Toy Girl

June 30, 2009
By , Kula, HI
The act starts, and my mother’s white cotton curtains, delicately lined with silk lace embroideries, are drawn from the clumsily stitched stage, after being temporarily glued together by a mere pink diaper pin, mine in fact. On the subject of diapers, whatever color pins, I don’t need them anymore, and don’t care to wear them ever again. In stead, being old enough, three already, I wear a complete color coordinated outfit designed by my mother; embarrassed to have me dressed in anything other then the 50’s norm, especially when presented in public, or her friends. I hate the restricting outfits like I hate the pictures in which I am forced to smile like a happy fool, and I am not happy. My tiny child’s chest excluded from light and air, under the thick wool dress, that I now wear, makes me feel like a pinned butterfly in a glossy frame, the collar buttoned up to my chin is excruciating. My legs itch below my tights, sending waves of heat to every part of my body, except my poor little feet, which I can’t feel at all, due to the extreme lacing of my black tap shoes. If only my head were free, I think, the heat may escape, but I have a hat too, of yes I do, a black top hat, shiny, which matches both my shoes and velvet vest. Everything is shiny, and I can’t see much.

The spotlights bright, not hot though, cold white, I think I am blind. I can’t differentiate between the camera flashes and my heartbeat, so fast it thumps now. The flashes continue randomly, for once I smile for real, because the adrenaline pumping in my delicate blue veins denies my face the luxury to relax. Looking back at the pictures, I look like a stuffed dummy, frozen with the same creepy smile. Fake.

“Debbie Sue? Ya’ gunna show us some tricks?” my mother pressures. My fake smile parts slightly, just enough to peep out a high pitched,

“Ya!”

After disappearing behind one side of the white drape, for a second or two, I feel relieved, as though this whole thing really wasn’t happening, until I get the familiar feeling of having lost something, the leash! A jeweled leash attaches me to my mother’s idea of a family dog, an insane blood thirsty toy puddle, Patu, a French name I never attempted to learn the meaning of for my extreme disgust and lack of emotional attachment to Patu, that vile biting pouch. Actually my only attempt at anything around Patu was the hope of escape. In the backyard, from morning to dusk, I swear Patu lived in constant planning, under his red shabby doghouse, as to which way he would most like to bite my little white ankles. Luckily my frilly sock covered bit marks, leaving time to heal the punctures, but just time enough to gain new ones. God only knows why that dog lived so long, till his eyes couldn’t see, till his legs gave out. Stubborn little thing.

I walk him around a bit at first, straight, then in circles, for the crowd’s pleasure. They like to see the control, the leadership, the dog’s companionship; I keep my ankles as far away as possible, walking slightly sideways. At the right time my mother signals I have spent enough time walking lamely, and I can see her eyes darting about madly, looking for the slightest look of boredom in her guests.

“Jump!” I squeak, and Patu jumps. But I know he only jumps because he’s getting treats, thick juicy pieces of frozen bacon grease, scrapped straight off the morning pan, which I feed to him so slyly that no one has ever considered the least bit of disobedience from him. I can feel him do it, as the cardboard like stage vibrates, but I don’t look. I think if I look at him, I will cry, I hate him so much. I picture the holes from his tiny teeth on my ankles. My mother eyes me; this is her way of yelling.

“Sit!” I feed him a cube of grease, and squirm at the gooey residue left behind.

“Lay!” He does.

“Rollover!” I demand, and it sounds like a demand, the audience believes it’s a demand, but they don’t see what I do, they aren’t looking hard enough. They are happy watching, entertained, happy fools.

“Shake” is the last thing I hear myself say, before my mother’s white curtains tumble down, and it is over, just like that, just how it began, and I am truly happy, and with no camera’s to capture it either, what a waste. So I sit smiling, hidden, alone, on the steps of my house, while my mother hosts the parties, her friends, always talking, while my restricting costumes clench at my body, leaving no room to sweat, and my feet free as birds, open to the air, white and sweet and fragile one again, digging into the thick grass, over and over again, like thick earthy worms, until my toes are muddy and cool.





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