Today's Tom Sawyer
Who knows what goes through a child's mind? All we can be sure about is how they'll love these toy and blanket combos.
The bunny catches my eye first. The purpley-pink and the green are just effervescent together. The sort of bright colors adults learn to hate, but us kids are born to love.
Of course, Tyler sees it too. So it's either fighting… or subterfuge.
My strategy is one I learned from my studies of the insect kingdom that day Mommy let me sit in the back yard. The simple ant, less important than even my eldest sister, and yet, so very informative. One leads, the rest follow. And why not? For is it not the act of leading that assigns value to an object? Foolish are they who want what others own, for they are most easily led astray!
Tyler is occupied with his thumb. Now is the time. I move quickly at a toddle to take the orange and blue bear. I pull the Velcro apart; if astronauts could do it, surely I can. The microplush fiber feels soft against my cheek. I tug on the arms excitedly. There is no one in the world but me and this bear. Tyler begins to pay attention.
I am distant, I am solitary. I ignore the teacher as she calls "Ella, now, share with Tyler!" This bear is my destiny, we are bound together. There is nothing but me and the bear.
Tyler begins to advance at a crawl.
I make eye contact. I start to cry. I clutch the bear closer to me. This bear is everything. This bear is all I have ever wanted. Tyler drops before me and takes the arm of the bear. I howl, the microplush slipping from my grasp.
"Now, Ella!" says the teacher, picking me up. "There are plenty of toys! Here, don't make a fuss. Let Tyler play with the Elegant Baby Baby Blanket & Toy Bear. You can sit here, and play with the Monkey, or the Elephant, or-"
Or the Bunny, teacher? Behind her dull educator's eyes, there is a flash of clarity, perhaps. But too late. I have my purpley-pink and green friend, and Tyler feels a sense of victory. He covets not my prize, and I have no interest in his. All is quiet. And if the teacher understands my methods, she does not believe me capable of such formulation.
All for the best.