To look at this shabby little doll, you wouldn’t think she was once a prized possession. I was given her when I was about five or six. I didn’t have many toys and was overwhelmed when I first saw her. Her hair shone and she was wearing a beautiful navy and white dress. I called her Michelle because it sounded French, and therefore grand.
The day I got her, we were going on a picnic, so of course I brought her with me. We stopped by the side of a field of grass as high as my waist. It was the sort of place, I thought, where a doll could easily get lost. If that happened, Michelle would feel so frightened and alone. She might think I was never coming back.
I walked into the field and when I got to the middle, I laid her down carefully among the dense stalks. Then I ran back to the others. I would wait for a little bit, I thought. Then I would rescue her. And she would be so happy.
She would be so happy!
But when I went back to get her, it was a different part of the field. I couldn’t recall where I’d been. I couldn’t see. The grass was far too high.
I don’t remember crying, although I must have done. I had wanted her lost, but not like this. Not for real.
It took my dad ages to find her. I think he had to trample down most of the grass in that field. Her hair is matted and weird looking now, and somewhere along the way she swapped her chic navy dress for a rather common pink one. But she’s still with me, sitting on a shelf in my study, reminding me to be careful what I wish for.