Three Best Friends by Loren
Artwork by MKFlood at FanArtReview.com
Morning light filtered through the attic window of a three-story Victorian home.
Ellie, a cotton-stuffed elephant with a purple scarf wrapped over a small tear on her right front leg and a red blanket crocheted over her gray back, opened her black-pearl eyes and smiled.
"Is it morning?" a voice from a dusty shelf above her head asked.
Ellie padded her way to the window and looked down into the yard. "Yes," she answered. "And today, we're going to go looking for Tommy."
"It has been a week. Do you think he knows he's lost?" the voice asked.
Ellie looked up to see a brown sock monkey with grayish face and red, felt hat staring vacantly into the room. Mickey, as he was called, was missing his eyes and couldn't see.
"That's why we must go looking for him, to find out." Ellie said.
"Maybe, we're lost," Mickey replied. "And Tommy doesn't know it yet. Like our time in the garden and he didn't even know we were not there until he couldn't find us. " His voice turned sad. "Do you think he misses us, Ellie?"
Ellie glanced out the window to see Tommy running through the hedge into a park adjacent to their home. He was carrying a baseball mitt and bat. "Perhaps," she answered. "But it does seem odd his father bringing us up here without saying a word."
"Since I lost my eyes, my hearing is very keen and I do remember what sounded like Mrs. Smith crying downstairs. I don't know why, though."
His voice brightened. "Maybe it's a game of hide-and-seek Mr. Smith is playing between us and Tommy." Micky smiled, remembering. "We always had such fun playing hide-and-seek."
"Perhaps," Ellie answered again.
"But before we look for him," Micky said, "can we go to the sewing room first? You know, to find some new eyes for me? It will help me search for him." Mickey placed his hands to his face and laughed "I remember Tommy putting his sunglasses on me when my eyes came loose and I lost them. Do you remember that, Ellie?"
Ellie nodded. "Yes, I do remember, and I think the sewing room will be a good place to start. I'm sure we'll find two beautiful round buttons to stitch to your handsome face."
"And a stitch to replace that bandage on your leg. It was purple, wasn't it? I can remember the color because I could see back then. You seemed so proud when Tommy tied it on your leg."
"Yes, Tommy and I were playing war in the backyard. I got wounded on a bramble and Tommy said I should wear the scarf as a badge of honor for helping him fight the enemy." She paused. "No, I don't want the bandage replaced."
Ellie moved beneath the ledge where Mickey sat, his feet dangling expectantly. "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 are." Mickey laughed. And, bravely, and without a moment's pause, he pushed himself off to land safely on Ellie's well-padded back.
Moments later, with Ellie leading the way, they found an air vent in the floor; and with Mickey's nimble fingers and Ellie's strong trunk, they removed the outlet and plunged down into the sewing room below.
And, as it happened, they landed squarely into a basket of buttons - quite expectedly, the contents of the basket rolled noisily over the wooden floor.
"Shss" Ellie admonished.
Mickey nodded as Ellie began her search for new eyes for her friend.
Quite soon, Ellie had found what she'd been looking for and quickly sewed two buttons to Mickey's face. When done, Mickey had one blue eye and one green.
Looking into a mirror, Mickey beamed at his new appearance. "How wonderful to see again," he exclaimed, never taking the least bit of notice that one button was larger than the other, and neither was placed exactly where it should have been.
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 soon heard footsteps out in the hallway. The door to the sewing room flew open and they saw Tommy looking as they had never seen him look before. Just as suddenly, he turned and raced down the hall into his room where he slammed the door behind himself.
Tiptoeing to his door, Ellie and Mickey could hear gentle sobs. To them, the door knob looked as far away as the moon.
"Maybe if I stand on your back," Mickey whispered, "I can use my tail as a crook and swing up to open the door."
Ellie agreed and soon they were in the room to see their seven-year old friend lying upon his bed. His head was buried in his pillow and his bat and glove lay carelessly on the floor.
Together as one, they jumped upon the bed; and, as natural as breathing, Tommy's arms reached out to cuddle them. In the late morning sun, sleep overtook the three friends as surely as it had done so many times before.
As Tommy continued to sleep, Ellie and Mickey awoke and stole back to the sewing room. With scotch tape and cardboard, they repaired the damage to the window as best they could. And, with yarn as a broom, they swept and cleaned away the broken shards of the mirror to drop into a dustbin.
Time, between friends, is seamless. Each day's an adventure and eleven years is but a single, flawless moment.
On a shelf in Tommy's room, Ellie and Mickey now sat among baseball trophies and silk award ribbons carefully placed next to a famed high-school diploma. Silently, they watched as Tommy packed his clothes into a suitcase.
They followed his eyes wondering what he must think of them --- two cotton-stuffed toys with glints of old, broken mirrored shards in their pelts. A crocheted elephant with a purple scarf tied around her leg and a sock monkey with unmatched eyes.
Suddenly, Mr. Smith's voice boomed up from downstairs. "Better hustle, Tom. It's getting late and the train's not going to wait for you."
Tommy's eyes misted as he closed his suitcase and looked around his room. Maybe it was the way the sun was streaming through the window that morning, but it was hard to tell exactly where his eyes finally came to rest.
Yet, as their hearts beat rapidly beneath their weathered coverings, Ellie and Mickey were certain they were fixed on them.
"I'm going to miss you two most of all," he whispered.
Tommy picked up his suitcase, turned quietly, and left the room.
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