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A Doll's Melody

Some people say it never comes: That day of joy and hope and peace like the newly wed. Some people say it skips a generation; that it’s a rarity. Some people…those people…all people say the same thing. That joy is a one-time deal that you’ll probably never get to experience. I used to believe them—my life was theirs to toy with. Everything they said I lived by. I continued that way for a while; surfing the sad waves of life. On and on I went—wandering and pessimistic—until my day finally came….

A chaotic cacophony of noise enveloped us as we walked into the hallway. Each team had been met with a bundled surprise. My group and I stood staring at the immense bag of toys that waited in front of us. We looked around to find others erratically digging into their pile and followed suit. My team leader, Mr. Dennis, reached down and opened the goods to us. Within were toys of every kind: Baseball bats and slingshots and racecars and jump ropes and Frisbees and…. I jiggled the bag some more to get a clearer look at what else was inside. In searching, I found a strange doll buried deep. Carefully, I pulled it out and examined its cool features. The ugly doll lifted its beady eyes to meet mine. A wave of nausea washed over me as I met its blank stare. My revulsion was interrupted by Mr. Dennis’ quick command.
“Okay guys, let’s load up.”

I shivered and dropped the doll unceremoniously back onto its bed; replacing it with a handful of trinkets—the thing could die for all I cared. As I walked away with my load, I noticed a man in a blue jumpsuit heading towards our stash of toys. His face was irrelevant and inconsequential to me at the time, so I breezed past him to load my burden onto our team’s truck. Yet, as I continued to pass by him on my trips to and from the pile, I noticed him staring at me, but—more specifically—at the goods in my hands. My suspicion was aroused and I refrained from making eye contact with the strange man. Finally, I took the last journey back from the carriage. Only one more item needed to be transported: the doll. I sighed—I could have sworn this doll was mocking me—and reluctantly picked it up. All the while thinking that my other teammates had found this doll as creepy as I had; but saying aloud, “This is the ugliest doll I’ve ever seen!”. A grizzly voice beside me sparked into existence and jokingly stated, “That doll would be a perfect gift for my daughter. If you don’t want it, I would love to give it to my little girl for her birthday”.

I started, but smiled to cover up my surprise, walking swiftly away from the man who had interrupted my personal monologue. Every step I took increased the heavy burden of guilt that had settled on my soul. By the time I got to the car, its vise-like grip had constricted my heart to the point of bursting. I could no longer bear to put the doll in the truck with the other unclaimed toys. I asked one of my team members named Zach if it was okay for me to give the doll to the man. He said yes. Yet, even with this reassurance, I felt unsure of myself and deliberated over my course of action with Mr. Dennis. He, too agreed with Zach; confirming what I had so passionately tried to deny: The man needed the doll; he wanted it.

Even though I believed the thing to be as ugly as death itself, I couldn’t help but think that this man was trying to use some ulterior motives. I stood there battling myself for about two minutes before I finally made my decision. I walked slowly back toward the building; holding the doll in front of me—secure yet distant. As I approached the father, he looked up and surprise washed over his face. I hastily handed him the doll; glad to be free of its burden. Amidst this quick exchange, questions began to berate my conscience. Was I doing the right thing? Was it okay for me to take the future possessions of a child and give it to another? I confidently squashed them down with my mind’s steel heel of reassurance. This was it. No regrets. As I emerged from my triumph, my eyes refocused on the scene in front of me; they nearly fell out in shock. The man, a stranger to me but ten minutes ago, was crying to me in thanks. His eyes were drowned in pools of grateful tears, and my heart resonated with warmth at this touched reaction. I felt awkward; out of place. A shower of gratitude greeted me, but my mind was set on the past: Mainly on my father’s absence in my life. I realized with sudden clarity my true feelings: I wanted the doll, it represented my childhood; what could’ve been if my father had been there. I wanted to tell the man the truth. To tell him that the doll belonged to me and my team and that we needed it back. That his daughter couldn’t have it. I longed to deny him the chance of giving his daughter the gift of love I failed to receive so may years ago. It seemed unfair. I was a broken treasure, hurt and beaten by the pressures of life. She was golden coal, yet to be refined by the fires of love. Here was injustice. I needed the doll to make things right. I needed…I wanted so many things…yet I denied myself of them. Because I knew, in the depths of my heart, that this man loved his daughter. His actions betrayed the depths of his passion. He cared so much about his little girl that he would ask a total stranger for help in providing something he couldn’t have given her on his own. He was a kind father who deserved a chance to express his love in whatever physical way he chose. I couldn’t let my pain restrict the new joys of a child’s life.
Love’s fiery heat consumed my icy past. Peace took hold of me. I let go of my wants and surrendered the doll to the loving father. I said goodbye and walked away; feeling the soft caress of the words, “God bless you”, on my back. I looked to the heavens and punctuated the prayer with an, “Amen”. I stood there staring at the clouds, noticing how the sky winked at me, its vast blue eyes carrying me above the world’s reaches.

Looking back, I remember the exhilaration I felt at giving a child the sweet taste of love, and allowing a father the chance to feed it to her. That day, I can proudly say, was one in which I truly experienced the joys of life. A life that had, a thousand times over, betrayed my happiness to the flames, became my closest ally. My day of joy had finally arrived—surprising, overwhelming, and beloved—and fate had shined its grace on me that day by allowing me to share it with someone.




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