The Doll and The Dog
A clattering of spoons on a platter, and a chime of teacups settling on saucers. It is time for tea, and my Witch was as happy as she could be, and so was I. I was given a purpose by her, to be her endless source of company and comfort. An eternal companion. Being given such an important job made me happy.
The other dolls took the dishes away as the Witch held me close.
Sorry, as my Witch held me close, and clutched me close to her. I grip her back tight as well. My only job was to stay by her side. While the other dolls could move about to do their many and varied jobs, my legs were made weak. Which made my Witch happy, and if it made her happy then I’m happy.
I’m happy to be a comforting thing for her; an object of safety and security.
I felt as if other dolls were jealous of our relationship. As long as she had one doll to rely on, to always be there, she wouldn’t need them as much. Playthings to be ignored as soon as they were out of sight.
I think that is why my legs don’t work, so I wouldn’t have a chance to be forgotten by the rest.
None of us are capable of talking. But still, when I glimpse the others, they seem to communicate somehow. I am deaf to what they say, but they clearly do not appreciate my company. They never visit me, or play with me. I know they do with each other, because sometimes my witch will spy on them when they think she’s not looking.
It is okay though, because I’m supposed to make my Witch happy; playing will only distract from that job.
There is something that does hurt me though. When my Witch took me along with her on errands, the people in the cafes, bookstores, and bakeries always had a look of sadness. At best they actively ignored me, since I’m only accessory carried in my Witch’s arms. At worst they stared with their deep and sorrowful eyes. Those glances felt like daggers. It felts wrong to be a thing of comfort and affection, and see people who were discomforted by my presence.
One day, we visit a apothecary to gather ingredients for my Witch. She clutches me, and my legs dangle uselessly. I am particularly aware of how they dangle when we are in places with such interesting things. My chest yearns for the ability to take a closer look such delights and curiosities.
But I am a thing of comfort and affection, not a thing of curiosity and autonomy.
The shop keep has a friendly smile, and chats with my Witch. Discussion of what she needs, and asks if I need anything. I remain quiet, but the question aches at me. Nobody has asked me if there is anything I want. I am a tool, a thing for my Witch. Things are not meant to want. I go limp in confusion, and the Witch thankfully answers for my behalf.
“I don’t believe so, I give my toys everything they need. Don’t I Darling?”
The shop keep gives a blank smile in agreement. Still, I can see a twinge of doubt and sadness in him. I learned a long time ago to anticipate and read my Witch’s mood. The surprising thing to me is how much my Witch has in common with others, I can read others just as easily as her. Feels odd then, to be a thing made so perfectly for her needs, to feel so compatible with everybody else. Feels like I should make everybody happy, not just her.
Suddenly a jingle and fast and quick breaths suddenly make noise beneath me. My glass eyes focus upon a thing of wheat-yellow hair and eyes and legs beneath us. It looks up at my Witch, with an open and agape mouth and a lolling tongue dangling out of it’s mouth. The shop keep introduces us to the creature, “Delilah, my dog.”
The way he says ‘my dog’ is filled with the same love that my Witch imbues “My Darling” with.
My Witch crouches down, bringing both of us much closer to the creature. It looks on me with no sadness, no confusion. It only has a sincere and empty look in it’s eyes, I think. Maybe it’s a look of joy? I look up at my Witch to see how I should feel, and I see a familiar look. A look in her eyes, her cheeks, her lips. She loves this dog the same way she loves me.
She pets it, the same way she pets me. “Do you want to pet her too,” My Witch asks. I oblige and hold out my porcelain on her head as well, her hair is warm. Warm like the love of my Witch. Maybe even warmer. So very soft too. Maybe even softer than my Witch. The opposite of my cold and hard porcelain skin.
She suddenly jumps up with her feet on my Witch’s knees. She is licking my Witch’s face; and I hear a sound out of my Witch that I haven’t heard in a very long time.
That Dog. That Dog is making my Witch happy. She is using her working, not useless, legs to make my Witch happy. She can use those legs to walk up to explore her world. Walk up to somebody to make them happy.
I look up and away from the Dog, but my eyes only see the shop keep; who has a big smile on his face as well. Unlike me, this dog doesn’t make him sad.
I begin shaking, silently sobbing. It hurts. How can something that brings so much joy hurt me so much?
Why can’t I give them this much joy?
The shop keep and my Witch just focus on the happy dog, unaware of my sobbing.
That evening, during our tea, my Witch holds me close. I can’t bring myself to grip back like usual. The other dolls who bring us our drinks and snacks march in like usual. Both holding a platter with a teapot and cups, I look at their wordless faces, and it makes me want to sob. They’re useful, they do their job with cold satisfaction. I look up at my Witch, I’m doing my job for her, being near her to make her happy. But my memories flash the moment with the dog. That pure joy it must have felt at being loved, to climb on my Witch and feel her warmth and give back that same love.
I feel empty, my company and affection feels obligatory, feels false. In the face of true happiness and affection, I don’t see how I can do the same thing by uselessly sitting in her lap.
I feel useless. A thing without a job, a job I can’t even do right.
I sob once again.
This time she notices.
“Darling Doll?” I shake and I curl into myself. “What’s wrong?”
I hate that I can’t move my legs. I hate that I can’t speak. I hate being a doll. I hate that I can’t scream those words at her. I hate that she cursed me with this… this existence of unfulfillment.
All she can do is sit in silence, while she holds me.
The dolls who carried the platter are still standing off to the side. I look at them with a blank and invisible anger hiding beneath my blank face. Why were they given easy jobs? Autonomy to go about doing what they’re meant to do. With cold porcelain, synthetic clothes and hair. They’re allowed to be cold, they’re meant to be cold.
I feel cold. I hate it. It makes me angrier. It makes me frustrated. It fills with despair. How is something so cold and hard supposed to provide the warmth of love for their Witch?
One of the nearby dolls stir. Heading towards the Witch’s desk, retrieving something from the lowest drawer. Paper and crayons. I’ve seen the other dolls playing drawing with them on their own, when they think the Witch and I aren’t looking. They carefully place them on the table in front of us.
“Thank you darling,” She turns her head towards me, “can you draw me what is wrong for me, Darling Doll?”
I pause, and then grip a black crayon. Drawing a loose and crude portrait of myself.
My Witch points at the picture, “is that you darling?”
I nod my head.
She lingers for a moment, parsing out the message. “You don’t like being my doll?” She says with a sharp dagger of pain and guilt.
Even with how upset I am, I can’t feel upset at being hers. I want nothing more than to be hers, to make her happy.
I shake my head.
She sits in silence for a moment, studying the drawing a bit more. “Is… Is it that you don’t like being a doll?”
I nod again.
More silence, before she croaks out, “what do you want to be?”
I think hard. My eyes look over the crayons, I am inspired by a wheat-yellow one.
I draw Delilah next to me.
“You want to be a dog?” She asks carefully and quietly.
I nod one last time. It is small, sad, and regretful.
I sob. I let her down. I shake, and try writhe my way out of her arms. I can’t be a good doll to her, I let her down, I made her sad and upset. I am a bad doll.
The smell honey and ginger root, one of my favorite aromas! Oh delight! It is time for tea once again! Good timing too, I didn’t realize how deep I got into my research. Time for this witch to indulge in some self care!
The Twin Darlings glide in with my tray of Ginger Root Honey Tea and a tray of biscuits. Obediently placing them on my short table and then standing off to the side for further assistance.
On cue, an adorable whine cries out from under my desk. My darling Daisy is laying on my feet, looking up for permission to say hi to the Twins. “Go ahead Daisy, go say hi!”
The lapdog bolts from her hiding spot by my side, and rushes over to my Darlings. They seem much happier with Daisy like this now! Before they wouldn’t even acknowledge her, but now the two give her pets as she licks their faces and even play with her without me asking. Daisy is much happier now she seems.
As I sit down she rushes over to sit next to the table, and whines impatiently. Even with all of the changes, she still wants to be my little doll held nicely in my lap. I suppose that she wouldn’t get rid of her purpose even if she wanted to! I give her one of the doggy biscuits to keep her occupied pouring my tea. Though she looks pretty silly as she tries to eat and nuzzle into my lap. It makes the pouring a bit harder, but I can’t help but laugh as she does so.
She is such a good dog. 💛