Dustin was staring at the toy in his hand for long.
For the last time, he flicked the switch on the toy’s chest and it went “To infinity and beyond”. He chuckled pushing his head back and let out a huge shaky breath before getting up from his chair and walking into the living room with slow steps. As he entered the room, three little feet rushed themselves towards him. Jane, Macy and Ron charged at their grandfather. He smiled and fondled their hair. His grandchildren were around seven years old and he adored them with all his heart. Even though he doted on every one of them, his favourite was Macy. With all her little antics she had her grandfather going all gaga over her.
When Jane and Ron left, Macy plopped herself on her grandfather's bed. As her eyes wandered across the pale walls of the room, she found a toy lying on his armchair. Her curiosity piqued and she ran towards the chair. She loved action figures. She had a greater collection of Star Wars action figures and Darth Vadar was her favourite. But she did not know about this character.
Dustin entered the room and found little Macy examining the toy.
“What are you doing Macy?” he asked
Macy turned around and smiled. “Grandpa, what toy is this,” she asked, her Bambi eyes shining with curiosity. Dustin cooed “This, my dear Macy, is my favourite toy.”
She gasped at the revelation. Smiling hugely she asked, “GRANDPA YOU LOVED TOYS TOO?”
Dustin faked a gasp. “I love toys still, Macy.”
Macy let out a giggle and said “Grandpa you’re the best. That’s why you’re my favourite.”
He picked up the little girl and sat her on his lap while he got comfortable on the armchair. He peeped into Macy's lap and saw her fiddling with the toy, moving its limbs.
He felt nostalgic.
He remembers when he was six years old and his dad brought him the Buzz lightyear figure. He was practically spoilt from his childhood because he was their only child. But once he had Buzz, he forgot all his other toys. He just played with him. He can’t help but be reminded of all the times he spent in his room with Buzz. He would spend hours with Buzz, going on space adventures, skating across the asteroid belt and killing octopus-headed aliens which wanted to destroy Earth. He did not like going out much so it was just Buzz and him.
Buzz had this confident eyes and a funny smile on his lips that it seemed to him as though he could understand every word. Buzz was Dustin’s motivation, his inspiration and his safe space. He still is.
He used to take him out with him and both of them would sit by the river and watch the sunset. Once while returning, some trouble kids from Dustin’s school stopped him on his way back home. They would always bother him in school and mess with his notes. Dustin hated them. It is all a bitter distant memory now, but it’s well etched in his mind. He remembers how hard he punched them in the face and kicked their shins when they tried to mess with his Buzz Lightyear toy. For the first time he stood up against them and he felt happy. He felt strong and happy because he did something for Buzz. He did not know when he got this attached to Buzz but it didn’t take Buzz to be more than just a toy for Dustin. It was his companion and his home to confide in.
Buzz was his only companion but with age, he forgot about him. The more he got burdened with responsibilities and family, the more he forgot about the plastic toy stacked at the topmost shelf in his room. Now that Dustin sits on his armchair reminiscing about his good old memories, he can’t help but feel low. As much as he tried to hold it in, the pain came out like an uproar from his throat in the form of a silent scream. Tears started welling up in his eyes. Macy looked up from his lap, “Grandpa?”
Dustin rapidly blinked his eyes and composed himself, before swooping down and planting a kiss on Macy’s forehead. Macy giggled on Dustin’s lap.
“Sweetheart, let’s get you to bed”
He picked up a yawning Macy and slowly laid her on the bed. It didn’t take long for her eyes to drift close. Tucking her in, he sauntered back to his chair. His head is filled with memories of his childhood- memories of him and Buzz. His head lolls and the muscles of his face relax, releasing the tension of his day. His eyes are almost closed and from his chest come the first guttural snore.
His dreams took him back to his room when he was 6 years old. It was the day of school right after he had fought with those trouble kids. He sees a fragile raven hair boy labelled as queer by his classmates. But he had an eternal smile etched on his lips and a companion on his hand as he discreetly tucked him inside his bag, and this time, nobody came to trouble him.
The next morning wasn’t grey but by soothing lavender and brilliant amber. The colours merged into neon pink and peach. Macy was getting ready to leave. Her vacations were about to end and she herself had grimly decided that she should get back home and finish the rest of her holiday homework before the school restarts.
“Sweetheart, would you come here for a second?” Dustin queried. Macy turned to him and rushed with him in his room, her pigtails bouncing in the air all the time.
“This is for you”
He said, bending low and handing her the Buzz Lightyear toy. Her Bambi's eyes grew wider. “B-But, grandpa isn’t it yours?”
Dustin let out a small sigh. “It was. It is. But now he will be yours too.”
Macy took the toy from him and tucked it in his backpack.
“Take care of him, sweetheart, and you’ll find him to be your best companion like he was for me.” She nodded.
“Now off you go” he patted her on her small back. She smiled at her grandpa. “I’ll take good care of your friend and in no time you’ll see that we’ll turn to be best friends.
It was time. The time he knew would come sooner or later but dreaded. He had to say goodbye to the only person that he felt cared, to the only person that he felt happy with. Buzz was there for him in his fifty-six years of living. How was he supposed to just do it without feeling like he’s lost a part of himself?
He watched as Macy bid him peeping from the car, the toy in her hand. He saw his face for the last time- the same confident face with a lopsided smile. His own face morphs into a smile and his eyes lighten up. He bids her back and the car drives out of their house. He watched as his old friend left with his granddaughter, away from him, ready to start his new life.
Tears had started to well in his eyes and for the last time, he voiced, “To infinity and beyond…still.”