Life Cycle: From the Perspective of a Toy

By Kathleen Spear


I was made to smile. I have big, soft eyes and a neatly sewn smile that covers my whole face. I have floppy ears. I have limp arms and a flimsy body with a long, fluffy tail. Cheap, faux fur covers me from head to toe. I am a myriad of bright colors that are regarded with pleasure. I was made to smile.

And smile I must, as I look down at the endless tiled floor from my perch on a shelf midway down aisle seven of supermarket 53.

I was made to smile. I am not alone in this, as all of my kin — too numerous to count — are also in this constant state. It is tiring to smile for so long, but I endure it. By and by, our listless gazes haunt the aisle. You take no notice; you are too busy to notice. But your child sees my smile and replicates it. Now you notice. You see the sticky little hand reaching for my face, crushing my plastic eyes as I am yanked into your child’s loving embrace.

You must now make a decision. You look past my eyes to the price tag clipped to my ear and then you look at your child’s hopeful face. You decide that $5.99 is a reasonable price to avoid a tantrum. So off we go.

Before leaving the store, there is a minor disruption at the checkout as you plead with your child to let go of me for five seconds so that I can be purchased. As soon as the barcode is scanned, the little arms are back around me, suffocating me.

Over the next few weeks and months I never touch the ground for more than a minute. I see everything; from the living room to the bedroom to the kitchen. I get invitations to tea parties and exclusive meetings in the treehouse in the back garden. I am a world-renowned doctor, an accomplished detective, a famous singer, a rambunctious pirate, a dainty princess, and much more. I am an illusion that was made to smile. I see myself in every window, at every corner store, and in every park I pass by. I am everywhere.

In this manner, time passes quickly. I am exhausted and worn out. The next time I look into your child’s eyes, the gaze that meets mine is less youthful, less loving, less caring. They have grown beyond me. I can still smile, but that is no longer enough. My existence has ceased to be useful and enchanting. Without so much as a second glance, I am tossed into the bin.

A banana peel and some candy wrappers break my fall. I don’t have much time to look around at my new environment before I am enclosed in darkness and silence as the lid covers me, hides me.

The only notion I have of the time passing is the occasional lifting of the lid and the embarrassment of apple cores and wrappers bouncing off my face leaving smears of peanut butter in their wake. Just as I begin to feel cramped and claustrophobic, with the nauseating stench becoming unbearable, the lid opens and I am lifted into the kitchen light. This does not last long. The next thing I know, there are vehicles speeding past, honking their horns, and people yelling down the street. I am on the curb. One vehicle parks dangerously close to the bag I am imprisoned in and I am then flung inside the beast, headed on one last bumpy ride to my final resting place.

I can smell the rot before the truck stops. It’s the kind of rot that clings to you and never lets go. It is so strong that I can feel it deep inside my stuffing filled heart.

I am carelessly tossed onto the pile. Just another toy in just another bag. I am resigned to my fate. My life is worth as much as all of the other junk discarded here. Once loved, now forgotten. Once useful, now a waste of space. As each day passes, I am pushed further into the earth, until I am six feet under. Six feet under a landfill.

I was made to smile. I was made to be thrown away.