PART ONE: UNA
Chapter 4: UNA’S SKIMMA
And so, the years passed. UNA and her SKIMMA played in the sun, ran through the rain, jumped in the puddles it made, and rolled around in the snow. They took part in snowball battles, both large and small, over the years. They had a lot of fun together, some of which came at a cost. UNA’s SKIMMA lost its left leg at one point, but UNA’s parents promptly stitched it back with a colored thread of UNA’s choosing. UNA chose the same red color as the hair on her father’s face. Now her SKIMMA had something in common with her father.
UNA’s best friend even managed to get lost for a few hours, hours which seemed like an eternity to UNA, a major part of which she spent crying her eyes out after all search possibilities had been exhausted. Luckily, it was found by one of her neighbors, an old OSZA who UNA thanked every day without fail thereafter. The SKIMMA got a stern talking to, along with an identifier. UNA went to town on her friend’s chest with a permanent marker, one whose special ink neither rain nor snow could wash away, and covered it with the words UNA’s SKIMMA, in as large a font as she could muster. Her friend would never be able to leave her side again. If it did, whoever found it would see its chest and promptly return it to her.
UNA’s love for her SKIMMA never faded or dimmed. The time she spent with it, however, grew shorter the older she got. The SKIMMA spent most of its days alone, and eventually, UNA stopped cuddling with it at night time as well. Sometime thereafter, the SKIMMA was relegated to a storage box, where it remained until UNA’s parents gave the entire box away, when representatives of a charity came asking for donations. Little did they, or UNA herself for that matter, know how much she was comforted by the fact that the best friend of her childhood still lived under the same roof as her, and was available to her whenever she needed it, even if it was kept in a storage box tucked away in some part of the house, instead of by her bed.
It took a few months for UNA to have a day that was bad enough to only be brightened by a hug from her SKIMMA. UNA tore through the house and emptied every drawer, chest and box she came across as she looked for her friend. Her mother found her crying in a corner, lodged between piles of assorted drawer contents, when she returned home from work.
“Where is my SKIMMA?” she asked.
“What’s wrong, my little doll? What happened?” her mother asked.
“Where is it?”
“The stuffed toy? We donated it, honey. Don’t you remember?”
“You donated it? Why? How could you?” UNA screamed.
“I’m sorry, child. We didn’t realize…”
“What? That it was not yours to give away?” UNA yelled, as she ran into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
UNA‘s anger didn’t subside for another week. She didn’t want to forgive her parents, but she saw how guilty they felt. More importantly, she saw the efforts they took to contact the charity and locate her SKIMMA, and how earnest they were in their attempts to right their wrong. In the end, she made peace with the fact that her best friend was gone, but not lost. She would always have her pick of numerous happy and blissful childhood memories to remember it by. She just hoped that wherever her SKIMMA was, it was safe, and in the hands of somebody who would love and care for it as much as she had.