When I was in the fifth grade, a boy named Andre had a very cool action figure that swiveled in the middle. I asked, “Can I hold it for a minute?” to which he said, almost reluctantly, “Okay,” and slowly handed it over to me. I smiled. Then I started playing with it.
True to my own nature, I had to..HAD TO twist it as far as it would go; just to see what would happen. My thought was it would spin wildly and be hilarious to watch. I was the same way with a lot of things: pencils (how far could I bend them before they would break?), paper clips, pens…spoons….anything with a snapping point. This was no different really except…
I thought it WOULD BE DIFFERENT.
So, when (after being swiveled to death) the thick rubber band that held the torso to the legs popped, I was absolutley horrified. So was Andre for that matter. It was quick, and made a sickening snapping sound that no fifth grader likes to hear. My face turned a shade of bright scarlet as I stared at the “dead action hero”. Slowly, I looked up to see Andre, his handsome little face brewing with what was intense anger and sadness.
Immediately, I gingerly cupped the broken toy in both hands and with tears beging to brew, I told him over and over, “I’ll fix it! I’ll take him home and fix him! I promise! It’ll be okay Andre. I swear!” And I meant it. I placed Andre’s toy in my backpack and brought it home.
And I fixed it.
My dad gave me a new rubber band; that was the only assistance I would take. I broke it, I needed to fix it. Me, no one else but me. I remember that clearly.
I even wrapped him up for Andre and brought him to school. Andre beamed as he undid the string and paper (I used what we had around my dad’s house; twine and paper bags) and we continued to be friends. His action figure was better than new. I even gave it a bath. I took great care in the detail. I am still that way with everything I make. I take pride in that.
I realized that this toy meant the world to him and it was my fault it was broken. I, like my father, have an affinity for fixing things. Call it an obsession with the challenge, I’ve always been like this. I am also ridiculously empathetic and often times feel someone else’s pain as if it were my own. So when I see someone is hurt and I can do something to fix it, you bet your sweetness I’ll try to help.
Some things are irreplaceable, but…
Sometimes they CAN be repaired.
And sometimes, they mean everything to someone.
And then, to yourself….