could hear a child’s voice, dripping with anticipation, from the other side of the wrapping.
‘Whom did you bring for me, babaii? Is it xxxxx? Or xxxxxx?’
Chortling, the man’s voice: ‘You know those names confound me silly, Gigil. But he seemed a fierce enough fellow to me. See for yourself.’
Sounds of unwrapping. Then, as my sight adjusted to the light, the face of a child, looking down at me with growing dismay.
A flabergasted: ‘Why? What of him?’.
‘Don’t you know? He’s xxxxxx. I’ll be laughing stock among my friends for having him!’ The last, drawn out into a prolnged wail.
The argument had gone on for a while, until the exasperated father had put a lid on it with a few curt words.
In the end, unboxed i was, and played with as well. Though it was not with excitement, but rather a zeal bent upon making one single point: I was not wanted.
Countless games, countless encounters, all ending with a similar note: me being vanquished. Being pelted by ballistics, being shot, drowning, falling off a cliff: every misfortune an imaginative child’s mind could concoct, was visited upon me.
I was chasing one of my owner’s favoured playthings, and i knew well it was to turn to an ambush. Years had passed and i knew well the young one’ s games by now. The chase was almost at an end when there was a snapping sound. The next thing i knew, one half of me was looking at the other half, lying a feet away. Not surprising, given the rough usage i had seen.
What did surprise me, was my owner’s wails of despair. Clutching my halves in each hand, he was inconsolable. The father came, his expression of mild consternation as i well remembered from the first day. Promises were made, and kept. An hour under the father’s dextrous hands, and i was whole again. And the child smiled. I had been broken in half, gone was the gleam of newly minted plastic, my limbs flailed about, as if those of a marionette with broken strings, i had seen much worse wear than his other playthings. Yet, i realized, he’d come to love best the one who suffered in silence all the indignities piled upon him.
The child is a man now, returning home once in a blue moon. And whenever he spots me nestled among his other playthings, his smile holds warmth. And i am content.
Blogger’s Note: This post is dedicated to Cobra Commander, the only toy i ever broke. Broke my heart along with it.