Where It All Began…

The new year has begun, which means that I’m finally going to take the advice of my herd and start writing. We’ve all been through so many adventures already, and the adventures don’t seem to be stopping. Who would want them to? I would have never guessed that such a life exists for a toy!

I supposed, then, I should start with introductions. My name is Icarus. When I first got it, it seemed a little strange. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. Being a pony, I was expecting something like, “Blackie,” or, “Midnight,” or, “Prince Glitterhooves” (hey, I’ve heard some of the names that toys are called, and that’s not outside the realm of them). Icarus was definitely not in my top five, and it took me a little while to get used to it.

Turns out, Icarus is a character from Greek mythology (I learned a lot about mythology from my person. Who’d guessed, right?). Icarus was the son of Daedalus, who was this amazing inventor and mathematician, and in general pretty cool guy who kept getting into all kinds of trouble from all of these kings. Basically, he and his son were imprisoned, and he decided the only way to get out was to fly across the sea. Pretty cool, right? He built these amazing wings for him and his son, and they flew, but Icarus flew too close to the sun, and the wax holding the wings together melted away, and he felt into the sea.

Not exactly the happiest of stories, but it’s a Greek myth, so what can you expect from it? Anyway, when my person first gave me the name, I thought it was a little strange. I’d never heard of it, but the name stuck. I am Icarus, the little pony who flew too close to the sun. Now I sound a little cynical, don’t I?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot from my person. She loves mythology and history and stories, and I’ve learned to, as well. I mean, I’m writing one, right? It was a little bit of a shock to get used to her, though.

I like my person. She’s short, for a human, and a little rounder than normal (but she’s working on that, so we don’t say anything), but also she’s fun and adventurous. And she chose me. Most toys want to be purchased for a child. We get to be played with, we get to be loved and adored, and we get to have adventures. Adults don’t seem to know how to do that with toys, not really. Or maybe just not as often. That’s what I had wanted, when I’d first showed up at the toy store. I wanted a child to play with me. Hey, I’ve seen Toy Story. The toy struggle is real.

See, I’m from Ireland, originally. Dublin to be exact. I was from this little toy store on the north side. When I was unpacked, there was a small kiosk with other ponies and animals. Some looked like me, but the others didn’t. The toy store was nestled away on a corner by the movie theatre, and I could see and hear people walking to and fro, their voices a blurred chorus of usually happy noise. Inside, there were walls with dolls, and toy guns, and Legos. There were a lot of Legos.

It was a quiet place, the peace broken occasionally by the pitter-patter of children and their delighted squeaks and squeals as they picked their new toy. I watched them come in and pick up toys, the little ones’ eyes filled with joy and wonder and desire. I loved watching them. Sometimes their parents seemed to take joy in the new toys, too, but sometimes it seemed more like a chore for them. I always wondered why that was. How could anyone not be excited about getting a toy?

The other foals and I would talk about the kids that we would get. Would it be a little girl dreaming of being a princess, would it be a cowboy, would we be space ponies? The possibilities seemed endless, and more and more I found that all I wanted to be with a child, any child. It started as nervous energy whenever a child would walk in. Would this be the moment? Would this be my new family? It was hard to tell, but all of us colts felt that way. We’d get jittery.

Time passed, and nervous energy gave way to longing. I wanted to know what the other toys were doing. Were they in space? Had they gone to another planet yet? I tried to imagine what the inside of a messy bedroom looked like, and how my stable might be under a bed. Would I ever be covered in spaghetti? Would I ever play in a bathtub?

Outside, the weather turned from bright, summer sunlight to the grey of winter. Rain fell in icy sheets against the window, and it was harder and harder to see the people as they passed by the store. Inside, I felt like I was losing everything. How could I have not found my family yet?

I promise, this story has a happy ending.

Inside the store, we watched the workers start putting up decorations. Wreaths and ornaments appeared, turning the bright, little store into a glittering alcove. Amongst the shelves, rumors began to spread of a holiday called Christmas that was coming. Christmas was a golden light among us. People would buy toys for children for presents, would buy more toys for their stockings, would buy more toys to pacify other children. That meant that we’d all be getting a home. We’d all be finding families.

And that’s about the time that my person walked in. It was the beginning of December, and it was a grey day, but there wasn’t any rain. She walked in, and she looked lost. Her eyes were tired, and she didn’t seem like she belonged, not really. Still, she looked around. The shop keep and her didn’t talk, and I wondered if he was curious about her as I was. I mean, she wasn’t a little kid, but she looked like she needed something. Like she was somehow incomplete.

After a few moments, her eyes settled on our kiosk. Her blue eyes surveyed us, a hint of amusement showing from the way her lips curled at the tips into a smile. She looked at all of us, and then, quick as a whip, grabbed me and hurried to the cash register.

I had thought, back when the other colts and I fantasized, that I might be leaving with another. It probably wouldn’t be another colt like me (after all, how many Lipizzaner colts does one child need?), but surely another, maybe a Clydesdale, or a Shire, or maybe a pony (a real pony, like a Fell or a Shetland. We all know what we are. Horses, like cats, always know). But she whisked me away, like I was all she needed.

I was put in a little, plastic bag and we left. That was that. I was nervous. As much as I had wanted to be part of a family, now I had even more questions. My person seemed pretty young, definitely not older than mid-twenties, and she seemed lonely. We walked a long time, and I grew worried. Where were we going? The weather was cold; I could feel that, even in my bag. After a while, we entered a courtyard, and I could tell we were getting close. It was the way she walked: she picked up the pace, eager to get out of the weather. I didn’t blame her: the rain in Dublin can be a little unpredictable, and she, as far as I could tell, was only wearing the hoodie. Not very much protection.

We entered a building, with white walls and no noise. I wondered, for a moment, if it was a hospital, but it didn’t smell right. Together, we entered the elevator. It rumbled a little bit, and I could tell we were going really high up. The elevator dinged, and we stepped out into another white hallway, followed by another, and then, at last, a white room. Carefully, she reached into the bag and removed me, and I liked what I saw. She smiled her little smile, and then set me on her desk, which wrapped around the room and was covered in books, rocks, and shells. The walls were decorated with posters and a giant map of Ireland, and nestled in one corner was a bed, made but a little messy.

My person tucked me away, and for a little while, I lived in that room, where I could see out the window. We were five stories up, so I had a great view of the Liffey River, and the O2 Stadium, and all the glittering buildings in between. The room was warm and cozy, and my curiosity peaked. Along the way, I had wondered if my person might have a child she was delivering me to, but now I had doubts. Still, I was curious. What was an adult going to do with me?

I learned a lot in that little room. We were in the heart of Dublin, on the south side, at the edge of Trinity College. My person studied history at the college, but she was also a writer, and loved to read. Soon, she added friends for me: a little statue of Anubis, Guide of the Dead, and a little unicorn named Starlight. She also had a stuffed unicorn called EverSea who looked over everyone. EverSea was beautiful: sea-foam green, she was gentle and caring, and told us stories of the desert where my person lived. Turns out my person was a student studying abroad. At the end of the school year, we’d be moving.


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