One evening in 2011, Fiona and I took the M train to Babies R Us on Metropolitan Avenue in Queens. On the way home, we got on the train at the same time as a little girl—probably about five—and her parents. She seemed to be in a great mood and was playing with a little green dog. After talking with her parents for a few seconds in (I think) Romanian, she bounced over to Fiona and started playing with her. Fiona was very happy to have a playmate, and Maria—the little girl—shared her little dog, who she said was named Bear. Her parents asked to take a picture of Fiona, Maria, and Bear playing together. Then, at Seneca Avenue, Maria and her parents were ready to get off the train, and I handed Bear back to Maria. But she and her parents said no, Bear belonged to Fiona now. I almost cried when I realized that they had gotten on the train with the express purpose of finding a kid who would love Maria’s dog-bear. We thought about renaming Bear “Seneca,” after the stop where they got off the train, but settled on “Maria” instead, in honor of the lovely little girl who outgrew a toy and went looking for someone to give it a good home.
This article appeared on page 9 of Issue 12 | October 2013.