Burning the house
Some 85 years ago I was sitting in a toy shop in the city centre when a man stopped and looked at me. His face was somehow pained, but he picked me up and proceeded to the cash register.
He carried me in his arms that evening to his home on the seafront and now he had a smile on his face. Seemed happy, was even whistling if I remember correctly.
He opened the garden gate and was greeted by a little dark-haired girl looking up at the man - her father, I presumed - with an expression that was not quite fear but fear mixed with hope, maybe? I did not understand their relationship at this stage, but I would soon learn.
I played with her for a while that evening and after supper she returned to her room and sat on the floor just looking at me. After a few minutes the bedroom door creaked and in walked the man who had bought me. He was all smiles now.
“You like your present?”
“Yes, yes, thank you so much Daddy.”
“That’s okay, come sit on my lap now as my reward”.
The little girl freezes, there is always a price to pay but just this once I can see she had hoped that she would not have to pay. Not now, not ever!
He scooped her up in his arms and sat down on a little wooden chair that was in her room too. Looked like the legs had been cut short to make it a child’s chair, who knows? Now I will not tell you all I saw or heard as I find it way too difficult to relate to you or anyone, but I will say: poor, poor child.
Over the years this happened many times until the father died. I don’t like using that word “father” for him as he was no father. I was not used as much. We moved around but I was always brought with the little girl, even as she grew to a beautiful young woman.
Then, one day, many years later, having gathered dust in many an attic, I was taken out and cleaned up. I even got a coat of paint, wallpaper and some lights that were worked on batteries. I looked and felt better than new.
It was Christmas time and a new little girl with dark curls and even darker eyes received me as her Christmas present. I was full of hope. Hope that this time I would not have to shut my eyes to stop from seeing or close my ears to stop from hearing. But sadly, this was not to be.
This time the offender was the mother’s brother, the son of the man that had originally purchased me. The cycle continues.
I was not played with as much by this little girl and I could never understand why. It was as if she knew I knew and was annoyed that I didn’t say anything. I wish I had been able to explain to her that although I could see and hear I could not speak. Otherwise I would have spoken out, but what are wishes but dreams that won’t come true.
For many years, like her mother, this little girl brought me wherever she went. From house to house, from county to county, from country to country.
Fast forward to another little girl who came into my life. Well, that is not totally honest. She was there but I was never given to her nor did she seem to want me. Yet wherever she and her mother went, I went too.
After many years of just being there, there was a house fire and I was relegated to the shed.
I was later brought back into the house, given a good clean and I sat, pride of place in the bedroom of the now grown-up dark-haired and even darker-eyed girl.
I was content, happy to be part of their lives again…
Yet now I am talking to you from doll’s house heaven. One morning, the mother just picked me up and took me outside and unceremoniously dumped on the skip. Here I sat for a week or so. I lost track of time until one morning, when no one else was around, she took me from the skip and put me on the bonfire.
I was stuffed with firelighters and set alight, I had no idea what I had done wrong. What had I done to deserve being treated this way. Well as I lay there burning I listened to her one last time and I heard her say,
“Now the chain in truly broken, you have seen too much, be at peace now.”
I could see the expression on her face change from hurt, angry and scared as a kind of peace washed over it. Well, at least I am hoping that is what I saw as it is the last memory that I have of my dark-haired and even darker-eyed little girl.
I am at peace now and I am hoping that one day she too will be.