(Note: I was eating lunch in a restaurant a couple days ago (because that’s what I do) when I wandered into the adjacent gift shop (because that’s what I do) and happened upon the oddest thing for sale in the gift shop (because that’s what I do) and then I imagined how that particular item got there and wrote my imaginings (because that’s what I do)
Somewhere in the night, her life had taken a terrible turn.
She awoke on a shelf in a gift shop, unable to feel her jointed arms or legs. And she was cold. Oh, so cold. She was used to being at least somewhat clothed: a blanket, a knit hat, a wrapping made of gauze. It was never much, of course, but still, it was something.
Her body was gone. Simply…gone. No weighted arms or legs. No torso. No anything. All that was left of her was a head. And a bow of raffia tied around her neck, like some sort of serial killer’s Pinterest page come to life.
Her life had not been easy, that was certain. It was the fate of all baby posing dolls. She knew this and had had long conversations about it with her friends. Shoved in suitcases; manhandled by strangers; forced to assume unnatural positions; wrapped up like cocoons. This was their life and they had no choice but to accept it. Unlike real babies, they couldn’t cry or move or wiggle. Even if they hurt, they could make no sound.
They knew the difference. They understood they were dolls. They knew their life was make-believe and this knowledge cut them to the core. They longed to be real. They wanted to cry for hours; they wanted to spit up. My God, they dreamed for hours of what it must feel like to spit up. A couple dolls had shared a story they heard of a guy named Pinocchio who became a real boy and the thought gave their community hope. They prayed that one day they, too, would awake to find themselves real babies.
But alas, they couldn’t even open their eyes. They were forced to sleep. Always sleep.
And yet now, as her head sat mounted to a metal base and her knit hat replaced with a lampshade, she longed for those days. She felt foolish for complaining about any of it.
“I would rather be posed like a frog than a lamp! ” she cried out silently.
But, as always, no one heard her cries.
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