He took it with him everywhere: School, the doctor’s office, the park, the car, the dinner table. He carried it in hand, in the backpack, over his shoulder. It was to him a cape, a comfort, a memory of tucking in, a constancy.
It’s always been there. He couldn’t remember a time before.
Well-worn, oft-washed, much-handled.
Never out of sight.
He’d sit before the washing machine and watch it spinning, floppy, in a foamy sea. Later he’d guard the dryer as the blanket tumbled, already impatient to come back warm and scented into his arms.
He’d place it at the ready on the bathroom stepstool to guard him as he washed. A sentinel over his pajamas.
It waited right under the chair at mealtime, in temporary exile from his lap after his argument that the blanket could make an excellent napkin had failed.
Even at school, where he wasn’t allowed to hold it, he’d leave a small blanket-ear peeking out of his cubby; to remind him it was there, with him, waiting for the end of the school-day.
It was a coat of heart, a shroud of courage, a cover against storms of any kind.
It was almost part of him. His blanket.
Then the fire came. He was carried half-in-sleep and heavy-headed, by a man whose giant shadow painted wall-monsters against the orange flicker and the swirling smoke.
There was more flicker outside: blue and red and white and blinding. Shouts and calls and creaks and cries and movement. Yellow coats, red truck, bright door, funny mask.
And no blanket.
It was gone. To Blanket Heaven.
A spark in the sky now. A spot of cloud. A star.
Lost along with Curious George and Teddy Ben and his dinosaur car.
For The Daily Post