Garage sales always caused pure mayhem and panic in Andy's room. The moment Andy's mom would start hinting at it, fear struck the plastic hearts of the toys. While some were confident that they would never be placed inside cardboard boxes labeled 25 cents, others weren't so calm. Among these toys was Bo Peep. She had been one of Molly's first toys when Andy's parents discovered that they were expecting a baby girl. True, a porcelain sheep herder doll wasn't exactly a proper toy for a newborn but they had the intention of giving her to Molly once she was old enough to appreciate her.
As fate would have it, Molly never showed any interest in Bo Peep as she grew up. There was a long time when Bo Peep thought her life was going to be nothing more than sitting on the shelf, watching Andy and Molly play with their toys and wishing that she could someday be as loved as those toys on the ground were. Birthdays and Christmases became times of anger and hatred for Bo Peep as she witnessed more toys entering the household, toys that would never know the life of an unplayed toy. On more than one occasion, she considered jumping from her shelf and shattering into a million pieces. No one would care. Andy's mom would probably sigh at the money she wasted buying such a pretty little trinket before sweeping the porcelain into the trash.
Bo Peep shuddered at the thought of her darkest hours. She was glad those days were in the past but now she was worried that she would experience it all over again. With difficulty, she stood from the wooden W letter block she had been placed on by Andy. She leaned against her staff and hobbled to Andy's bed. During the monthly room cleaning, her right leg snapped in two. She truly became her role as a damsel-in-distress. Even though Andy ran to tell his mother of the tragic incident, Bo Peep knew it was only a matter of time before she was going to be tossed out. Andy's mom wasn't exactly the fixing a toy type. She remembered the time when Woody's arm fell off not too long ago and all Andy's mom did was put him on the same shelf Bo Peep had spent too many years. Bo Peep didn't doubt that Andy's mom would've left Woody there to rot if it hadn't been for the accident with the yard sale.
Woody. Just the thought of him sent chills down her spine and made her painted pink cheeks rosier. He was the reason why she didn't jump, the reason she decided that good fortune may come her way. He was given to Andy for Christmas one year because Andy wouldn't stop pestering his mom for a cowboy doll. From the moment Woody was brought into Andy's room, his glossy brown eyes met hers and remained on her as Andy introduced him to the rest of the toys. It was only a short while after that when Andy decided that Woody needed someone to save and Andy's mom knew the perfect money saving option. That was the only time Bo Peep liked Andy's mom.
"Well, howdy, little lady."
Bo Peep smiled. "Hello, Sheriff."
"What's a pretty lady like yourself wandering the room for? You need to rest," Woody said.
"If I got any more rest, I'd be sitting in a dumpster."
Grief flashed in Woody's eyes and she immediately regretted speaking her inner thoughts. They had always spoken freely with each other but right now, he needed her to have the same hope that was burning inside his cotton filled chest.
"Sorry," she murmured.
Woody didn't respond. Instead, he swept her off the ground and carried her to where the other toys were assembled. Woody was holding one of his famous preparatory meetings. He liked to keep the toys informed and alert. She wrapped her arms around his neck and breathed in the comforting polyester of his clothes. If these were going to be her last moments with him, she wanted to remember absolutely everything she possibly could about him, even the smallest of details. Like how his iris was dotted with a ring of darker brown and the adorable dimples that were prominent when he smiled. God had surely given extra inspiration to the toymaker when Woody was created.
They joined the ring of toys and everyone spoke in hushed tones. They were all scared to death that they would be the next ones to be thrown out on the lawn. Woody made his way through the front and gently placed Bo beside Buzz and Jessie. Without any hesitation, Jessie grinned at Bo and jumped into a pleasant conversation about Bo's sheep. Bo pretended not to notice the sad look Buzz gave Woody and the angry expression in Woody's eyes as he whispered something to Buzz under his breath before stomping to the front of the crowd. No doubt the short exchange had been about Bo and she was flattered for Buzz's concern.
The toy speaker squealed to life and Woody tapped the microphone out of habit.
"Hello, is this thing on?" he said. "Alright, onto business."
He looked down to his clipboard and pursed his lips into a thinner line. There was nothing written on it, everyone knew that. Nothing had been particularly newsworthy besides Bo's broken leg and the upcoming garage sale. A majority of the toys already put two-and-two together and wondered how Woody would deal with the loss of a toy who was practically his wife.
"As most of you know, there have been rumors of a yard sale," he began slowly. "These rumors are true." He cracked an encouraging smiles amidst the hopeless gasps. "It seems like it's one mainly for the parents. They have a lot of things that they don't need any more. Andy's mom didn't even ask for Andy to start looking for things he didn't want anymore. I'm sure we'll be fine."
"We all know you'll be fine," Mr. Potato Head said angrily. "But what about us playschool toys? Andy won't want us anymore."
"He won't?" Rex chimed in. "I make such a good dinosaur. He would never want to get rid of me. Would he?
"Guys, c'mon!" Woody shouted, throwing the microphone to the ground.
The crowd fell silent. Woody never mistreated another toy before, even mildly. The speaker looked surprised and took a wary swishing step back. Woody grasped the edges of his podium firmly and stared at the ground. Ragged breaths shook his slim shoulders. He was trying to hold it together and he was failing. Bo didn't want the toys to see Woody in such a distraught state. She promptly nudged Buzz in the side. His face was still sad when he looked over to her.
"You need to do something. They can't see their leader struggle like this. They'll lose hope," she whispered in his ear.
Buzz nodded and leapt to the front, launching into what to do in case of being sold. Bo stood as well and limped her way to Woody. She tugged him away from his podium and used him as a crutch as they left the assembly of toys. They made their way to her wooden W block and Bo slumped down before Woody could join her. The walk had been more exhausting than she had anticipated.
"Woody," she said softly. "C'mon, sit down."
She took his hands and gently pulled him next to her. Limply, he plopped down and rested his head on her shoulder. They were only quiet for a few moments before Woody began crying. Bo fought back her own tears as she hugged Woody tightly. She kissed the top of his head and traced a finger along the red lines on his shirt. It was strange being the calm one for once. All times before when it seemed like nothing would be right, it had been Woody who been so hopeful and made it his duty to make things go accordingly.
"I c-can't lose you," Woody sobbed. "I just can't."
"I know," she said. "I know."
He raised his head and stared hard at her. "We'll get you fixed, I promise."
"No," he interrupted. "You will be fine. Your leg will be as good as new! The old man who fixed my arm, he can fix your leg easily! We just need to find him and take you to him. Or find some way to get him here. It'll work, we've done crazier things before."
Bo giggled. "You can say that again."
Woody snapped back to his confident self again. He sprang to his feet and held her face in his hands. "See? Everything will be fine." He placed a soft kiss on the tip of her nose. "Everything will be fine," he repeated.
Woody sat back down and slung an arm around her waist. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm scared," she admitted. "I wish I could have your confidence."
"I've got more than enough to share," he teased.
Bo laughed and she looked up at the face she had loved at first sight. Despite his regained easiness, she knew that he was still fretting about her. There wasn't anything he could hide from her and vice versa. They had always been there for each other, ever since Woody first rescued her from the Evil Doctor Pork Chop. Bo couldn't imagine her life without him carrying the sun to light up her nights.
"What are you thinking?" she asked quietly.
"How much I love you," he said.
The words felt like an ice cold bath after sitting in the sun all day. Bo knew that he loved her but he had never said it. He had never actually said the words I love you until now, a day before she was most likely going to be given away. Woody tightened his grip on her waist and pressed his cheek to the top of her head.
"I love you, Bo Peep, and I will do whatever it takes to keep you with me," he said.
No words came to her mind. There was no proper response she could think of saying. She only heard I love you, Bo Peep running through her mind on endless replay.
"You were the first toy that told me that I was a toy. I was like Buzz, a pompous stuck up cowboy doll that thought he was genuinely a sheriff. You brought me down to earth and in the process, I fell in love with you." His speech was slow and deliberate, like he had been planning to say this for a long time. "When it became evident that you reciprocated my feelings, I couldn't have been happier. That first kiss you gave me…" He chuckled at the thought and Bo couldn't help smile either.
They were at the end of playtime and Woody had just saved Bo for probably the hundredth time that week. It was a bit embarrassing to always be the one in danger but she was more than happy to oblige. Andy made Bo say, "My hero!" to Woody and made them kiss with "Muah, muah, muah!" as commentary. Once Andy left the room and the other toys went their separate ways, Woody ran to Bo with his arms flailing behind him.
"Can I have a redo?" he had asked. "I feel like I could do that much better without Andy forcing me to." Andy had a hard time trying to find them when he returned.
Bo looked up at Woody and touched his face. "Why are you saying all of this now? Why not earlier?"
"I dunno… I guess I thought it didn't need any saying," he said. "But if something happens to us, I want you to know that I love you and always will love you."
"Sheriff's gone soft!" she teased, poking his badge.
Woody grinned for a moment before growing serious again. "Bo…"
She already knew what he was going to say. Throwing her arms around him, she kissed him with as much passion as a toy can kiss another. "I love you too, Woody," she said after they parted. "You're the whole reason I'm even alive right now."
They fell silent after that and simply held each other. Woody left her for only a few minutes to tell Buzz that he was going to be with Bo tonight and that if Andy needed a toy to sleep with that Buzz needed to be the one to fill that position. Exhausted from the exertion of the day, Bo found herself drifting asleep while Woody was talking to Buzz. She attempted to stay awake but she simply didn't have enough willpower. She lowered herself to the floor and fell asleep before Woody could return.
Rays of sun pricked at Bo's closed eyes. High pitched squeals of laughter rang throughout the morning air. Bo didn't have to open her eyes to know where she was. She was at the garage sale inside the 25 cent box.
"I don't see why she's the one selling Bo Peep though! She never played with her a day in her life!"
Andy was arguing with his mother nearby. He sounded genuinely upset and Bo was touched by his concern.
"You know how much she wants that Barbie doll from Al's Toy Barn," his mom said. "I told her that if she wanted to get it, she would have to help buy it. She's merely being responsible."
"But who's going to buy a broken Bo Peep, Mom? I can fix her," Andy said.
"Honey, you're fifteen. You don't really even play with your toys any more. Bo Peep can go to a better home where she'll be played with. Now go check on Molly. She's making me nervous being inside without adult supervision."
Andy huffed away, clearly unhappy on how the argument played out. Bo couldn't blame him. His mom was a demon sent to earth to torment toys.
Discreetly, Bo glanced around the box to see the other unfortunate toys that had joined her. From her perspective of laying down, she saw a multitude of Polly Pockets and all their accessories. There were a few picture books and she sadly saw that Wheezy was slumped in a corner. It was only a matter of time before everything in the box was sold and she would be the only one left. Andy was right. Who would buy a broken Bo Peep?
She knew Woody would be planning an elaborate rescue mission but he couldn't prevent the inevitable. He would have to learn to live without her. Buzz and Jessie would keep him company and Mr. Potato Head and Ham would drive him crazy. Life would continue on without her. It was strange how calmly she accepted her fate. She'd been preparing for the moment, she thought, ever since Andy slowly stopped playing with his toys. Everyone knew that their lot in life would come to end sooner than later.
The morning wore on without much excitement. The 25 cent box emptied rather quickly and by the end of the morning, Bo Peep was the only toy left. There had been no sign of a rescue mission and Bo didn't mind. She recalled the words Woody had told her the previous night and knew that everything was happening for a reason. Everything will be fine.
Once it was well into the afternoon, Andy's mom began to clean up the yard sale. She paused a moment, peering inside the 25 cent box. With only Bo Peep inside, she sighed and picked up the box. Leaves and dirt had accumulated throughout the day and there was a fine layer of dust covering Bo like a blanket. Andy mom began walking away from the house. Risking the chance of being caught, Bo quietly crept to the edge of the box and stuck her head up to look at the house. She could see all the toys gathered on Andy's window sill, Woody holding Lenny to his eyes. His gaze was fixed on Bo and she rose a hand to wave farewell at him. At that moment, Andy's mom tilted the box and Bo slid to the opposite edge. In a matter of seconds, Bo went from being a broken toy in a garage sale to a piece of garbage. She fell to the bottom of the trash can and felt herself shatter.
There was no pain, like she expected. There was no epiphany moment of the meaning of life or anything remarkable. There was only one thought. Everything will be fine.