When my boy number three was born, he received an elephant, soft and fluffy. It was love at first sight. His name is Tino.
One disgraced Thursday of July, we couldn’t find Tino.
The stuffed elephant wasn’t as soft and as new as one would expect, its paws couldn’t be white anymore after three years of daily dirty, kindergarten and many trips. Three years of photos with Tino everywhere, from airplane to boat, from the mountains to the sea… and than the elephant was missing. The boy had a cold and had to stay at home, it was just after lunch that day when we could not find it anymore.
I thought it will surface in the chaos of our home eventually, it couldn’t have left the building on itself, couldn’t it? But when it was time to go to sleep, Tino was still to be found. Tears and fears, a night with no sleep and first thing next morning, Friday, I started to rummage hysterically in “the jungle”, in every single centimeter of the apartment. No Tino.
The possibility of Tino being somewhere outside the house was growing and on Friday evening, He (husband) and I were trying nervously to remember every step taken during the week. Wednesday there had been a music event, my husband was sure that they had Tino while walking back. We checked twice every corner of the way from the event to our home. No Tino. Then I asked directly at the building where the event was held, no Tino. The next step was to post a help request in the whatsapp group of the Choir and, at the same time, I tried to reach so many people as possible, by phone, social networks and chat. Warmbronn is not very big, we will find Tino.
Another night with not much sleep.
By Saturday evening, Tino had been spotted in two different points of the village: one woman had seen a stuffed elephant sitting at the bus stop. Another woman noticed a stuffed elephant on the ground of the school parking. The bus stop was expolored the same day, every inches of it. No Tino. In one disperate attempt, I left a voice message to a friend who catches the bus every day: “Please, call me back as soon as you hear this. Have you seen an elephant in the last few days at the bus stop? I don’t know anyone else who uses the bus daily.” She could easily call the asylum and an ambulance, I guess. Anyway, she had not seen any “elephant” sitting at the bus stop. 30 minutes later, the witness decleared that the elephant she had seen was pink. It wasn’t Tino.
The following week, driven to the point of desperation by the lack of sleep, we explored the trail of the school parking, where we actually had been someday that week, but seemed less probable. I picked up my daughter and together we searched in every corner, moving bushes and sticks of wood, until we noticed my older son’s teacher staring at us preoccupied at our strange behaviour. Later, I asked my son to make an excuse for us with the teacher and he solved the problem, of course: “Teacher, mum isn’t crazy, she’s just looking for my brother’s elephant”. If she had doubts about my mental health, now she knows I’m insane. While there, we asked the restaurant nearby, the “Hort”, the school… no Tino.
A gentle lady, offered three stuffed elephants of her collection: a “fat” Tino, a “too small Tino”, “another Tino”. I was near to tears: the situation was absurd, but people were offering help, advice, sympathy and that helped me, at least, to bear with an inconsolable child.
Of course we could buy another elephant, a replica, if that’s what you’re thinking, you genius: we could if Karstadt, the chain where we bought the original elephant, didn’t have it out of production 2 years ago. A last existing twin was on sale in ebay for an insane price. We bought it immediately.
In the meantime, other friends suggested to ask at the lost&found office: there, they had few stuffed bunnies, a teddy bear, but no elephant, no Tino.
We couldn’t sleep, because the desperate boy couldn’t sleep properly. Then, 15 days after the disappearing, the post brought “Tino’s brother”, the boy was contented but not completely satisfied, and now and then in the last four months he asked when and if “his Tino” was going to come back home.
Then, at the beginning of November, we were all five together in the cellar, considering our ski stuff. We were about to throw away an old box… and inside, there was Tino! He and I exchanged a meaningful look, some colorful swearwords that only the Italian language could conceive, passed between us. He didn’t move from our house after all!
Our boy was full with joy, a cake was promised in celebration of the event.
All’s well that ends well.
(But Tino is grounded until hell freezes over.)