A Sweet Lie
She has a happy pink room with paint ragged on the walls. Three porcelain dolls stand sentry on her shelf, dressed for an evening of dance long past. One day she will wear such a gown, such a hat, such stockings and shoes.
“’One day’ might not be,” says the boy others disregard. Her Ty.
Bare feet walk over broken filbert shells. She imagines how it would feel to swim the sky with hollow bones—her daily dream to fly.
“I will make it so,” Ty says.
She runs down a bank and crosses a creek to find her little sanctuary. Winding branches bounce beneath her weight. For a moment she is a bird, darting from branch to branch, following the tunnel through.
A tarp is her roof, branches her walls, old bottles and benches her things. Ty holds stillness for her here. She plays alone in the silence of a sun’s shattered light.
She does have other friends—ones everyone can see. But they form twos and threes and fours, forgetting her. They take up ball gowns while she waits, hesitant…until all are claimed. She tries to join them, to pretend her frock is beautiful too.
“You haven’t a dress,” they say. “That makes you a servant, and a servant cannot walk with the princesses—you must stay three steps back.”
Her arms enfold her waist.
“This is not for you,” Ty says, “not for long.”
His voice grows loud and makes her afraid. But there is a rocking chair, loving arms, and the glow of a lamp that says “this is home.”
It is a lie.
But it is a sweet lie.
There was a happy pink room that held a happy girl child, but she is no longer there. If you peer through a crack in an old grey fence you won’t see trace of her. No filbert shell paths or hints of pink behind smooth window panes. The soul of a place is the people inside, and when they leave it changes.
She has her ball gown now—her ball gown and her wings.
Time gave her what we never could.