You walk into the toystore, as you've done a thousand times before. You've done it several times a day almost every single day for the last five years of your young life. You like to look at the toys, wondering which one above all others would be the most fun to have; to own. You've had a few of the toys, but never owned one. You've never paid for one, either. You've thought about taking one or two; most you've found lying around used, even the ones you used to stare up at on high shelves, far above the counter and out of your reach. Very rarely has one been given to you. You've taken the ones you've found lying around home, and played with them, but always to the same end. Just like the better-off children who had them first, you got tired of them and the fun went away. You've always tried to leave them in a nicer condition than you found them, in case someone else wanted them afterwards. You hope someone will. You sometimes imagine toys can feel; most often imagining that they can feel lonely in their disuse.
You stare at those same toys, or ones like them, on the high shelves, sometimes thinking that you might actually have enough to get one. If not now, then some day. Then, one day, a new toy arrives. No one else much seems to notice; they all see it, but it's not top-of-the-line. It's kept on a low shelf across the counter, its eyes level with yours. It's within reach, if you'd just lean across the counter. You know you can do it; you've leant across the counter before, not caring who saw, just to touch the toys. Never to steal; just to touch. You like to contemplate ownership, even though you realize the burden it brings. You're always ashamed of the toys you've left—but never forgotten. You're adamant about that; you remember exactly what each toy meant to you and the times you had with it.
You're still fascinated by this new toy. You feel about it a way you think no one else ever could. It's not that kids ignore this toy; almost everyone has one or one like it. It's just that—they don't see how special it is. You think about just how much fun you could have with it. It seems like it was designed with you in mind. But then you think with horror of how desolate you would feel if you ever got tired of it. But it's only a toy... a better one might come along. You think in your shame that maybe the toy is thinking, right now. Maybe it's wondering if it's just not fun because you refuse to get it. It doesn't realize it's just too fun. It can't... it's just a toy.
Still, you come almost every day; lamenting the days you don't. You come, and you stare, and you dream. You will never buy the toy, though by now you're sure you could afford it. The beauty is in the wanting. The having would spoil it, the same as always. You know it will. It has to.
You still might pick one up, if you see one abandoned in some park. You don't think you could stand to see one abandoned. You start to avoid the parks and playgrounds. The joy is in the wanting. You get angry when you see one abused. The joy—anger—fun.
Time passes. You don't hate the toy store, or the children, even though you sometimes want to, or think you should want to. You never hate the toy. You still run to see it after every day. It still brings joy to your heart to see it, even if it is wondering what's wrong with it that you won't own it.
Someone waits at home for you, one day. She wants to make you a present of one of the high-shelf toys. She's seen you lately; so sad and yet so lively on your way to the toy store. She figures this will make you happy. But you don't want the high-shelf toys anymore. She waits while you're at the toy store. She waits as you run in the door, and past her up the stairs to your room to sleep so you'll be fresh tomorrow at the toy store even after a long day. She can't understand. No one does. The joy is in the wanting. You know only joy. You have to... you're just a boy.