The Doll

By: Jessica Wang

There once was a time when the top of my head could not yet reach father’s thigh and my pudgy hands were no bigger than those sour tangerines mother used to buy from the local market. Still, I didn’t let any of that stop me from falling in love.

She was beautiful, with pale delicate hands and rich red lips that highlighted the soft curve of her porcelain nose. Her hair was made of plain yellow glass, but she still upheld the posture of an elegant lady with high status. Even the sun itself hid jealously behind the clouds. Her brilliance was so magnificent that she had her own pedestal complete with a cherry silk umbrella to keep the pesky rain drops away. On the bottom shelf all the toys were sullen and dull knowing that they could never match up to her beauty.

Every day I passed her on the sidewalk to kindergarten, and would feel the familiar rush of awe and excitement cascading through my body like tiny jolts of lightning. I would always press my nose flat against the store’s window and rub off the dirt and dust just to catch a better glimpse of my beloved. Those who walked by gave me funny looks, but could not possibly understand the constant yearning in my chest. My poor heart was ill, and the only cure was to hold my beloved's hand in mine.

Once I even gathered the courage to win my doll over. I stood two feet shorter under the store counter and tried my best to woo my love with a few meager pennies. Copper pennies picked up from the sidewalk, however, could not buy the exorbitant price of love.

But I was willing to pay the heavy price with tedious chores and selling overpriced sugary lemonade. I used a glass jar to collect my meager earnings and stored the precious container behind mutilated Barbie limbs and a dollar store Yo-Yo. At night I dreamed of what she would add to my collection of Beanie Babies and how I would treat her like a coveted princess and offer her pretend tea over plastic frosted cookies. The magic we would create together would be more perfect than an ending of a fairy tale.

My father chipped in by paying me five dollars for every centimeter I grew and my mother gave me two silver quarters for every bag of tangerines I carried in.
Finally, the glass jar was full.

I walked up to the counter feeling like a handsome suitor from a faraway kingdom as I looked at the storekeeper, clutching my savings to my chest. With just the simple swap of lemonade earnings and a heaping stack of quarters, my heart no longer bled.

I ran home that day, carrying my new doll close to my chest, speeding past pedestrians wearing their simple red raincoats that paled compared to the gold sheen of her dress.
But as I set her down on my tea chair, nothing happened. I searched for the pulse of magic and the sweet happiness I had anticipated, but only came up with handfuls of disappointment and regret. She was so small on the chair. My beloved was no longer the stunning goddess I once knew but just a raggedy peasant. Her small, delicate fingers could not possibly fit in mine. I had simply gotten too big.

Jessica Wang is a 16-year-old girl from New York. She is the editor of the online literary magazine "Ice Lolly Review" and hopes to one day work on a blockbuster film

Image by Mabel Amber on Pixabay