The Living Doll: A WD Prompt

“While shopping downtown one day, you find an antiques store that has a rare, old doll. You buy it for your daughter. A few days later she tells you her new toy can talk. You don’t believe her, until one afternoon you find yourself alone in the house, and it starts talking to you. Write this scene.”
-Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompt: The Living Doll

My response:

Her porcelain face and crocheted dress remind me of Nanny.  She used to make dolls, long ago.  Then she started just collecting them.  They were so much a part of her life that everyone called her Dolly, from her husband to her sister to her friends.  I grew up with her, surrounded by her dolls, and I’m getting so sentimental that I’m about to start crying right there in the antiques store.  But that’s nothing new; I cry all the time lately.  And then that red haired doll with the peridot green dress, just like her old ring, pops into my head.  It was meant to be a Christmas gift, but she didn’t live long enough to get it.  We still unpack it, every year, and fuss over it just the way she would have.  I still set up her nativity just the way she did, painstakingly thorough.  And there it is; I can’t hold back the fountain and I start bawling.  The nice old lady that works there comes to see if I’m alright.  I smile and say yes, and that the doll is beautiful and I’ll take her.

We get back home and I bring her to her new room.  I set her on a shelf and stare for a while.

I wonder what kind of story this Dolly would tell.  I wonder if she was lovingly made by steady hands and passed on to the next generation.  I wonder if she was forgotten and put in an attic.  I know there are people out there that just aren’t sentimental, and would sell her away for a quick buck.  I know there are unfortunate cases where family heirlooms are sold just so someone can eat.

However she got here, I feel like it’s a sad story.  I don’t like sad stories.

I take her off the nursery shelf and hold her close to the bump that’s been steadily growing over the last seven months, where my abs used to be.  “Whatever your story was, Dolly, it’s time to make a new one.”

For Nanny, with love.


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