Writing Assignment: Out from Under the Bed

Out from Under the Bed
by Tabitha Grace Smith

There’s nothing about Tola that screams of her importance. China white skin gleams except for a long dark smudge along her leg. Zosia touches the synthetic curls with a finger and lets her eyes lose focus. Tola’s eyes are blue, bright and unblinking. It was a while since Tola had been removed from her sacred cardboard box under the bed.

Holy, bright light jars Tola as she looks at the older woman who holds her.Tola is young and old at the same time; she tries to push out that thought from her head. Her eyes are always open. She’s seen everything. Never blinking, never shielding and never unseeing. Tola, for the first time, notices her nakedness.

Zosia clicks a tongue and touches Tola’s hand. Only Zosia knows Tola’s story. Sighing Zosia licks a thumb and runs it along the smudge on Tola’s porcelain skin. The dirt responds to the slight moisture.

Tola would shiver, but being a doll, she can’t.

“We need to get you a dress,” Zosia says softly.

Her voice is warm, but Tola can hear the slight breaks in it. The last time Tola had seen Zosia she had been young, tiny and moved like a chased rabbit. Tola thinks Zosia’s gray hair and crow printed eyes are merely curtain dressings on the soul. Behind the bespectacled eyes Tola can still see the little girl who snuck into her mother’s room and pulled Tola out. Zosia had been very young and there was longing in her touch that Tola could feel. Zosia’s mother returned and Tola had been put hurriedly back in place and not brought out again.

Tola knew Beata had died. The musty smell of the house sings the news. Beata believed the house should be clean and placed in order. And the sounds of the house tell Tola cleaning had not happened in a long time.

Zosia sets Tola on the hard, oak desk. Tola watches, again unblinking, as a shiny silver needle weaves in and out of a lacy material. Tola stands at attention, the amount of colors in the room astounding the senses. Reds, blues, whites all mix together and play off each other like a field of children. The laughter of their movement fills Tola with brightness.

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