She’s not a toy, she’s my friend.

Opal.  Memories come rushing back when I think of that name.  It was the name of my best friend who never left my side.  The one who kept me safe at night, the who went everywhere that I did, the one who watched TV with me when I was sick, the one who always held my hand.

She’s a little black and white stuffed tuxedo cat, who I fondly named after my October birthstone.  Mom was the one who bestowed her upon me, but I don’t think she knew that when she bought this little unassuming cat off of the shelf, that she was giving me a best friend.  I mean this with all sincerity, that little cat was, and is, priceless to me.

Opal went with me to sleepovers, even after my friends stopped bringing their own stuffed friends over.  She would stay in my bag close to me if nothing else, and never acted like she was hurt that I was keeping her hidden.  With no siblings, she was my sister, my confidante, my venting buddy, my sick counterpart, and my protector from all things scary at night.  She was with me when I learned how to read, and I’m pretty sure she learned to read then as well.

It’s only fitting that she sits on my bookshelf now, surrounded by all of the books that I own and love.  She’s never been packed away out of my reach, and though I don’t hold her as often as I used to, I still have her in a place where she’ll be visible in my everyday life.  And with her sitting among the things that I love the most, she’s in the best and most revered place that she could be.  I love you Opal.  Thank you for being a lifelong best friend.  Your tattered pink bow is a testament to everywhere you went with me and everything that we’ve done together.