All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Toy Store
The city was alive and bustling on the frosty afternoon of Sunday, December 22nd. The shoppers on Madison Avenue had never been more stressed, three days until Christmas. They rushed from store to store frantically- taking refuge from the icy snow and blowing air. The sight was quite a spectacle, what was meant to give someone joy was giving them nothing but anxiety. The mental torment of the approaching deadline that was the holiday season never more visibly racked the brains of the average, vulnerable consumer than it did now.
Across the street, three or four avenues down but still in the shopping district, a little boy was enjoying an afternoon out with his family. Henry, younger than six years old, held his father’s hand as he merrily skipped along the sidewalk half-listening to the indistinct conversation his parents were immersed in. Unlike most others, Henry was enjoying this time. The cold did not bother him, and he was completely stress-free; no consumer deadlines were clouding his brain from better judgment.
Henry felt his father come to a complete halt, disturbing his state of bliss enough for him to look up. The crosswalk had ended, and his parents were waiting for the signal to cross. Henry blankly watched each car speed by then turned to his left. Suddenly, all of his senses came to life. He saw the largest, most enchanting, and most decorated building he had ever seen. Looking around even more, little Henry gained more awareness of his current position. Fifth Avenue.
Split seconds before the crosswalk sign was about to change, Henry tugged on his father’s overcoat and pointed to the building. “Can we go inside, Father?” he asked.
Not being able to resist the little boy’s pleading eyes, the boy’s father signaled to his mother and the trio walked toward the building just as the crosswalk sign changed.
Once Henry stepped foot in the building, he realized he had entered a completely different world. His hands were no longer shaking from the cold and his brain was no longer deep in thought; he had entered the world of superficial commercialism and false happiness. He had entered a toy store. Bright, glowing strings of lights hung from the tall ceiling to the floor. Vibrant colors were plastered everywhere. Uncountable numbers of children huddled around store employees giving demonstrations of toys. Gadgets and gizmos whizzed as they flew this way and that. Enchanting music played loudly in the background enticing Henry to walk further in. All regard of the real world left him. Henry, as one can imagine, was overflowing with excitement and euphoria. He ran through the store playing with different toys, hugging stuffed animals, and trying out new gadgets. His parents watched contently as the smile on their child’s face grew larger and larger.
It was not until an hour had passed that Henry’s mother came to him and said, “Come Henry. Let us go to lunch now.”
“Can we get these?” Henry asked instantaneously holding up an arm full of trinkets and knickknacks.
“Ah, perhaps another time. It is almost Christmas, and you will be getting plenty of presents then.”
“I want these,” Henry persisted.
“My love, we have to go to lunch. You will be receiving other gifts three days from now,” his mother stipulated.
Despite his mother’s best efforts to ease Henry out of the store that had so cleverly sucked him in, Henry’s exit was anything but easy. Tears flooded from his eyes as he begged and shouted. The warm, happy world he had just discovered was so quickly fading away. His father had to carry him outside. What seemed to give the boy such great joy and pure happiness was now causing him a pain greater than he had ever felt. He felt a longing, a need to be back in that happy place. After experiencing such an alluring abundance of materialism, Henry would forever feel empty until he got to return. Happiness meant something different to him now and along with it, came great anguish.