bits of childhood
I don’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s just after Christmas and my friend’s room is filled with all things Barbie. “I just told everybody, I only wanted Barbie,” she says. “At Christmas with my dad I got so many Barbie things I couldn’t believe it, and then at Christmas with my mum it was the same thing. Before Christmas I didn’t have anything and now I have all this.” I look at the brand new Barbies and the pink accessories. I got books for Christmas, books I don’t remember ever having heard of before. I don’t wish for this very often, but I find myself wishing my parents were divorced so that I could get more presents.
“What about this one?” she asks. She shows me a brown Barbie table. I glance at the pink and white Barbie table on the floor. “I don’t know,” I say. I’m politely trying to say I don’t really want the brown table for my Barbie’s apartment. “Do you want it?” she wants to know. I answer that I would prefer the pink one, but that I guess the other one is okay. I can’t bring myself to tell her I don’t want it. “Since you don’t mind the brown one, you’ll get it,” she says and hands me the brown table, “because I wouldn’t want it. At all!”
“Come on,” he laughs, “if it was that bad, why didn’t you just find someone else to play with?” He’s running, I’m riding my bike next to him. It is the beginning. We have known each other for a couple of months. He’ll break up with me the night before my dad’s operation, but I don’t know that yet, I still think he’s someone I’m supposed to be with. He has told me plenty about his life and doings, but it is my first time telling him something I wouldn’t tell just anybody. “Can’t you see it’s a bit foolish?” He continues running, doesn’t even look at me, he laughs a little. “You make it sound like you were her maid or something.”
We have finished our Barbie apartments. I’m dressing my Barbie. She lives in an apartment with a brown table and a red umbrella that doesn’t unfold, in an apartment with a lot of things that weren’t my first priority, but things I didn’t dare turn down. I am, however, quite content with what I have managed to do with my bits and pieces.
“Wow,” she says behind me. “You’ve done a really good job. Your apartment is so much better than mine.” I thank her and smile. I glance at her apartment. I would never dare say it, but I think mine is better. Still seeing the pink table and the parasol that unfolds and has pretty coloured flowers makes me wish I would just once in a while be allowed these things. She continues to look at my Barbie’s apartment. “What if we switched?” she suggests. I look at both apartments – the one I’ve put all my effort into and like and hers that I don’t really want. I sense saying no will be difficult and then the pink table and the parasol catch my eye. Maybe I could do a few adjustments; I am after all closer to the pink table than I have ever been. I agree. “Fine,” she says with satisfaction. “But I’ll just take a couple of things with me.”