Returning from a week away at the festival, my first weekend with the boy was filled with activities that included catching the latest, perfect-trilogy-breaking Toy Story 4. Best we catch up with the last film so it’s fresh in memory…
I had watched TS3 at the cinema when it came out in 2010. A year into my university degree, it held a mirror up to my own maturation and matriculation. I had grown up with Andy, and now he was leaving his toys behind for college. It struck me that I was now in the process of leaving behind adolescence and the time for play was over.
This had some poignant resonance that I was able to push down, at least for the next few years of intermittent debauchery, but it bubbled up once again this second viewing, now from a different angle.
With the boy under my arm, we watched as Woody would make desperate plays to make himself relevant to Andy, not wanting to be left behind. The moment which appears to console and allay his neuroses is telling: he watches Andy hug his mother, who is crying, out of focus in the background, and realises that they are one and the same. As do I.
He understands that his time with the boy is transitory, it exists for a short time in which the relationship is close and intertwined, but then you have to move onto other things, invest your love somewhere else.
Andy is not just leaving behind his toys, he is leaving his family.
Realising that the bond I have with this boy under my arm may never be as strong as this present moment, knowing that eventually he will outgrow the role and no longer need me, I crumble and the tears stream from my face.
I saw my father cry twice: once at a funeral for a friend, and once as he told me, without words, that our dog had been put down. And now here’s me sobbing into an existential void brought on by a fucking animated toy.
I wipe my face and look over at the boy – smiling ear to ear, clueless of his Dad’s pitiful neediness – at least we have this moment now.