You had one, right? Someone cut your cloth into odd oblongs. Someone assembled the pieces and drove straight pins through to hold them together. She chose a new needle that was thick and sharp. She wet and twisted the scraggly end of grey thread in her mouth, making a stiff point to plunge through the needle’s eye. One strand, doubled over is doubly strong. She pulled until the ends matched and looped them into a tangle large enough to plug your cloth.
Then she sewed and along the way removed the crude stiff pins, placing them back in a little box as she went.
Every time she ran out of thread, she’d hold you up to the light and examine progress. You were coming along! She put her hand down one leg, then the next, then another, then the last. They were even, tight, and true. She kissed your wide flat face while laughing. It was already cute, but just wait until she got to the stuffing and added the shiny black button eyes she clipped off a coat she used to wear. She got the idea of adding tufts of soft black yarn around your ears when she pulled them out and joked to herself if ears were wings, you’d soar like an elephant. Balance. A bit of style.
There had never been a little donkey like you and there would never be another donkey like you even if she used the same pattern. Her hands would be older. Her favorite chair might be in the same spot by the window overlooking the hills, but light would bend differently through taller trees and changing seasons.
You were stuffed with fluff just like your friends, through a little slit that is easy to find if you know where to look. You were finished with those button eyes, ear tufts, and an afterthought of a tail.
Maybe that’s why? Could it be?
She doesn’t know why you like to live by the thistles. They bloom for a short time with bright lavender petals and leave delicate feathery seeds behind, but you notice the thorns. When they are in bloom, she turns your head and says look at them, just look at them, have you ever seen a color like that?
Brown? You say.
Everyone pulls you along on adventures. They fight for you and launch expeditions for you. They like you. They love you. But it’s not enough to lift your head sometimes.
She thinks maybe it’s too heavy. You can’t lift it because you simply. Can’t.
And then she gets angry. You could lift your head. You just won’t.
She knows that was stupid and unhelpful because she’s had a heavy head, too. It’s what allowed her to hunch and squint and quiet herself long enough to form somethings out of nothings. But she sees brown and purple together and is so thankful for that combination because one without the other is less than zero when it comes to thistles.
She watches you closely and carefully, reveling in your moments of happiness but accepting that some are sewn sad. She pulls you close and promises she will go beyond the borders of everywhere to help you.