Well, I told him… “Soon, I promise, after I finish the one I’m working on…”
So this idea of a Distinguished story has rolled around in my head…probably would make a nice illustrated children’s book, watercolors, saturated and sweet…he’s such a heart breaker with those googly eyes and that pink curler mouth…and those floppy green felt hands and feet…and of course, the blue fur, he’s very soft. So my imagination has been working on it…then one night while driving home from work in a summer storm I latched onto an image…
It was a downpour. I saw an old throw pillow caught in a rain gutter. Sad thing, face down, it’s plain blue back bent, vulnerable. I felt sorry for it. Imagine that, it’s a curse that I live with, because I can imagine that—and anything.
In my mind, I traded the throw pillow for one of my teddy bears—that’s sad.
Or what if it was my blue fuzzy fellow, Distinguished. That’s even sadder. To think of his blue fur soaking wet, his wide staring eyes pressed into the asphalt—or the iron grate of the rain gutter, along with the road grit, oily residue of cars, and the random residue of people. I didn’t have hope for the throw pillow being rescued, but I had a thin slice of light that a small child would beg to go back to get “that Blue thing” on the side of the road because it looked—important—special—or something Good. It needs help. A young girl with curiosity, attracted to the color blue—her favorite color. She’d turn him over with a stick at first. See the pink hair curler for a mouth, the ping-pong ball eyes, staring up at her, bewildered by his predicament. Hopeful. The stick cast aside, hands lifting him up, squeezing him to get the worst of the water out. He can go into the wash machine in the gentle cycle, oh yes, he can tumble in the dryer—it would be a new adventure. A sharpie can touch up his scuffed eyes. He’d be good as new.
That tiny sliver of hope for rescue gave me relief that should I ever leave this world, Distinguished will be looked after. Someone will love him. Someone will squeeze him tight when she needs comfort, or if he needs reassurance—because he does sometimes—the world can be too much even for a blue fuzzy critter stuffed with fluff. After all, he’s just a lost little fellow from a planet of blue furry critters, our world confuses him most of the time, but he’s happy to be here. He knows hugs are important.
I’m a firm believer that toys have life as long as they’re loved, I learned that trick a very long time ago.