I am a ball. My earliest memories are of being in a big box. I could see a silvery roof for a few minutes until I was covered by more of my brothers and sisters who were tumbling into the box. It was dark for months.
Then light. I sat on a shelf for a few days. People came and went until a figure stopped, propped and exclaimed “$2 for a rubber six-stitcher? Bargain!”. I met my owner.
It took a while to warm to him, given he clearly was seeing my worth only expressed in monetary value. I brooded as I sat in a bag of pens, post-it notes and blu-tak. Clearly, no-one in the bag was happy with their lot, except the Prockey markers, which seemed to carry our master’s favour. My wondering about what my existence was for was to cease pretty quickly, and it happened in an instant.
I was pulled out of the bag into an artificially lit room. I sat in my owner’s hand, and stared at a dozen bored looking people in suits, several sipping coffee with urgency. “Does anyone know what this is?” My owner asked.
I almost answered for them, given how long everyone just sat and blinked incredulously at the stupidity of the question. Finally someone ended the interminable silence. “It’s a rubber cricket ball.”
“No it’s not. It is a speaking ball.” And before I could prove that by saying something, I was tossed across the room and caught. “Whoever holds that ball will have the right to contribute, and everyone will have the option to listen. So Cheryl, what would you like to get out of our time together today?”.
As I bounced around the room, I understood my purpose. I brought to people the ability to have a voice, to be listened to, to be focused on. In between as I was squashed and squished, I understood I helped to ease nerves or my holder to concentrate.
I’ve seen many sights; from big auditoriums to kitchens, across Australia I’ve helped my owner do his work. I’ve sat on a bar in the function room of the Empire Hotel in the little town of Young as bankers have dissected cashflows. I’ve sweated in the steamy climes of Darwin as some al fresco learning has taken place. I’ve tried to look innocent as my owner has explained to airport security why there have been so many strange items in his carry-on.
I’ve been there at my owner’s side. He has talked to me of his loneliness sometimes in hotel rooms that all look the same. I’ve seen him jump with joyful utterances when he has devised a new idea to try with the group the next day. He loves what he does.
I remember the first time he pulled me out of that bag six years ago. His hand was trembling with nerves. He told me later it was to stop him rambling, and to hear from others instead. Yesterday he pulled me out of the bag again. He said to the group over 6,000 people had held me and shared their story, their ideas, their knowledge. He threw me to another.