Mona sat on her front stoop. She was attempting to find a cool summer breeze. Her apartment with its western exposure was a stifling hot box of hell, even with the air conditioner running on high. It just wasn’t comfortable. She decided there was enough shade on the front stoop now from the Maple tree along the parkway that she and her son Seth could find some relief. She watched her three year old son play with his stuffed teddy bear, “Thinky”.
Seth had long conversations with Thinky and it made Mona wonder if Seth was ok. She figured it was normal for little kids to have imaginary friends, or imbue toys with personalities, but Seth’s relationship with Thinky seemed different. It was as if Seth really believed Thinky was alive. She could hear the one side of Seth’s conversations with Thinky as they sat in the shade on the sidewalk.
“I’m not sure the English should have removed Winston after the major aggressions of WWII were over,” said Seth.
Although to Mona it sounded very different.
“I’m not a-gonna make-ah. No, no, no,” heard Mona.
Mona sat forward on the front stair and toward Seth. He was sitting cross armed in front of Thinky with a furrowed brow. She thought it was the look he had when he had to make a boom-boom.
“You have to go to the potty Sethy sweetie,” she asked.
Seth shook his head in the negative. Mona smiled and leaned back against the stairs. She was glad she didn’t have to take him to the potty because it was just too hot in that upstairs bathroom. The air conditioner just didn’t quite make it to the bathroom. Seth continued mumbling to Thinky.
“Because she’s my mother, that’s why dear boy,” said Seth.
“She really coddles you,” said Thinky.
“She does not. I may remember most of my past life but with this little baby body I’m hardly capable to take care of myself. Just ten minutes ago I had a nice cup of milk which I somehow managed to spill all over the damn place,” said Seth.
“Yeah. I saw that. That was funny,” said Thinky.
“It was not. I was terribly embarrassed,” said Seth.
A single cloud moved across the sky and blocked the bright summer sunshine for a moment.
“Ah, that feels glorious,” said Seth.
“I’m sure. I bet the air conditioner upstairs would feel nice too if you hadn’t jammed all those crayons in there,” said Thinky.
“It was science,” said Seth.
The cloud continued its march and soon the sun reappeared just as bright and powerfully hot as before.
“So, when you were in your past life, what did you believe would happen after you died,” asked Thinky.
“I certainly didn’t think I’d come back to
Jersey,” said Seth.
Thinky chuckled a little bit. It was had to tell when he was laughing considering the condition of his sewn shut mouth.
“I’m serious though. What did you really think,” asked Thinky.
“I thought I’d go to heaven. I thought I’d die and go to the bright clouds of heaven and live in the paradise as described to me all through my life,” said Seth.
“Yeah. That’s amazingly common,” said Thinky.
Seth scooted himself closer to Thinky and to stay in a little more of the shade from the maple tree.
“Common? Well, I guess it would be, what with the millions of Catholics and Christians on the planet. I can see how a lot of people would believe that,” said Seth.
Thinky nodded a little.
“So, what did you used to think,” asked Seth.
“I never thought I’d wind up as a stuffed animal. I mean, it’s so temporary too. By the time you’re nine years old, my little magical life will have diminished to the point that we’ll hardly be able to converse at all. And when you hit puberty, I’ll have moved on to the next child,” said Thinky.
“Do you remember who you used to be,” asked Seth.
“Not really. It’s been so long. I think I might have been a teacher or philosopher, but I’m not sure,” said Thinky.
“Maybe that’s why I call you Thinky,” said Seth.
Thinky smiled the way a stuffed bear smiles and Seth could see it.
Mona stood up from the stoop and stretched her back. She walked down to Seth and Thinky and squatted down next to them.
“Whatcha playing,” asked Mona.
Seth looked up at her, unable to tell her they were discussing the relevance of their past lives.
“Raisins”, is what Seth blurted out.
Seth looked at Thinky and shrugged.
“You want a snack little guy? Ok, we’ll get you some raisins,” said Mona.
She scooped Seth up in her arms and then bent down to get Thinky. She dusted off Thinky’s bottom and started moving toward the stairs.
“I like this lady,” said Thinky.
“Yeah. She’s pretty nice,” said Seth.