From the bottom of the bin
The bottom of the bin—that’s where I had lived for months. My girl didn’t want me anymore since my eye rolled back into my head and got stuck there. I was permanently looking up with one open eye. So, she brought me somewhere called Country Neighbor. After years as her favorite companion, she dumped me. She had painted my plastic nails and lips a dull maroon color, and gave me birth-marks in red and black marker. All of that fuss to later just leave me…
Lots of other kids dug me out from the bottom of the bin, but they all threw me back as soon as they saw my broken eye. I would eventually be buried back at the bottom of the bin, as other less-deformed reject-toys were adopted. Then one day, she found me.
She was much smaller than my last girl, and had long, disheveled, black hair. She pulled me out by my leg and held me up. As I prepared for another rejection, she held me up in the bright sunshine—I hadn’t seen it for a while; there was snow falling when my last girl dumped me. She held on to my too-big pants and shirt that used to belong to my last girl’s baby brother. She closely examined my face, and picked and poked at my rolled-back eye. Then she surprised me—wearing a smile that scrunched her nose and showed all of her teeth, she giggled and hugged me tightly. She ran over to her mom, held me up and asked, “Can I take him home?” and her mom said yes!
She called me GarDin, a name made up just for me, and she brought me everywhere. When we took our baths she would wash my painted-on, reddish-brown hair as she, too, got her hair washed. We would play in the dirt together, read together, and nap together. We were inseparable.
When her baby brother arrived, she clung to me even tighter. She didn’t want a baby brother, and I didn’t want her to play with a different baby. But she was sad that she had to share her mom with a new baby. I told her that it would be okay, we could still play together, and I would never replace her with a new girl.
After her brother was born, we started going to a babysitter named Jamie. Jamie was a large woman with a big bottom that was reminiscent of a horse rump. We couldn’t help but notice this—it was, unfortunately, right at our eye level. Jamie had a strange obsession with cows and clowns. All of her towels and housewares were cow-print, and her shelves and tables were all covered with clown dolls. My girl brought me along to be babysat most of the time, until the day Jamie’s son got a hold of me.
He snatched me from her hands and brought me into their kitchen where he grabbed a knife and plunged it repeatedly into my plastic chest. My girl stood helplessly, screaming and crying, but she couldn’t do anything, and Jamie didn’t stop him… Then he found a staple gun and put three staples in me—one by my shoulder, another in my stomach, and the third in my back. He laughed while he tried to destroy me, and my girl cried.
Later, when my girl’s mom came to get us, Jamie told her, “Aaron put holes in Devastasha’s baby doll. I’m sorry; he’s being punished.” But we knew she wasn’t really sorry; she was in her bedroom, surrounded by her porcelain clowns, watching Jerry Springer when it happened.
My girl stopped bringing me to Jaime’s apartment after that incident. I stayed at home with her cat and other toys while I waited for her to get home. She always hugged me extra tightly after being at Jamie’s. I think Aaron continued to torture her in that bizarre, cow-printed, clown-filled apartment. Now, when we bathed or swam together, water would drain out from my stab wounds. My girl’s mom was able to remove two of the three staples from my body, but one remained in my stomach.
Christmases and birthdays brought new toys and baby dolls. She would play with them for a week or two, but I remained her favorite, her very best toy. Even though the other dolls had two working eyes, spoke if you squeezed their bellies, or smelled soft and warm like lavender and baby powder, I was still loved the most. Perhaps all of my defects are what made me her favorite. Perhaps a three-year-old doesn’t see defects. Perhaps a three-year-old can see that everyone needs a friend to pull them out of the bottom of the bin and hold them in the sunshine, exposing all of their ugliness and loving them anyway. Or perhaps she learned that from me.