Despite our best efforts to sacrifice our pasts for the sake of maturation, we never really forget our childhoods. Certain events and mementos remain sacred. They remind us of who we were, who we wanted to be, and who we can still be, especially if/when we’ve strayed from our paths or are concerned that we might be straying away. In this week’s update to “The Story,” let’s consider the childhood toys of John and Trishna.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character building through materialism)
John (center) didn’t have a stuffed animal when he was a child.
Rattled around various low income foster homes, he didn’t even have any personal objects for himself for years. The rattling slowed during a period when he was a student in Mr. Ebersole’s high school literature class. The stern teacher took him under his tutelage and taught him about life.
He also has a dog named Danke.
Danke is Mr. Ebersole’s wife’s dog.
Maybe she passed away or left him. Either way, he lives a quiet life in his 1-bedroom “library” apartment with Danke. John lives with Mr. Ebersole during a rough week or so, and his primary responsibility is to take care of Danke. Before John moves away, he’s gifted a book and the realization that life is harsh.
But people aren’t always harsh.
John eventually begins chatting with Trishna.
Talking with her via instant messenger, and occasionally via payphone with her and her family, is like the mud being washed off this plush animal. Psychologically washing off negative experiences takes time. Even when it appears to be clean, there is still untold amounts of grime. She opens up about her own experiences being bullied.
Her parents give him much-needed parental guidance.
Trishna collects stuffed animals.
When she goes out to thrift stores or other gift shops, she may get a small plush toy. Her childhood toy is a yellow elephant named Haathee [हाथी]. Haathee is Trishna’s sacred object and she consults ‘her advice’ whenever life becomes too challenging or she can’t quite explain what she’s feeling to anyone else.
Especially being a teenager. Even having a supportive family around.
Trishna shares these personal feelings with John.
While walking to the payphone to call Trishna, he finds a stuffed animal laying face down in mud and grime. He collects the poor little thing and asks Trishna for advice. Between water, soap, and drying time, the plush begins to ‘come to life,’ so to speak, “like a rescue dog.”
John names the plush Danke to remember Mr. Ebersole’s dog.
John begins to imbue positive thoughts into the plush.
He encounters difficult hardships in the year before meeting Trishna. He preserves mainly thanks to her moral support. When they do finally meet, his first action is to gift Danke to Trishna as a show of gratitude. At first, she tearfully refuses, because she values Danke as John’s sacred object too much to want to take it away from him.
Instead, Danke joins Haathee’s sacred space as cohabitant.
Quotes:  A buddy, after seeing the photo progress.
Inspirations: I found this 6″ Russ plush animal of Dinkie the Dog in a thrift store parking lot recently. I found this Eeyore plush in a post-garage sale free bin a few years ago.
Photos: As a sidenote, Dinkie had been moved between when I entered and left the thrift store. I took the photo, here cropped for detail, before taking him in the plastic bag. I wanted to share that trivial thought because I don’t like staging photos when at all possible.