I ended a little abruptly last week, and realized I’d left out some fairly critical details. Let’s face it: an adult buying a toy for decoration is strange, but not unheard of. It doesn’t make for much of a story, though. Why would an adult buy a toy? Why would she take said toy all the way back to her dorm, and leave it on a shelf, surrounded by freezing cold rocks, shells, and books? Okay, the rocks, shells, and books were pretty cool, but that’s a little beyond the point.
Remember how I said my person was the creative type? Well, I was destined to be part of that. See, the kiosk that I had originally lived in had these really pretty pictures of us toys in natural settings. There was a frog on a lily pad, a few horses in a grassy pasture, and a lion on a rock. Well, my person looked at the pictures and thought, “How fun is that! I could do that.” And in a rush, I was bought.
The idea was great, but the camera that she had couldn’t take the pictures. I’m small for my breed, and it had a hard time focusing on me (okay, I suppose this might be an inside joke. Lipizzaners average between 14 to 15 hands tall; I’m 3 inches tall, so I’m not even a full hand). My point is that the camera couldn’t do what my person wanted it to do, so the project was put on hold for a bit.
Not that it diminished my adventurous spirit. If nothing else, it made me want it more. EverSea (the beautiful sea-green unicorn) had been all over. While in Ireland, she was taken with my person to Italy, where she went to Naples to see Pompeii. She went on a cruise this last year to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. Am I jealous? Yes, yes I am. Still, her tales were what I was interested in, and they’re what kept me going. EverSea told us about going to California to see Disneyland, and going to Chicago, and traveling around New Mexico.
Truthfully, I was a little nervous about moving. I mean, come on: born and raised in Ireland. Did I really want to go to a desert? I was used to seeing green as far as the eye could see (okay, that’s an exaggeration: I was in the heart of Dublin, where there was a green aura around the city, but mostly I could see shiny buildings and the Liffey…). Desert, though: desert is completely different. All I could picture were tan dunes as far as the eye could see, and that wasn’t really appealing to me. Heat and plastic tend not to go well together.
I side-tracked just a little bit. In Dublin, I had a fun time in the dorm. The dorm was pretty quiet, truthfully, and with all the books, it reminded me of a library (or what I imagined a library to be). My person liked traveling around Dublin Bay, so there were always new stones, fossils, shells, and other, natural souvenirs that she collected during her adventures. I dreamt of the places she’d go. The stones smelt of moist dirt and the salty sea, and the shells had the rhythm of the ocean pounded into their very fiber. All of these things, which might have seemed small, were gigantic to me, and being positioned in the midst of them, I was able to get a taste of Ireland that my window didn’t afford me.
I was also positioned under the map in her room. Whenever she traveled somewhere, she’d highlight it on her map, so that I could see everywhere she’d gone. I longed to go with her to these places, but without a camera that could capture me in the pictures, it wasn’t going to happen.
While she was gone, the toys in the room would exchange stories. I had initially met EverSea, Anubis, and Starlight, and eventually my person added a little white tiger named Saskia (Sas for short). We were scattered around the room, but when no one was listening to us, so we could talk freely. EverSea regaled us with stories of travel and life on the farm, while Anubis would tell me what I was like while he was at the National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology. Anubis was from their Egyptian exhibit, and he could hear the talk of the patrons and the staff, and occasionally he could see into the museum itself. He also knew stories of Egypt, and would talk about the old myths and pharaohs. I could see why my person liked Egypt so much: it sounded very much like a land of adventure.
Starlight came from a little crystal store, and would talk to us about the dreams that patrons would tell the shop keepers (I just have to say: dreams are super weird! “I’m dreaming of a whale falling and suddenly it becomes a pot of petunias…” oh, wait, that might be a scene from Hitchhiker’s Guide).
Saskia’s stories I liked. They were about the animals at the Dublin zoo. I think they were more relate-able, in a surreal sort of way (I mean, let’s face it: I don’t have a lot of the same issues that a normal horse would have). She was good at making the animals come to life. Elephants, tigers, bears, otters: I could imagine them all, with all their hi-jinks, playing and feeling and being. (Sadly, to date, I still haven’t been to a zoo, but I’ve now been to a few aquariums.).
My friends made everything better. Knowing I was with them, I gradually came to accept my fate. I would be a desert horse, whether I wanted to or not. Fate sounds ominous. It wasn’t a choice. I went where my person wanted me to go.
At least while we were in Dublin I was able to spend quiet nights with her. My person tended to be fairly quiet. At night, she would either study or read, or more often she would go write. Sometimes she would spend hours writing, and I could always tell that she felt accomplished when she did this. She didn’t have a computer in her room, so she went across campus to write at a computer lab that she’d found, and when she got back, she’d seem exhausted but there was just an aura around her that was happy. This was important. When I’d first met her, I would have pegged her as homesick, but after she came back from winter break, it wasn’t homesick. She seemed lost, heart-broken. Her family was feuding in the worst of ways, and she wasn’t dealing with it well. Her stories, and us toys, made her feel better. We were helping her get through it.
You might think it’s silly, but a toy’s number one job is to help their person, no matter what. With little ones (children, not small toys), it’s not as difficult. Children are much more connected to the magic of toys, and we’re often confidants, counselors, and distractions from whatever life shoots at them. With adults, we can still be a distraction, and a comfort. The healing power of a hug goes a long way.
Again, trying to keep this lightweight, but stuff definitely happens in life, and I’ve learned there’s nothing to be done about it. My person was going through a rough patch, which meant that we were going through a rough patch. She still explored, but the early part of the year in Ireland is rainy and can be gloomy, so she didn’t go out as much. She read like reading was going out of style. She went through several books that were over 500 pages, and she would complete them in a matter of days. I worried about her. We all worried about her. But she trooped through, and we all knew what would happen when she was done with her studies: we were moving.
See, it all circles back to my fear of moving. My person was stressed and depressed and anxious, which wore off on us. We didn’t know if we wanted to move, but we certainly didn’t want our person like this. I hear people talk about moving like it’s a good thing: it’s a change of scenery, a change of pace, a change of faces. It’s always a change. Change isn’t always good, and we were nervous. EverSea assured us that it wouldn’t be a problem, but we weren’t sure. We liked our little dorm room, with the view of the Liffey. We liked the books and rocks and map, and even the Where’s Waldo poster that was hanging up in the hallway. We became jittery.
Little did we know, our fears were way exaggerated.