A pounce was all it took to get Calvin back, when he was distracted with school and his parents and Susie. When these times happened, something was different. It was like he wasn't there. Just Wasn't. He would panic, would scurry to be acknowledged, a wisecrack, an insult, a tackle, and he would be his again. Fighting, yes, but with HIM.

Days spent wandering through the woods and rolling down hills and cliffs and pricker bushes in a rickety red wagon, talking and laughing, faded. They seemed to go on forever at the time, but looking back they were as short as a blink in an infinite minute.

He was animated with Calvin. Without him he was nothing, a toy, fabric stuffing stitches little buttons eyes, not moving and not thinking. A throwaway creation of the mind. But with Calvin, he was real.

He moved.

He was.

It got harder, as time went on, to bring Calvin back to him. A pounce that missed, an insult unheard, a tackle unfelt. He would push him aside and move away.

His motions became slower, his movements farther apart. He talked less. He was less. He receded farther and farther everyday, hidden beneath shirts and blankets and under the bed. Then, sometimes, Calvin would remember him and pull him out, and for a glorious afternoon, they were together again. Their love was unbreakable in those moments.

Then those times became fewer too.

Until finally, he stopped moving all together, button eyes blank and love nonexistent, hidden and dusty and forgotten.