I was her favorite. I knew I was because she played with me all the time. The blocks made roads for me. The dolls rode in me. The crayons and papers made props to decorate my roads. The books made bridges for me.
Of course I was her favorite toy. I was a gift on her seventh birthday, and she let out such a cry of joy when she opened me. I am a shiny red sports car. I have solid rubber tires and a horn that beeps. She would have slept with me in her bed if her mom had let her.
When she got older a lot of her toys went up to the attic. The alphabet blocks and baby dolls were packed away, but not me. She put me up on a shelf, and kept me dust free. From my perch of honor, I saw when she got a real car that she could ride in. It wasn’t as shiny as me.
When she moved out of her parents’ home she packed me with care and took me to her new house. Playfully she drove me along the mantle in her living room before leaving me there with some pictures and a vase.
That was when I felt something wrong. My left back tire caught just a little. She didn’t notice, but I did. Rust was creeping into my undercarriage.
I knew, of course, that it would be the end of me. No one kept around a rusty toy, not even their favorite. And once she had a baby, I knew my days were numbered. He would be her favorite, and I’d be in the trash, as soon as she realized.
The baby grew into a little boy, and one day he saw me, and said, “Mommy, can I play with that car?”
She looked at me and grinned her same old grin. “If you promise to be careful with it. That’s my favorite toy from when I was a kid, you know. I love it.”
She took me off the mantle and turned me over. “Oh, you’ve got some rust on you,” she said. She carried me into the kitchen, right past the trash can. She sat me on the table, and opened up a cabinet. From there she took out some oil and a scrub brush. Together, they brushed me, and oiled my undercarriage. Then they used some paint to touch up some spots that weren’t as shiny as they had been.
“This will help prevent oxidation,” she said, as she caressed my undercarriage with a brush coated in another oil.
“There,” she said with a smile once the paint was dry. She handed me to him, tousling his hair.
“Thanks, Mommy,” he said with her same grin.
He plays with me every day. The blocks are my roads, the books my tunnels. And he would take me to bed at night if she let him. He is her favorite. But I am his.
Nicole C. Ford is a fantasy, crime novel writer, flash fiction lover, and maker of the best pasta salad ever.