Today at the grocery store there was a hippo sitting on top of a shorter end cap. A glorious, overstuffed, three foot tall hippo sat there, plump and happy, asking to go home with us. I grabbed him and hugged him, the two actions with one smooth motion, and looked at David. He laughed and I didn’t know it then but he was already set on saying yes, on taking the hippo home. I turned to look for the rest of the hippo colony, somewhere in the toy aisle and found a huge display, taking over a corner of the store, of giant oversized stuffed animals. The bottom shelves were filled with brightly colored puff balls, all jammed together and I wanted to know what they were supposed to look like when I realized it was just one immensely long five foot caterpillar made up of fluffy pillows. I found the hippo’s family, yes, and I found short no-necked giraffes and smiling lions that were just a smudge too big for me to hug easily and a huge, five foot unicorn, positioned to laugh flat on a floor not like a bear rug, but as an anthropomorphic floor pillow, to be sat upon and propped against.
David called to me and we left, the hippo already part of our family. As we walked to the car we discussed names. David was stuck on names that started out with H and we agreed it seemed like a good start. We also agreed that the hippo needed to have a rather formal name, something with a history. After a couple of sample names we found the perfect one for him, and now it’s just up to me to design a scarf and costume for him to wear, something regal I think.
Helios Hippo, it is a pleasure to invite you into our home.
It seems silly, certainly, to take such a superficially indulgent purchase and lavish so much unnecessary attention on it, but that’s our apartment. We live in a Neverland loft full of small details that make us smile. Beeker is framed doing The Scream alongside several formal portrait collages of The Doctor in his first and sixth forms. A record painted white with a storm trooper carefully stenciled on, pointing his fired laser at a scarf-covered rabbit farmer I painted that is framed to the right of the record art. Bob Ross paintings in the bathroom, a TinTin poster facing a Wrath of Khan poster in the bedroom–our home is full of things that make us smile, that make us feel happy and settled and safe. That, to me, is how a home should make you feel.