“Mom, are you for real right now?”
Klay Thompson was steaming, pacing in his room, an empty plastic tub, next to his bed. His mom had just told him that she sold all his old Beanie Babies in her latest garage sale and he was furious. He flung the top of the tub out his window and it floated like a Frisbee till it scraped to a landing in the driveway.
“Those were, like, my friends,” said Thompson, “Come on, dude.”
Thompson had come home for Mother’s Day and gone into his old bedroom only to find his most prized possessions, his Beanie Babies, no longer there.
“Now, sweets, I’m sorry, but you were too attached to those things,” his Mom said, “Way more than an adult man should be.”
Thompson was face down, on the floor, pulling on the carpet out of frustration. He’d tried to make it home every weekend he could since he’d left for college so he could make sure that all was well with his Babies. He’d clean them, make sure their posture was true to the animals they represented, and, when it was time for bed, sing to them.
“Oh, so it’s weird that a guy cares about something, huh,” he said, “A guy actually cares about something so he must be a creep that can’t let go.”
“They’re for children, baby,” she said.
Thompson stopped writhing and tugging at the carpet and looked up at her. He pointed to his chest.
“They’re for the young at heart, Mom,” he said, “But it doesn’t matter now. You tossed my whole childhood in a box and sold it to some nobody without even asking me.”
She walked over and knelt down beside him. He was still face down. Placing her hand on his back, she scratched it. The Beanie Babies were no longer here for him, but she was. They sat there, the golden day fading out the second story window, the rays falling like checkerboard rectangles on his back.
He was calming himself. His anger had ripped from him his energy and now he was breathing heavily, trying to stop the room from spinning.
“I know you thought it was stupid,” he said, “But those were my friends. We moved so much…they were my friends.”
“I know, baby,” she said, “I know.”
She stood to wipe her tears as his soaked the carpet.
“Tell me you at least kept Patti, Mom,” he said, “Tell me you didn’t get rid of her.”
She stared back at him with sad, sorry eyes and he knew Patti the Platypus was gone, too.
“I’m sorry, baby,” she said.
He told her to get out and turned away from her, the dying sun failing in its attempt to warm him.
As she closed the door, she heard quiet sobs. Quiet, aching sobs and a single word. The name of his favorite Baby. Again and again, a single word.