“Yes, baby girl?”
“Can I have them?”
The little girl bounced up to her mother clutching two porcelain dolls in her tiny hands.
“Let me see. Honey, these are too expensive. You can have one, but not both.”
She frantically examined their features as her heart started racing in indecision and limitation.
“But…but momma, I like them both!”
“Baby girl, I can’t afford both of them right now. Maybe you can get one for Christmas.”
“But, that’s a whole year away!”
“I’ll get you one, not both. Pick one.”
The little girl pleaded desperately with wide, watering eyes knowing her mother wouldn’t budge.
“Take your time, honey, I’ve got to find your brother.”
The child retreated to the towering wall of miniature people, every one of them different, just like real people. She stared up into each of their coloured glass eyes.
“Is there something I can help you with, young lady?”
An elderly gentleman hobbled from behind the counter and stood over her as she clutched the two chosen figurines to her 6-year old chest. He recognized the sorrow in her frown and knelt down beside her. He had seen this before.
“Mum says only one, huh?”
She nodded sadly and slumped to the ground, still cradling her prematurely adopted toys.
“Well let’s take a look at them, shall we? What do you like about each of them?”
She traced their ceramic characteristics with her tiny truthful fingers.
had eyes as violet and bruised as the sky on a stormy evening,
flowing mahogany locks curled around her pink pouting mouth.
Wore a dress as white and pure as the cotton seeds floating through the summer air.
Carried a minute powder blue polka-dotted parasol.
Modeled satiny unscuffed saddle shoes to match.
had eyes as brown and melted as a solar-powered chocolate bar,
stick straight strawberry-blonde tresses hung just past her shoulders.
Sported an easter egg green gown that folded in tiny pleats around her ghostly calves.
Cupped a forever blooming bouquet of velvet blossoms.
Exposed a plastic pedicure through little tanned leather sandals.
“This one has freckles, just like you.”
He suggested kindly, tapping her dotted nose.
“But this one’s blushing, same as you.”
“I like freckles better.”
She stubbornly declared.
“They are kisses from the sun.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“But what’s wrong with blushing?”
“Well, it means you’re uncomfortable.”
“You seem very wise.”
She reddened again in honest modesty.
“Then have you chosen?”
She batted thick heavy eyelashes into his wrinkled face. He knew what she wanted. Not a single other soul could possibly soothe her restless indecision.
“What if I keep one for you?”
He rose as her heart leapt into her smile, exposing perfectly crooked rows of baby teeth tucked into soft coral gums.
“Which one would you like today?”
He gently took the dolls from her covetous clasp and led her to the desk.
“Can you pick for me?”
“Darling, I believe that is your choice to make. After all, you did promise both of them your love.”
A heavy sigh spilled from her plush lips as she chewed on her tongue in deep contemplation.
The old man nodded his head as a promise sealed with an Eskimo kiss passed between the child and her second choice.
“I’ll come back for you soon.”
She stroked the straw mane as she reluctantly lifted the blushing beauty to the counter, replacing it in her arms with the freckle-faced effigy.
“I want you to take good care of her for me.”
She earnestly requested.
He bowed his chin solemnly.
“Of course, my dear.