Thrift store, 2019

Thrift store, 2019


Tessa’s ringlets bob around her head as her mother ties thin pale blue ribbons in her hair.

Her mother’s fingers are clumsy and pull at Tessa’s scalp until the job is done.

There, she says, stepping back to take a better look.

Tessa clutches her dolly to her chest.

You’re too old for this now, her mother says.

Tessa nods as she hands over her friend to her mother’s outstretched hand. Her mother places the doll high up on the wardrobe that stands in the corner of the bedroom. An ominous presence that stops Tessa getting to sleep at night and fills her dreams with nightmares.

Her mother leaves, closing the door behind her. Tessa pulls at her hair trying to loosen the tight binding ribbons. She unties her boots and kicks them off under the bed. Her mother won’t want to see her until lunchtime. She reaches under her pillow for another dolly, one that her grandmother gave her while whispering, Don’t tell your mother. She’ll be angry, I know.

Tessa runs her hands down the silky brunette tresses of the doll. The grandmother made her a dress of fabric from an old curtain. It was a little big but Tessa loves it. She picks up dolly and holds her to her face breathing in the smell of her grandmother’s room.

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