When I was six or seven, and generally far too old to be enthralled with such things, I made myself a doll out of an apricot pit. She had a tuft of bright red hair — strands carefully separated from a piece of yarn someone had tied around a goodie bag. Her face was somewhat clumsily drawn with a black felt-tipped marker. I’d messed up the smile a bit and had to scribble it out, but with a few corrections it just looked like her mouth was always open. She didn’t have a body. She didn’t need one.
I loved her. She lived in my pocket, and we had as many summertime adventures as we could. But then she was gone again almost as soon as she had come into my life. Mom and Dad had no idea what might have happened to her. In fact, I just today realized her hair had probably become bright red dryer lint.
So as I sat crying on Dad’s lap, he told me how he had once lost a beloved toy, too. His mother had searched high and low and even in between the floor boards, “but that old button was never to be found again.”
My sobbing stopped right then, and I’m sure Dad felt highly successful for cheering me up so quickly. But I was actually more puzzled than anything. I spent the rest of the afternoon stumped with one question: why on earth would he play with a button?