by Coley Summerlin
The stuffed fox, once so fluffy and soft, sprawls flat and matted on the floor by the couch. One eye replaced with a blue button years ago sticks out from the reddish orange fur contrasted by the yellowing tail tip and chest. The boy who loved him for ten years sleeps soundly upstairs.
It’s not worth waking him, I tell myself, to give him the fox. Instead, I pick up the fox to place him on the couch. Two steps later and I’m rubbing the scruffy fur between my fingers. The tip of my pinky digs into a seam I sewed years ago when he nearly lost a leg and most of his stuffing. I pricked my finger three times trying to save this toy instead of buying a new one. But the toothless smile and giggle was a worthy payment.
“Ready to start the movie?” my husband asks.
“Sure.” I duck my head to hide my damp eyes. “Pull it up. I’ll be right back.”
I carefully creep up the stairs and creak open the door. Sprawled on his stomach, my boy sleeps soundly with his hair standing in odd angles. I hesitate before setting the fox on his headboard between the baseball glove and football.
It could be time to find a place on the top shelf for the fox with the rest of what my husband calls “dust collectors.” But somehow the fox made his way to the couch this morning and maybe, just maybe, he’ll be back downstairs with my boy again tomorrow.
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Coley, coffee-enthusiast and aspiring author, has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Columbia College and completed graduate studies in multicultural and transnational literatures at East Carolina University where she became a published scholar. She lives in the southeastern part of the states with her husband and four children.