34 comments

Drama

When I was six years old, Mom drove us to the store and told me to pick out a toy.


She knelt down in front of me and looked me straight in the eye. “You only get one,” she warned, “so choose carefully.” 


I already had a small collection of toys at home—a fluffy moose from a giftshop in a faraway national park, a blue-and-green polka-dotted stingray from the aquarium, and a purple bear Grandma gave me long ago. I never liked the plastic ones much, the dolls and the houses and the race cars. They were too awkward to hug.


So, holding hands with Mom, I bounded straight to the stuffed animal section and found him right away.


He was as yellow as a daffodil, with big, half-moon ears and black buttons sewn in for eyes. He had a bulbous nose, plump legs, and stubby arms held wide open.


“What—what is it?” asked Mom, tilting her head at the creature.


I shrugged. He didn’t look like a moose or a stingray or a bear. He looked like…a thing. A yellow thing.


“You’re sure that’s what you want?” she asked.


I nodded and held his soft body to my chest. His nose pressed into my neck and he fit perfectly in my arms.


I named him Yellow Thing.


Mom had to pry him away from me when we approached the cash register, but he sat on my lap the whole way home.


I introduced Yellow Thing to my other friends right away: Teddy and Squid and Sunshine. They accepted him into the family with grace, budging up to make room for him on the toy shelf. It wasn’t necessary; Yellow Thing would stay in my bed for the time being. I liked to press my nose to his as I drifted off to sleep.


Yellow Thing stayed clutched in my arms through the heartbreaks of childhood: the funny movie ending, having to eat broccoli with my chicken nuggets.


“Time to put Yellow Thing away, Avery,” Mom said whenever I tried to stuff him in my backpack before school.


I stuck out my lower lip and she gave me The Look, so I sighed and stomped upstairs to my room. I always made sure to draw the covers up to his chin—not too high, so he could breathe—and kiss his head goodbye. Teddy and Squid and Sunshine looked on.


Elementary school came and went, and so did Yellow Thing’s time in my bed. I squeezed him onto the end of the toy shelf, next to Sunshine, on the first day of sixth grade.


“I’ve got to be a grown-up,” I whispered to him. He would understand.


But I pulled him off the shelf and snuggled with him that night, just in case he didn’t.


And then came high school, with the tennis practices and the boys and the scholarship applications. Yellow Thing watched as I struggled through essays and the long hours of calculus homework. When I looked up to stretch my neck, I often found myself staring into his button eyes.


The time on the shelf couldn’t dull his fur, which stayed as bright as the sun.


The week before move-in, Mom entered my room and asked what I wanted to take with me to college. I pointed at the reading lamp on my nightstand and the stack of books on my desk, and as I scanned the rest of the room, my eyes met Yellow Thing’s.


He would understand.


Yellow Thing sat in Mom’s attic with Teddy and Squid and Sunshine as I started freshman year, and memories of pushing my yellow friend on the playground swing slowly faded into memories of my travels with roommates and dates with Henry. Yellow Thing collected dust through my college graduation, through my move into Henry’s apartment, through the wedding, through the first house, through the birth of our sweet Liza.


He had disappeared from my mind entirely until Henry and I brought Liza to Mom’s house one afternoon.


“Would you mind going through the attic? Trying to free up space. Liza might find a lot of fun things up there.” Mom winked at Liza and ruffled her hair.


Liza giggled. “What kind of fun things, Gran?”


“You’ll see.”


Henry pulled down the ladder to the attic and I carefully helped Liza climb up.


Boxes upon boxes decorated the ground. Cobwebs swung from the ceiling and around the flickering lightbulbs. A sagging couch with ripped cushions sat in one corner, and a pile of old clothes rested in another. Scratched bookshelves full of dented picture frames, old board games, and faded books lined the walls.


A bright spot of yellow in a crooked bookshelf at the back caught my eye. I crossed the attic in four quick strides and pulled Yellow Thing—squished next to Teddy and Squid and Sunshine—off the shelf.


I gave him a small shake and a shower of dust rained from his fur. He was still that same yellow…thing, with a bulbous nose, half-moon ears, and wide-open arms.


A pang of guilt stabbed my chest when I stared into his button eyes. I remembered when Mom brought me to that store so long ago, and when I tucked him into bed every night. I remembered the day I planted him permanently on the shelf next to Sunshine, after a few cheat nights of cuddling. I remembered when Mom stowed him in the attic while I packed my car and left him forever. 


As Henry rummaged through boxes behind me, Liza chattering at his side, I pressed Yellow thing to my stomach. He seemed so much smaller now—too small to give me a proper hug.


“What’ve you got there, hun?” Henry asked.


I turned around and held up my friend.


Henry burst into laughter. “What is that?”


Liza ran over and held her hands to his cheeks. “It’s a—a—a yellow thing!” She nuzzled her nose against his, and when she hugged him, she fit perfectly in his arms.






Dedicated to Yellow Thing.

September 26, 2020 19:59

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34 comments

Molly Leasure
04:43 Sep 29, 2020

Cuuuuuuuuute! I, too, was a stuffed animal fanatic. I had a giant stuffed dog named Oreo, who was probably bigger than me. One year, I kept getting strep throat, so I basically had to get rid of everything I could cuddle: rubber ducks, stuffed animals, and Oreo. It was the saddest moment I remember haha! You had one line: "...rest of the room, my eyes meet Yellow Thing's." Since you're in the past tense, it should be "met." Otherwise, absolutely nothing else! I love how her daughter instantly connects with him, so precious! But, I also...

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Lani Lane
22:59 Sep 29, 2020

Nooooooo that makes me so sad!!! Poor Oreo. :( YES THANK YOU so much for catching that!! I originally wrote this all in present tense so I knew there had to be one left behind somewhere!!! Thank you so much Molly!!!!

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Molly Leasure
23:32 Sep 29, 2020

I knoooooow, it was so sad ;(. Happens to me ALL the time!! Especially since I always write in the present tense...if I try to do the past tense I revert back to the present randomly xD. BUT I GOT YOU.

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Lani Lane
00:46 Sep 30, 2020

HECK YEAH YOU DO. Also, guess what?? Reedsy added a TON new genres!!!! Go look!!!

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Molly Leasure
01:32 Sep 30, 2020

THEY HEARD US!!! xDDDD

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Regina Perry
13:35 Oct 27, 2020

This story came very near to making me cry. The names were perfect! Yellow Thing, indeed. It's amusing how children name things. I've got a monkey who didn't have a name until I was a teenager. (She's called Minna now, after the babbling of a baby who liked to say "minnaminnaminnaminna" over and over again.) I know a small child who must have changed her doll's name a dozen times in the last two weeks: from Baby to Gordon to Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow and everything in between, before finally going back to Baby again.

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Lani Lane
14:08 Oct 27, 2020

Thank you so much, Regina! Aw haha that's so cute, I love the creativity with toy names! :)

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Ryan Dupont
00:30 Oct 06, 2020

I really liked this story. It was very heart felt and I could tell it was drawn from real life experience. It was very well written and I loved the way you ended it. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

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Lani Lane
03:20 Oct 06, 2020

Thank you so much, Ryan! I really appreciate you reading my story and I'll be sure to return the favor soon. :)

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Rayhan Hidayat
20:07 Sep 30, 2020

Oh so sweet ☺️ Can’t say there’s anything wrong with this—the length was aptly short and you got the message across. My Yellow Thing was a giant stuffed jellyfish I got from an aquarium or something (yeah I was a weird kid).

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Lani Lane
20:11 Sep 30, 2020

Thank you so much, Rayhan! One of the other stuffed animals in this story--Squid--is actually a stingray that I got from the aquarium too! Aquarium gift shops get you every time lol. :)

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Rayhan Hidayat
20:28 Sep 30, 2020

A stingray named squid :,) I couldn't have picked a better name haha

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Lani Lane
20:39 Sep 30, 2020

What can I say--"Yellow Thing," "Squid," they called me a naming connoisseur. XD

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Rayhan Hidayat
20:46 Sep 30, 2020

Ha! 😆

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Maggie Deese
17:23 Sep 27, 2020

Beautiful, Leilani :') you did a wonderful job telling the story of you and Yellow Thing. This was incredibly touching and especially to those of us who have our own version of Yellow Thing (mine is called Mr. Bunny). Well done!

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Lani Lane
02:27 Sep 28, 2020

Thank you so much, Maggie!! Aww Mr. Bunny, so cute! I love how young kids name things--Yellow Thing, Mr. Bunny. I miss being a kid!

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Kristin Neubauer
11:49 Sep 27, 2020

Oh my gosh, Leilani - I loved this story. So simple, so sweet and so heartfelt without being sappy. You write beautifully and have made me love Yellow Thing too. Oh, and I checked out your website - fantastic photography, so many colors!!

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Lani Lane
15:10 Sep 27, 2020

Ok, you've just made my entire day, Kristin!! Thank you so much for your lovely comments about both my story and my photography--I SO appreciate them! :)

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A.G. Scott
06:36 Sep 27, 2020

The pacing and content remind me of a Pixar short film. :') Only grammar thing I noticed: I gave him a small shake a shower of dust rained from his fur. - add 'and' This was heart-wrenching. My "Yellow Thing" was a monkey named Yakub. :'(

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Lani Lane
15:06 Sep 27, 2020

AHHHH you're the best!! Thank you so much for catching that error--it's fixed now! Awww Yakub, so cute. :) I feel like we all have a Yellow Thing.... god I missed stuffed animals. :(

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20:41 Oct 04, 2020

Oh my goodness! I loved your story! It unfolded perfectly to a stellar end! Great job!

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Lani Lane
00:30 Oct 05, 2020

Hi Karlynn!! Thank you for your lovely comment! I so appreciate you taking the time to read my story. :) And I'll be sure to return the favor!!

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Lina Oz
14:28 Sep 29, 2020

NO NOTES. I love this. It's so touching, and it's a heartfelt reminder of all our own Yellow Things. One thing––I'd add "creative nonfiction" as a category for this story :)

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Lani Lane
22:58 Sep 29, 2020

Thank you!! And I might have to leave off creative nonfiction since the only real thing is Yellow Thing himself hahaha

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Lani Lane
00:54 Sep 30, 2020

Omg wait!! Reedsy just added a ton new genres!! Maybe I can find one that better fits it

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Lina Oz
16:39 Sep 30, 2020

Oooh that's awesome! I think it could potentially be creative nonfiction, but I can see why it might not be; I'll take a look at the new genres! :)

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Lani Lane
18:50 Sep 30, 2020

I would just feel like a FRAUD lol. Except Yellow Thing is real and amazing :D

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Lina Oz
19:05 Sep 30, 2020

Yellow Thing is amazing! Truth.

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Lani Lane
20:20 Sep 30, 2020

Also Sunshine and Squid. Except I don't think I have them anymore either. :(

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Maya W.
12:02 Sep 28, 2020

Adorable! Such a good take on the prompt! My yellow thing I still have, haha. I also used this prompt, would you mind checking out my story?

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Lani Lane
19:43 Sep 28, 2020

Thanks so much, Maya! I'm working super late today but I can definitely check out your story tomorrow!

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Maya W.
19:58 Sep 28, 2020

Thanks!

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Lani Lane
13:27 Sep 30, 2020

Maya!! I'm so sorry, I ran out of time to read your story yesterday! :( Totally my fault. I'll definitely get to it this week though!!

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Maya W.
13:31 Sep 30, 2020

Oh, it's totally fine! Get to it whenever you're able:)

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