I am grateful for Slider. I’ve had him since I was 3 or 4, and he’s been in my bedroom (or now, usually my kids’ bedroom, cuz he gets to hang out with their stuffies and go on adventures when we’re all asleep or out of the house….of course….). He is the perfect shape for flying, like Superman, and at the farm where I grew up, he could slide perfectly down the side of the hallway wall and land on the dining room table. I’m pretty sure he’s sentient. And even though he has never given any overt response to any of my queries, there have been more than a few times in my life when I’ve sat and stared into his eyes and wondered, are we ever fully alone? If I disappeared, would anyone really be affected for very long? And I always felt that Slider, somehow, would know my absence if I passed away.
There’s something rather….intimate….about another ‘being’ who shares your bedroom for 40 years. They go through a lot with you. They hear you laugh, and cry, and yell, and sob, and giggle, and sing. They see you naked and clothed, nervous before a date or an interview, relaxed with friends, passed out drunk, shivering with fevers, moaning with migraines, reading in the light of the window, staring at the ceiling wondering what life is all about. They see the laundry on the floor and the half-read books scattered in piles. They see the dust bunnies, and the cleaning frenzy before people come over so you can appear like you are more functional than you really are.
And they see people come and go. Loves, come and go. They overhear you rhapsodize to friends about your ideas and passions, bemoan your failures and betrayals. And if they’re still there after all that, if you can still look into their plastic (or real?) eyes and find the same comfort and acceptance, then…..you have a real friend. So, thanks Slider.