I am the girl who burned her doll, who gave her father the doll to burn " the bride doll I had been given at six, as a Christmas gift, by the same great uncle who once introduced me at my blind second cousin's wedding to a man who winced, A future Miss America, I'm sure " while I stood there, sweating in a prickly flowered dress, ugly, wanting to cry.
I loved the uncle but I wanted that doll to burn because I loved my father best and the doll was a lie. I hated her white gown stitched with pearls, her blinking, mocking blue glass eyes that closed and opened, opened and closed when I stood her up, when I laid her down. Her stiff, hinged body was not like mine, which was wild and brown, and there was no groom "
stupid doll, who smiled and smiled, even when I flung her to the ground, even when I struck her, naked, against the pink walls of my room. I was not sorry, then, I would never be sorry "
not even when I was a bride, myself, and swung down the aisle on my father's arm toward a marriage that wouldn't last in a heavy dress that was cut to fit, a satin dress I didn't want, but that my mother insisted upon " Who gives this woman? " wondering, Who takes the witchy child?
And that day, my father was cleaning the basement; he'd built a fire in the black can in the back of our backyard, and I was seven, I wanted to help, so I offered him the doll. I remember he looked at me, once, hard, asked, Are you sure? I nodded my head.
Father, this was our deepest confession of love. I didn't watch the plastic body melt to soft flesh in the flames " I watched you move from the house to the fire. I would have given you anything.