Hobbes had always calculated the years by how the seasons changed. At first, he did this to determine what kind of games he and his Calvin could play. Winter was for sledding and ice sculptures. Hobbes and his Calvin (for Calvin was his boy, his best friend) would dress in the cold white light of morning, throwing snow pants and scarves everywhere as they tried to dress for both warmth and mobility. Then the pair would bounce down the stairs, and out the door, feverishly making a path in the untouched snow. "What do you want to do?!" his boy would ask, staring out into the sun like an adventuring pioneer. "Let's go ice fishing!" Hobbes would say, smacking his lips. "Let's make a giant snowman with a beanstalk!" Calvin would fire back, and so their ideas for the uncharted day would continue. No matter what they did during that cold winter day- sledding, or ice fishing, snowman building, or firing snowballs at Suzie while she walked past- it would always end the same way. The duo would troop back, wet and cold, to sit in front of the fire, leaning against each other as they relived the day's events, just happy to be with each other.
Spring would not be much different. After a scolding reminder from his mother, Calvin would grab his jacket and the pair would amble out again, stopping only for Calvin to hide his jacket somewhere so he could run through the grass free. Free like his Hobbes. They would then stop in front of their tree, throw themselves beneath it, and point out all the birds that were returning from their winter trip down south. Hobbes would lick his lips as he watched them sail above them. His Calvin would close his eyes and settle back against the trunk to imagine himself making that same trip south and back home once again. And as they would try to sail down the hill in their wagon, the wheels would get caught on the many muddy ruts that plagued the area. The wagon would stop short and Hobbes and his boy would be thrown forward, as if from a cannon, into the mud where they would laugh and fall over each other. They would then lay in the field, side by side, as the warm sun dried the mud off their bodies and his Calvin would moan about the bath he would have to take later. Hobbes would try to groom Calvin himself, but the mud was always too stubborn for a tiger's tongue.
When Hobbes would think back on summer, his worn mouth would twitch into a tiny smile. Summer was his boy's season. Calvin would not have to go to school every day. Instead, they were together. After several bowls of that horrid cereal Calvin would eat every day, the duo would relax in front of the television set, laughing at all the silly things that humans did. Squeezed into that tiny armchair, the pair would remark back and forth on how better it was to be a tiger. Calvin would take out his transmogrifier, and he would change himself for a day, happy to be something besides human. On days that his Calvin was human, they would fish, swim, make new mandates for G.R.O.S.S (arguing all the while) and even stargaze, reflecting on how meaningless their actions were. But that didn't matter, because they had each other. And too bad if the world couldn't see that!
Autumn was not a happy time for his boy. Hobbes would open his eyes ever so slightly as he watched Calvin get out of bed, and get dressed. Calvin's eyes would be sunken and sad as he walked down the stairs for his cereal. Another school year. Hobbes would follow after him, and Calvin would pick him up, embrace him sadly, and bring him to the table so he could have some company before he would be off. As Hobbes would stand by his boy at the bus stop, he'd try his hardest to cheer Calvin up before that yellow bus emerged from around the corner and Calvin would have to get on. Calvin would move to the back of the bus, and would sit by himself, nose against the glass as he waved at his stationary tiger waiting at the curb. Hobbes would wave back and prepare on how best to surprise Calvin when he got home. Hobbes did not mean to tackle and injure his boy. He only wanted his boy to know that someone missed him, loved him, and wanted to see him. And when Calvin did come home and Hobbes gave him his proper hello, they would take some apples and comics and sit underneath the colorful trees. Calvin would bite into his apple and quietly narrate his day. How he was ostracized for not knowing a problem, what Moe stole from him that day only after he was beat up, and how his mother got another call from the principal and that his television privileges were now revoked. His Calvin would lean against the tree trunk, bitter tears in his eyes, and Hobbes would wrap his arms around him, allowing Calvin to cry into his fur. It was okay, because Calvin had Hobbes.
But now, Hobbes only thought of these things instead of partaking in them when the seasons would float by. Calvin was older. He never forgot his best friend, and placed Hobbes on a chair at the side of the room so Hobbes could see him. The desk became hampered with more books. The comics grew dusty, and the transmogrifier was thrown out long ago. His Calvin had more friends. He had more teachers. Nine, instead of one, Calvin told Hobbes. Calvin would bring Suzie Derkins into his bedroom and close the door when his mother would leave on an errand. Calvin didn't eat breakfast anymore and exercised in his room to make himself look more appealing. His boy was not his boy anymore.
Calvin disagreed. He'd ruffle Hobbes' fur when he would leave the bedroom, rant about sports scores and who had a better car than whom, and where he would be taking Suzie on Saturday night. Hobbes would open his sewn mouth and say "Can we watch cartoons on Saturday morning like we used to?" and Calvin would shake his head, saying "I've got to sleep in"
Hobbes missed his boy.