I had a toy dog. His name was Boom Boom.
I used to ride around on him when I was two and three. I’d fall off and go “Boom!” That’s how he got the name Boom Boom. I loved that dog and I took him with me when we moved to a new apartment when I was 4. My mother said there wasn’t enough room for Boom Boom in our new apartment near the Hudson River and so Boom Boom had to stay in the storage room in the basement. I’d think of Boom Boom, all alone, patiently existing in the storage room. At some point the storage room, filled with valises and trunks, became the bike room, filled now with valises and trunks and bikes.
Boom Boom never knew a needle and its pain, never knew joy or fear, disappointment, bliss or courage. But it seemed to me that he was always on the verge of knowing them, that he was always on the verge of becoming real. Doesn’t it often seem better to be on the verge of something than to actually get there? Because the verge of getting there is filled with anticipation of the yet to come, with total focus of your organism on the yet to come. When the verge spills over into the culmination, into the gotten there, into the actually happened, there is an immediate falling off into less. No more anticipation, no more total focus. If the culmination is A, the instant after the culmination is A-1. So I thought it was probably better for Boom Boom to always remain on the verge of being real.
When I was five, Mommy and I went to the storage and bike room. We took Boom Boom out of the basement. I started to cry. “You’re too big a girl to have a toy dog,” she said. When you’re bigger we’ll get you a real dog.” When we got to the street, Mommy told me to say goodbye to Boom Boom. I told her I didn’t want him to go. But she said again that I was too big a girl to have a toy dog. My mother picked Boom Boom up under his tummy and went around the corner. Mommy came back, but Boom Boom never did. For a while after that, I didn’t want to call my mother “Mommy”. I wanted to punish her for taking Boom Boom away from me. But I couldn’t stop calling her Mommy. Years went by, like they always do. When I finally got the nerve to not call her Mommy, it didn’t matter anymore. And I was always on the verge of getting a real dog.