As a toddler, I had a security blanket. His name was Blankey. Blankey went everywhere with me. When my parents split up I suddenly had two homes, my mom’s during the week and my dad’s on the weekend. Someone (probably my dad, my mom is way too sentimental) decided it would be a good idea to cut Blankey in half. That way, I would have a Blankey at each home.
They cut my best friend in half.
So I had two Blankeys, except I didn’t. I had Blankey (who was now half as big) and some sad foreign object that lived in a drawer at my dad’s. (I brought my Blankey every time I stayed there).
Blankey 1 got all frayed along his cut edge and started to unravel. My Italian Great Grandmother is credited with the line, “that not blanket, that rag”. People became increasingly grossed out by Blankey 1 as he deteriorated. We couldn’t wash him anymore, I was too afraid he wouldn’t make it out of the machine alive. So, eventually I ended up with Blankey 2. They never told me what happened to Blankey 1. I, of course, suspected foul play.
By the time I was 8, Blankey 2 was also pretty gross. He was really more like a thick string than a blanket and had more than a couple of safety pins holding him together, but I wouldn’t give him up. People bought me stuffed animals and dolls, but none of them was Blankey. I couldn’t let go.
Then one night it happened. My mom and I went into Manhattan to visit my Aunt Patti, as we did quite frequently. She lived on E78th St. between York Ave. and the FDR, just one block from where I would one day move into my first apartment and across the street from an awesome playground. I know we had Blankey in the car. I was carrying him along with my mom’s latest boyfriend’s most recent attempt to persuade me to give up Blankey, a small brown stuffed dog that I had named Petey, after the boyfriend, Peter.
I was 8. I have no idea what happened. No clue where I went wrong, but by the time we got back in the car to return to Long Island, Blankey was gone. I had dropped my companion somewhere. I cried. No, I wept. No, I broke down. The loss felt like my world was ending. My mother tried to comfort me. I didn’t want it. I was mad at her for letting me lose my security. I was mad at myself for being careless. I didn’t deserve my prized possession. I cried myself to sleep.
When I woke the next morning Petey was there – the toy, not the man. He was under my head like a pillow. I had his ear wrapped around my index finger, under my nose and my thumb in my mouth. We would sleep that way for years. More years than we should have.