You watched from the doll’s eyes as people passed by the shop.
No one had entered, few only turning to see what was there beyond the window.
There was a sinking bitterness in you, feeling as if you were meant to remain there for the rest of your life.
The gentle sound of the bells drew you out of your musings.
There, before you, was a child.
“Mama! Mama! Look!”
A woman made her way to the child’s side.
The child gestured to you wildly, smiling in excitement.
“It’s really really pretty! Can I have it?”
The woman sighed, and took you from the shelf.
Smiling at the child, she brought you to the cashier.
An elderly couple stood behind said cashier, muttering something under their breath with a smile.
“I think you’ll be happy with them.”
You fell into a small plastic bag, taken to who knows where with the child blabbering about something that happened before this event to his mother.
Apparently, the child’s name was Alexis.
They had taken you everywhere around the house, even then, to their own school.
Not a day had passed when the child did not take you with them.
Annoyance had filled your entire being.
The old geezer had said “You’d be happy with them”
Alexis’ blabber had taken the place of the silence you were so comfortable with.
It irked you to no end.
Until this very day, you would never fathom the prospect of you warming up to the obnoxious child.
You lay there, on the bed listening to the kid’s chatter as there was nothing you could do in that form.
“—You know? I couldn’t have had a friend as great as you are.”
A sardonic laugh bubbled from Alexis’ lips.
“It gets kinda lonely in school y’know?
It makes me glad that I found you.
It’s a lot less lonely now.”
You watch from the doll’s eyes as the child’s voice cracks a bit.
Alexis picks you up, your tiny body being cradled in the child’s hands.
“I wish you could talk.
I want to know what having a friend truly feels like.”
The child smiles.
“But, so long as you’re here with me, that’s fine too.”
A feeling of guilt bubbled up in your chest.
You wanted to say “I’ll be your friend.
I promise you won’t be alone anymore”
The feeling of annoyance washed away.
So this what was it was like to have a friend.
This was what the old geezer meant.
Somehow the kid found out what you truly were.
A spirit in a doll’s body.
You were so worried about what Alexis would say about you, anxiety pulsing through your nonexistent veins as the child sat there.
Your mind was plagued with a single thought.
Does Alexis hate me?
I don’t want them to hate me.
Please don’t hate me.
I still want to be your friend
“Do you want me to help you get out of there?”
You were brought out of your silent musings, the child talking in a particularly relaxed tone.
“I don’t know what you’re thinking, and I wish you could tell me, but don’t you feel sad or anything?
Don’t you wanna leave?
Mom used to tell me lots of stories about ghosts like you.”
You wished you could speak too.
You wanted the child to have a real human friend.
You wanted to escape the handmade prison.
But the world wasn’t fair that way, and in the end it was for the best that you had accepted your fate and moved on.
You did move on.
You learned to accept.
The bitterness that had collected over the past few years left.
You wanted to stay.
You were satisfied like this.
So long as Alexis was okay.
So long as the person that you had grown to love was okay,
Then that was fine.
The heart of cloth began to beat again and the spirit that was you had learned to love.
I want to stay with you.
Alexis had grown to become such a beautiful person.
You stayed by your friend’s side throughout the years, the colours of the silks wrapped around the doll’s body slowly fading.
You grew with Alexis.
Alexis grew with you.
Years after that, Alexis had found another friend, one that you observed in silence and resigned yourself to the fact that your friend of many years loved another.
So long as your friend was happy, then that was okay.
Even if you had to watch from the sidelines, so long as Alexis was happy, then that was okay.
You laid on the desk by the candlelight, cloth faded and battered, faint sounds of laughter echoing throughout the house you were once so familiar with.
Your spirit flickered in and out of existence, your time was running out.
You wanted to stay.
To watch over Alexis.
But Alexis was so grown up already.
Alexis had found a friend.
The child you once knew had grown into a beautiful person and eventually, loved a person as beautiful as she was.
A final feeling flickered through your being.
“Thank you for being my friend.”
“I love you”