I have always loved dolls. The morning stands out like a well developed Polaroid, etched deep into the corner of my brain. It’s the corner which keeps my happy thoughts. I keep memories of walking through dead , scrunching leaves on a winter morning and cycling down a slope on a sunny day in there.
We are in the throes of a childhood memory; embracing the moment, hoping to never let it go. My hands are soft and pudgy, capable of holding only little things, meant for little hands, such as mine. The room is full of colours. I see bright oranges, sunny yellows and sparkling greens. They seem to be everywhere. And then I see the doll.
The doll looks deep into my eyes, caught in the moment of a Doll universe. Entrapped in an unknown Doll’s dream, the moment seems to stretch for ages. You sit there, at the corner, nose deep in one of your silly books. The walls stand around us, pale and faded, not interfering in our invisible games of hide-and-seek; the one which we play, without needing to move a muscle. My playthings are strewn all around; miniature pots and pans, a gas stove, even a little beauty kit. It is my world, and the doll lives with me here. I want you to stay with me here, but I am afraid. I am scared of you turning my offer down. I worry about you turning up your nose from the book, crinkling your forehead and saying “what sort of a silly game is this?” That is when ma walks in.
“This cannot go on!” she says, irritation painted in a bright red on her face. I see her standing there, quiet now, without a word more. I just gape at her. The doll doesn’t look at me anymore at this moment. Its face has found something new to do; stare at the fading walls with a stone cold expression. I can’t see out of the window; not because it’s dark. It’s only because I can’t. Just.
I move my gaze and stare at the floor. The pattern on the mosaic is bright; almost alive. My mood is rotten now. I want the floor to open up and allow me to run down a flight steps, so that I can disappear forever. Ma doesn’t know all of this. She cannot read my thoughts. I sit there, a picture of grumpiness, with a million toys before me lying neglected. As she gets ready to shoot another of her verbal arrows, you finally take your nose out of the book and look at her. Then you say “Why do you have to bother her? She doesn’t want to go! Let her be!”
The silent room somehow turns more silent. It feels as silent as a grave now. Ma just stands there looking at you. She doesn’t say anything. I haven’t changed my expression, but there seems to be a toy train filled with pretty flowers running around in circles in my head. The doll doesn’t seem to be interested in taking part at the proceedings, and continues to stare at the wall. You go back to reading your book. There may be guilt on your mind, but it doesn’t show on your forehead. Ma, perhaps in hope for some sort of a follow up, waits for a little while. When she sees no reaction from you, she decides to exit, stage right. She is gone for now, and with it, the room becomes a little brighter. I decide to go back to playing, considering you are back to reading. The doll now comes back from her doll universe and decides to spend time with me.
Ma is standing at the corridor speaking to another woman. I can’t see her face, but from Ma’s voice, I can make out that she is talking about the events that transpired a while back. I concentrate till the point I can hear her clearly. She tells her about how I don’t talk to her and won’t go back. She sounds perplexed. She says she doesn’t know how you know everything about me; what I want, what I would say or maybe wish for. Then I hear the other woman’s voice for the first time. It sounds like someone running a chalk on the blackboard. I don’t want to hear, but I have to. She says that there is only one solution to the entire predicament; and then she drops the bomb. She tells her that you must go back. You can’t talk on my behalf for the whole of my existence. You must be sent home.
I am so engrossed, that I don’t notice the walls or you or anything. I suddenly look around to find that everything around has changed. We aren’t kids anymore. The room is gone. We stand on the prettiest sea shore that was ever made. The beach is made up of sand which sparkles like diamond. We stand facing a emerald blue sea, packed prettily with a powdered blue sky. The doll is gone, and so are the toys; Ma cannot be seen anywhere either. That is when you suddenly break out “Go to the sea and never come back!” It almost sounds comical, but I am too happy to notice. I race down the beautiful beach towards the sea, the sand scrunching beneath my feet like coarse silk. The waves crash softly on the shore, spraying their foam in a soft caress, as droplets land on my face in soft unheard steps. I look back in a moment of elation. That’s when I notice that the beach is empty.
You are not there. In a moment of panic, I scream your name over and over. There is no reply. The sky darkens. The sea is turning into a deep shade of azure as I speak. The sand slowly heats up, like baking coals. I am still screaming.
And then, in the moment of desperation, I wake up...
(based on a real dream, which was narrated to me; the guy in the story is actually me in the dream...)