THE DOLL HOUSE
By Neel Anil Panicker
Alex says he doesn’t want the doll house. Lisa wonders not for the umpteenth time if she had made a mistake. They were about to be married. She twice. Her childhood home. Recalls the golden memories. No, her mom would never have done it. And now that she is gone, her step father wants it removed, calls it an eyesore. Wants to convert it into a room and make money Make but she was going out.
Toime to end her doll day and get into the real world.
“I don’t care what you do with it, I just want it gone,” Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.
Lisa stood at the entrance, her slim frame shuddering, her limbs slightly shaking as the sheer harshness of those words seeped in through her tender skin, skittered down the veins, and knifed through her heart tearing it asunder.
How could he, how on earth could a man change so soon, she wondered. It had been barely a week since her mother’s death and ‘Uncle’ had changed, was showing his true colours.
She couldn’t believe how her mother, a smart and intelligent woman could ever have fallen for such as a man; this selfish, vain man, her step father, the man who had forcefully ingratiated himself into the Kapoor household after her father had died, first posing as a distant relative, a do gooder, a beacon of hope, and then slowly ingratiated himself to such an extent as to propose marriage to her mom.
Perhaps she was fooled in by his overarching ‘care’ and ‘man around the house’ persona, or maybe, she was too starved for love and companionship to have given him the benefit of doubt.
Isn’t that every woman does, barters her life and gives her all to the man in the fond hope and belief that she would change him to her way of thinking, make good of him and thereby make good of their shared lives.
But all that was water down the drain now, thought Lisa as she looked past her ‘Uncle’ at the doll house one last time.
Gennie, the bear eyed her from under a taped bright red wooden table, toy trains and baby dolls attired in frilly girlie frocks with buttoned eyes that smiled resplendently under the glare of multi-hued electric lights made her feel misty.
This miniature doll house was not just the place that she and her mother built box by box with a lot of care and love but this was also her oasis, her childhood retreat, the haven she turned into whenever the pressures of growing up seemed a wee bit overwhelming for her.
And now that haven, that one place that she thought was her and hers alone was also lost.
Lost for ever, its contents to be thrown out and the room itself refurbished and converted into a rental, just one more means for ‘Uncle’ to make money.
Well, she reasoned if that’s what he wants then let him have it, not just the doll house but the entire house and its belongings.
It was time for her to leave, it was time for her to hit the streets, to risk her chances, to step onto to the big bad world, and so what life has in store for her.
Without that resolution in mind she turned around and walked away, carrying with her only memories, happy memories of a life well lived, a life when everything was perfect and she, and her mother and her father walked and loved and laughed like small little dolls.
©NEELANILPANICKER2018 #FICTION #FLASH #INSTASHORTS #DOLLHOUSE #596WORDS
First Line Friday – February 16th, 2018