THE LEFT BEHIND
By Melissa L. Webb
The jacket sat on the playground, sad and lonely. It had been dropped there as its child made a mad dash to the swing sets, eager to beat his friends to the best swing.
It lay there, being trampled by other children, watching as they enjoyed their fleeting escape from the classroom.
As the bell rang, the children disappeared into the school, leaving the playground silent and empty once again. The jacket remained there, alone, in the middle of the gravel near the swings.
It had been forgotten.
The jacket waited patiently as the day progressed. Morning turned into afternoon, and soon more children passed by.
However, none of them was its child.
Gravel spilled onto the jacket as the children played near by, covering most of it. Still the jacket did not worry. It was sure the child would remember it before the day was over. After all, what would his parents say if he came home without his new jacket?
But, alas, the child didn’t come back.
The jacket was left behind, cold and confused, hidden among the gravel.
A week slowly passed, the days bringing children close to the jacket, but none of them was the boy it longed for.
And none of them saved it.
The jacket soon realized it had been more than forgotten; it had been discarded.
Obviously, the boy and his parents didn’t care about the lost and dirty piece of clothing. They’d probably gotten him a new one to replace what had been lost.
That was, after all, how it had entered the boy’s life.
The jacket was only a thing to them. Something to be used and tossed, like trash under their feet.
But the jacket had feelings.
It was more than just a thing. It was something that wanted to embrace people, keeping them warm when things got too cold.
But…that was over now. Never again would it feel the love as it wrapped its child tight, sheltering him from the raging storms.
The jacket’s heart was beginning to harden. The kindness, hope, warmth and compassion it had once felt was all fading away. The only things left now were sadness and pain. A bitter rage was slowly growing in the hollow of its heart.
How could they be so cold and uncaring? How could they treat something that only wanted to give warmth that bad?
The jacket refused to let itself end this way.
Slowly and silently, one cold night, the jacket pulled itself out of the gravel. It slid across the blacktop and called out, looking for an army.
Things slithered out of the darkness, coming to its aid. An old pair of sweatpants. A rotting left shoe. A torn, empty backpack. A soggy, mangled book. Hundreds of forgotten things rose up, eager to do something about their fate.
The jacket was pleased. As pleased as this new life could allow it to be. It might have been left behind, but it wasn’t alone. The other things knew exactly what kind of rage was coursing through it, because they felt it, too.
The jacket crawled across the schoolyard and out the gate, followed by the massive army of unloved things. It was time to show their children what it felt like to be discarded.
© 2013 Melissa L. Webb