by: JoNetta Rene’
It was nothing like I had imagined the day before. It was actually a bit worse. Bubble Yum pink and about the size of a dresser drawer, lined in a soft white cushion. Very warm and cozy I suppose considering the circumstances. I still regret saying that it was “cute” in my head because it wasn’t. They never are, no matter how fancy the craftsmanship.
My eyes stayed fixed on the object as shadows passed; some pausing to embrace and others joining their palms with mine briefly before fading into the blurriness of the crowd.
I tried to speak to these images that passed by, but my mind selfishly forced my eyes and heart to stay on this fine Bubble Yum painted woodwork, and drift off into last week.
What could I have done?
Something simple like the park would have been nice. Yes, she loves the park. The one on 61st and Broadway right by the lake, where the clouds seem nonexistent and the sun triples in size. She would have loved taking off her shoes and tip-toeing on the woodchips to get to the swings so that I could push just high enough so that she could feel like she had wings.
I bet she would have gone to the sand next. Not to construct anything, just to enjoy its gritty form and throw it around. Not worrying about whose sweat touched it before or how hard it was going to be to wash out of her locs.
I know without a doubt that she would’ve gone straight to the man-made lake thereafter, not knowing that going just one more foot, it could have swallowed her in. She would’ve known that I was only a few inches away as usual, so she could wander and splash care-free, without caution, without fear, without worry.
Yes, the park would have been nice.
“Hey Netta…Netta, are you ok?” one of the shadows whispered sympathetically. But I couldn’t respond. My mind wouldn’t allow it, it was pre-occupied, and my eyes were still fixed. My mind forced them to stay put even when salty streams found their way of escape.
The wheels on the bus go round n round, round n round, round n round….The voices in the room faded when I heard the faint melody of the ice cream truck outside. She loves ice cream. The ice cream truck came pass the house at least three times last week. Why didn’t I rush off of the shaded porch, squint my eyes and wave it down?
Of course she can’t finish an entire bomb pop, but half the joy is allowing the excess to ooze down and park in between her fingers, and then forcing her sticky fingers apart shortly after it’s dried.
Yes, I definitely should have stopped the ice cream truck. A few moments of sun light and sweat beams has to be more enduring than an eternity of cold decay.
Then one of the dark shadow forms opened it… and there she was. The perfect chocolate porcelain doll, dressed for a publication, hair and skin flawless. Makeup would’ve been no match for her perfect blend of natural hues and smoothness.
Drawn to it, I rose, unaware of gravity, floating toward the piece of work.
“I’m sorry.” escaped from my lips
“But why, it’s not your fault. It’s no one’s.” the doll replied
“I’m so sorry.” I said again, not able to recover the rest of my vocabulary
“Everything happens for a reason” she started, “I’ll be watching.”
“But I should’ve…”
“No” she interrupted, “Go and take care of the other dolls. I have someone else taking care of me now. They’re doing a great job, promise.”
As I stepped out of the large building, squinting as reality grazed my face, her words bounced around in my head like one of those rubber balls they get out of the machine for fifty cents.
And they never stopped.
Now, I love harder. I care deeper. I protect like a bullet-proof shield. Most importantly, I cherish time and spend it wisely because whether I want to accept it or not, I was there, sitting on the hard bench, aching over the reality of the Bubble Yum painted, finely crafted, cozy wooden box, that was the new residence of my tiny, year old porcelain doll.