Morning light filtered through the attic window. Ellie, a cotton-stuffed elephant with a purple bandage covering a small hole on her right front leg and a red blanket covering her grey crocheted back, opened her black-pearl eyes and smiled.
“Is it morning?” a voice from a dusty shelf above her head said.
Ellie padded her way to the window and looked down into the yard. “Yes,” she answered. “And today, we go looking for Tommy.”
“It’s been three months, does he know he’s lost?” the voice asked.
Ellie looked up to see a brown sock monkey with grayish face and red felt hat staring blankly into the room. Mickey, as he was called, was missing his eyes and couldn’t see. “I don’t think so,” she said thoughtfully.
“Maybe, we’re lost,” Mickey replied. “And Tommy doesn’t know it yet. Like our time at the zoo and he didn’t even know we were gone until he couldn’t find us. Maybe he just forgot us like then.”
Ellie glanced out the window to see Tommy running through the hedge into the adjacent park, carrying a baseball mitt and bat. “Maybe,” she answered.
“But first the sewing room to find some eyes.” Mickey placed his hands to his face. “Tommy put his sunglasses on me when my eyes came loose and I lost them on our fishing trip. Remember?”
Ellie nodded, remembering their adventure. “Yes, and the sewing room will be our first stop. Two beautiful brown buttons stitched to your handsome face.”
“And a stitch to replace that bandage on your leg.”
“No, none for me. Tommy put this on me in the backyard while playing war. He said I should wear it proudly; and, I do.” She moved under Mickey’s ledge. “Now scoot yourself to the edge of your shelf and push yourself off. I will be beneath to catch you. I promise.”
“I remember how fat and cuddly you were.” Mickey laughed. And, without a moment’s pause, he pushed himself off to land safely on Ellie’s well-padded back.
Minutes later, thru an air vent in the floor, they plunged down into the sewing room where they landed in a basket of buttons. The contents rolled noisily over the floor.
“Shss” Ellie admonished.
Mickey nodded as his friend searched the room for his new eyes.
When done, Mickey had one blue button and eye and one green one stitched in place. One was larger than the other, and neither was placed exactly where it should have been. Looking into a mirror however, Mickey could do nothing but beam.
Suddenly, there was a loud crash and tinkling of glass as something large and white sailed over their heads. It smashed into the mirror, breaking it into a thousand shards. A baseball rolled and came to a rest before their startled eyes.
Backing away, they heard footsteps out in the hallway and saw Tommy stop to look and then speed past them to his room to slam the door.
Tiptoeing to his door, they heard gentle sobs. The door knob looked as far away as the moon, but Mickey thought by standing on Ellie’s back and using his tail as a crook, he could probably open the door.
Coming into the room, they saw their seven-year old friend. His head was buried in his pillow and his bat and glove lay carelessly on the floor.
They jumped as one onto the bed. As natural as breathing, Tommy’s arms reached out to cuddle them. And, in the late morning sun, sleep overtook the three friends as surely as it had done so many times before.
As Tommy slept, Ellie and Mickey stole back to the sewing room. With scotch tape and cardboard, they repaired the damage as best they could. And, with yarn as a broom and ribbon as a dustpan, they swept and cleaned away the broken shards.
Time, for friends, is seamless. Each day’s an adventure and fifteen years is but a single, flawless moment.
Ellie and Mickey sat among baseball trophies, awards and a framed diploma on a shelf in Tommy’s room, listening as he talked to his fiancé on the phone.
They followed his eyes wondering what he must think of them – an elephant with a purple bandage and a monkey with unmatched eyes, both with glints of old broken shards in their pelts. Suddenly, Tommy’s eyes misted.
“I’m glad you understand,” he whispered into the phone. “They were my first best friends and I could never really leave them behind.”
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