Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
He found her on the roadside, many thoughts ago. Like a flower frozen in spring was she, with blond ringlets and stark blue eyes. He could see her story the moment he laid eyes on her. She had been brought into a home loved, she was used and finally discarded with. His mind was penning her destiny as he inspected her, rotating her ever so slowly so he could get a good look at her features.
He took her home, cleaned her and changed her into clean clothes. She looked 6, but neglect had taken years off the fragile child. He set her up on ledge and shone a soft amber lamp on her dainty face. As the bell tolled midnight, the man sat and toiled through the night to sketch her pretty face.
As the world was beginning to be bathed in the gentle glow of a new day, the streets saw a lonely man and his newly acquired treasure walking barefoot, plastering posters on walls high and low. He was charging a penny per person but it had been weeks since he had had a meal or a drink.
He held on close to the broken doll and prayed children would want to know her story as badly as he wanted to be the one telling it.
Into a little shed were they seen going into, a box and a princess came out, a man almost lost under the huge box shuffled stolidly and set the box on the street where children were known to stop for a popsicle or two. Into the box did the princess go, the man on the floor and the show was off to a start with an audience of a thrush and two early worms and one cat. The man distorted his voice to resemble that of a child to say:
“On winter’s death was this story birthed
As a little human decided he was in need of a daughter.
Needles and fabric were summoned,
Blue buttons and golden yarn.
Silk frills and sapphire eyes were brought in.
Day and night did my father toil
As the cuckoo sang on the second morning
With a child’s touch, was I brought to life.
Days and years did I live to be
Her sole advisor and friend.
On nights when thunder rattled the earth,
I held her in my arms and
And sang her to sleep.
The child fell prey to an evil I was safe from.
On growing up, she lost sight of life
And I was dumped in the shed I was created,
Only my father was no longer there to breathe new life.
On streets and foster homes, did I die the rest of my life
For the world sees not the heart of a puppet
But it’s beauty that age takes away.”
Here, a gentle whisper, unlike the forced childlike voice that spoke till now was heard.
“For the child that said heaven is a toy store,
Bless you, darling.
I shall welcome you home
And hold you close till your heart breathes in peace.”
As the overhead sun bore witness to the little souls dropping their precious pennies and waiting to give the puppeteer a hug, the angel of death had just finished a song of his own making and watched as the poor man nodded off, to a slumber, not of Earth. The little child clung to his hand as his soul went in search of what dreams called home.
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
This was inspired by a stuffed monkey that’s been laying around our house for a good while. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write but it ended up being a tale that (hopefully) portrays a puppeteer’s tender love towards an abandoned doll he found on the roadside. I didn’t want the ending to be tragic but it just seemed fitting that telling the girl’s story after all she went through, set the story-teller free of all earthly obligations and seemingly breathed life into the puppet girl as well. I’m not sure how this comes across in general but I hope you enjoyed reading!
Speaking of love, I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day! Love comes in all shapes and forms; be it for a person, a pet or a toy, love is making the bright side of life shine stronger!
Introverted Thoughts aka D