Weekly Writing Challenge: A Few of My Favorite Things

I nearly always carry Sara in my right front pocket. She’s made of soft felt but seems indestructible. Whoever sewed her together made the stitches neatly, tight and invisible. She wears a simple blue dress, white booties and a white kerchief. Her hair, her eyes, her mouth are all strokes of matte embroidery.

She’s just a doll.

I’m too old for dolls, but I’ve always loved them. As a little girl, I’d sit up in the shopping cart and point as we passed the toy aisles. “Baby!” I’d call. “Baby!” More often than not, I got what I wanted.

I was twenty three when I went on a weekend trip to San Diego with my mom and two younger sisters. I am the second oldest, the most emotional. Out of all of my sisters, I am the only one who says “I love you” out of the blue. I say it so frequently I think my little sisters must hate it. My youngest sister seems to ignore me. I know I’m not her favorite. At least a year before the San Diego trip I accidentally read her birthday card to our oldest sister. Such beautiful sentiments make me sick with jealousy, but I say nothing.

Late in the day on the last evening of our trip, we visit Old Town. There is a small troupe of people putting on a Shakespeare production. There is plenty of music and light filtering from shops and parts of the historical site.

We walk into a shop whose walls are covered with wind chimes and dream catchers. Every table is laid out with charming little crafts. We linger for a good twenty minutes, mom buying everything with her eyes before settling on a pair of figurines in the style she collects. As she is paying, my hand dips into a basket of palm sized dolls. They are dressed in historical native costume. But it’s a little pilgrim doll that catches my interest. I like her little smile and the sweet tuck of the kerchief under her chin.

“Cute,” I murmur, and put her back. She only costs $2, but I really shouldn’t be spending money on a doll. I’m too old for dolls.

A moment later, I look up and my youngest sister is standing behind my mom in line. As we walk out of the store, out into the night past restaurant after restaurant smelling of spices, she shows us the hemp bracelets she bought, the little wooden flute. Finally, she pulls out the doll and hands it to me.

“I saw you looking at it,” she says with a shrug.

Though she can’t tell me she loves me or write it in a birthday card, I know she means it.


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