When I was a little girl, my parents quickly learned that sending me to my room as a punishment was, in fact, not a punishment. I loved my room. All my Barbie dolls were there.
So, when I got in trouble, they started sending me to the home office.
At first it was boring. But after rummaging around on the desk, I discovered a massive carton filled with pens and pencils.
The pens and pencils in that carton were an entire village. It was like a soap opera, filled with family drama, romantic scandals, and even a random bank robbery when an erasable pen stole a bunch of paperclips at gunpoint.
I was so caught up in the little world I had created that I started to prefer playing with the pens and pencils over my own Barbies. I would rush home from school, running straight past my bedroom, into the office and dump out the carton of pens.
The anticipation was killing me. Would Rachel, the Yellow Pages pen finally realize that her husband, the Dr. Epperdink MD pen, was cheating on her with a pink highlighter named Gwen?! Was Rick, the black Sharpie, going to get cold feet at his wedding with Sarah, the red Bic pen?
I couldn't wait to start the show!
One evening, I dumped out the carton, ready to play, when I let out a gasp.
Where was Rachel?!?
RACHEL WAS MISSING.
I scoured all over the office. How did she disappear?
I ran into the living room, where my dad was watching the news.
"Where's Rachel?" I demanded.
He looked up, perplexed.
"Rachel who?" he asked.
"Rachel, the, the, pen," I sputtered, in panic. "The Yellow Pages pen! Where is she?"
My dad stared at me.
"The Yellow Pages pen?" he repeated, blankly. "That pen wasn't working this morning. The ink is out. So I threw it away."
I shrank away in horror.
"You what?" I whispered. "You threw her away?"
With tears streaming down my face, I ran back into the office.
"Where are you Rachel?" I wailed, digging through the trash can. "I'll find you! Oh my god!"
She was nowhere to be found. I ran into the kitchen, rummaging through that trash can, throwing garbage all over the floor, desperately seeking out the Yellow Pages pen.
My parents ran into the kitchen.
"You're making a mess!" My dad roared. "You better clean that up!"
Finally clutching the discovered Yellow Pages pen, now covered in ketchup, I glared up at him.
"You killed Rachel," was all I could manage to croak.
My parents stared back at me, speechless.
Then they had a long talk in the living room.
They came back into the kitchen and told me I was no longer allowed to play with the pens and pencils.
I was devastated.
To make their point, they hid the carton from me in a locked desk drawer.
That moment marked a changing point in my life. Staring at the locked drawer, I realized that playtime was over. It was time to grow up.
I moved on.
But I never forgot.
And now sometimes when I look at a pen, for a split second, I think I see her personality stare back at me and she winks. And it jolts me back to life.
But then it fades away as quickly as it appeared.