CARLA & THEO......

...it had all started in the nursery. Little Carla had heard her rocking horse say that he wanted to ride off like other horses he'd seen in Carla's picture books. They didn't just stay in one place going up and down... they ran and ran and ran, as hard as their joyous legs would carry them. He could tell by the little painted pictures that there must be a strange freedom that makes you push as hard as you can sometimes when you're in the sun, and the wind is blowing, and the grass is cool and green, so very green under your galloping hooves, and you feel bigger and stronger than you really are, and you're full of something that only you can know, and that’s only YOURS TO KNOW... Carla had been standing behind the edge of the bookcase and heard him telling the other toys... or at least the toys that would listen. Her roly-poly clown had stood perfectly still (for a change!)...with no incessant chuckling (also for a change!). He had listened to every word, especially about the running! "Imagine!" he finally whispered. "To be able to actually RUN from one place to another! As fast as you could ever, ever, ever go! Even if it was to the point where you might break!...or fly apart! To run and fly apart from the joy of running that fast just ONCE!... oh, how I wish I could do that!"... A pull-toy dachshund standing by nodded...how fast did he ever run?...really?? If he wasn't being pulled, he didn't run at all.... nor did the little pull-toy fire engine. Or the quacking duck. At the tea table, all of Carla's dolls, from the larger ones that said words like "mama" to the dainty ones from other lands made of china stared down at their cookie plates and tea cups...and said nothing. Their appetites had left them... One of them cleared her throat uncomfortably. What did they know of running? Running could be fatal… It was at that point that Carla had shifted slightly, and the floor by the corner of the tall bookcase creaked. All discussion stopped!. And everyone turned to see... yes, it was Carla. The toys all fell silent...well, except for the tea party where all the dolls began chattering about scones, and Earl Grey vs. Lap Sang Su Chong, and the embroidered monograms on fine napkins.... but Carla wasn't fooled... nor were any of the toys. They knew she had heard. And she knew that they knew...But that's how it sometimes is between friends...even the best of friends... things are left unsaid. And so, later, when it seemed everyone was asleep, Carla slipped out with Theo, and confided in him. He was her closest friend and her best secret-keeper. What could she say to a roomful of toys who all longed to run away...?? What could she ever do to make them know that she was just like them? …really, just like them... Even when she went out to play, she already knew that people, living people, could only run so far...and only so fast... and not forever... Theo looked deeply into her eyes...he leaned forward and put his paw to her lips. He drew close to her ear ...and whispered....

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