The Heart of a Ripped Valentines Chia Plushie
Also by lovemycat17
Time moves so slowly. Too slowly when you are a plushie, small and ripped, leaking stuffing, missing limbs, abandoned on a shelf in a cold and dark storeroom. No light enters the windowless room, no way to mark the days, to separate the days from night.
The only interruption to the bleak despair is the sporadic entrance of an aging Bori. He holds his torch up high, illuminating the rows of broken toys, scrutinizing each one, peering deep into the eyes of those with faces (faces whose blankness masks the hopeful hearts within—the hope that this time I will be the chosen one). The red Bori rubs his scruffy chin, raking claws through his snowy beard, and chooses one of the broken toys – not a plushie this time; a purple Mynci puppet whose strings and limbs are tangled in a confused morass, a challenge for a master fixer.
The Bori leaves, Mynci puppet under his arm, closing fast the door. No light enters the cold and dark storeroom, but while he works, the Bori sings under his breath. The tune that reaches the abandoned toys tells of mountains and snow and the Bori who slept in the heart of that mountain. The song is long, as befits its epic subject, and the hopeful theme encourages those who wait; the toys, broken and ripped, long abandoned, can imagine they are the Bori, long suffering, awaiting their chance to rejoin the living.
The song is over, leaving silence. The silence joins the cold and the dark, the three points on the trident of the storeroom’s torment, the silence that the toys cannot bear. Toys are made for loving and being loved. They yearn for the chime of children’s laughter, the ringing witness to joy complete. Toys that are denied their recompense must amuse themselves, and to amuse, some will be cruel.
When the silence stretches to an unbearable length, the toys more broken in spirit than in form begin to circle; circle like Jetsams on the hunt. A lonely plushie, small and ripped, leaking stuffing and missing limbs, long abandoned to its fate, makes an easy target. A Hissi slithers out of its broken box and is soon joined by a ripped Kass plushie and a wind-up Tonu; the bullies of the storeroom. They advance on the lonely plushie and begin their routine ridicule.
“Look at you,” jeers the Hissi. “It looks like someone didn’t love their Valentines Chia Plushie very much.”
“Thrown out with the trash, were you?” asks the Tonu. “At least I was brought in to be fixed. I know someone will be coming for me. But not for you.”
“How long has it been for you?” the Kass taunts. “No one remembers when you came, so you must be the oldest toy here. How long has it been since your child ripped off that leg? Pulled off your eye? How much longer do you think the fixer will keep you here?”
The scorn continues, the verbal barbs, the broken toys circling and jabbing with their contumely remarks, but the lone plushie makes no response. Neither word nor even sigh escapes his mouth, the permanent frown of hanging threads. One last insult before they slink away, “Do not pretend you do not care. You wear your broken heart on your sleeve... and on your back, and on your leaking legs, ha ha ha.” Slinking off in search of an easier mark, one with the will to object, one that will fill the silence of the cold and dark storeroom with its protestations.
Time moves so slowly, but move it does. The cold and dark, the silence of the storeroom is broken by the door swinging open and the entrance of the old Bori, torch in hand, dispelling the shadows, illuminating the broken toys, the blank faces of those with faces, warming the hearts of those who still dare to hope. The torch passes in front of row after row of fatally broken toys and pauses in front of a lone Chia plushie, small and ripped, leaking stuffing and missing limbs. The red Bori rubs his scruffy chin, raking claws through his snowy beard, a beard grown longer than the toys remember, and picks up the ripped plushie. Turning it over in his practised hands, he snorts and nods to himself, and placing the plushie under his arm, he leaves the storeroom, closing fast the door, taking with him the light, the warmth, the hope.
The master fixer places the plushie on his workbench and attaches the torch to its sconce. As he reaches for his sewing kit, he begins to sing, an ancient ballad, an epic tale, of the mountain, the snow, the Bori sleeping, frozen there in time. He sings of villains, the Bringer of the Night, and the hero, the young Bori who defied his fate. As he sings, a needle flashes in the torch’s light, glinting like an icicle as it passes through the plushie’s tattered body. And then silence fills the workshop. The Bori lifts the plushie and turns it in his hands. He snorts and nods to himself, another job completed.
The Bori places the plushie on a shelf behind the workbench. No longer ripped, no longer leaking stuffing or missing limbs, eyes and mouth restored to affable grin, the spark of hope gasps back to life, deep within the plushie’s fleecy marrow, threatening to melt a frozen heart.
The bell above the Repair Shop’s door jingles the cheerful announcement that customers have arrived. The Bori turns from his workbench to greet the two who enter; a mother and daughter, the latter holding a broken Fuzzie Bear, shaking voice betraying the hopeful words, “Can you fix her? Please?”
The Bori smiles kindly as he gently takes the bear from the young Nimmo’s shaking hands. His turns the ripped toy in his practised hands, and rubs his scruffy chin, raking claws through his snowy beard. With a snort and a nod to himself, he leans toward the young girl and says, “You leave your friend here with me, and I’ll see if I can fix it fer ya. How does that sound?” He turns toward the mother, a well-dressed Uni who appears lost in thought as she stares at a Valentines Chia Plushie, proudly beaming from its place on the shelf behind the workbench.
When she realises that the Bori is watching her, the Uni blushes and explains, “I had a toy just like that when I was little. I got it one Valentine’s Day, and it was my favourite plaything for years and years. Oh how I loved it! I took it everywhere with me and slept with it every night. I’m afraid that I loved it so much that the poor thing ripped and began to lose its stuffing. One eye rubbed right off and the mouth began to hang, my poor, sad, little funnyface.” She pauses and smiles at an unspoken remembrance, but then the smile disappears and frown lines appear between her large, brown eyes. Turning to the Bori, she says, “One day I came home from Neoschool and my mother told me that she had thrown out my plushie, that it was beyond repair. Oh, how I cried!” After a pause of remembered grief, the Uni brightens as she asks, “Tell me, are any of these toys for sale?”
The Bori scrutinizes the Uni’s hopeful face as he answers, “Not everything here is for sale. For some toys I am more caretaker than shopkeeper. When a match is made, I do not stand in the way. Take the plushie. It is more yours than mine.”
Tears of grateful joy stand in the Uni’s eyes as she receives the Valentines Chia Plushie, reawakening the pure child’s love deep in her heart. As they leave the Toy Repair Shop, she shares the stories, the epic adventures, of her childhood with her daughter, the daughter who listens with eyes wide, the one who understands.
The old Bori takes the torch from its sconce and approaches the door to the storeroom, bringing with him the promise of light and warmth and hope.
And so, you might ask of me, the witness, the watcher, the narrator, you might ask, “Are you saying that this is the same Valentines Chia Plushie? That a broken toy, once discarded, was later found by a master fixer? That it was stored on a shelf for many years? That it was repaired just in time for the child, now grown, to discover it on a Toy Repair Shop’s shelf?”
I can only answer, “Does it matter?”
The tale is true and the effect the same whether the coincidence be great or small.
Time moves so slowly, but the lonely heart, the sleeping Bori, the suppressed childhood; all can be awakened with light and hope and warmth; the essence of the child’s plaything. The heart of a Valentines Chia Plushie, whether ripped or whole, reflects back the light and warmth shone into it.
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