“Another day,” Lucy let out a sigh as she was lifted from the toy shelves by a giggling little girl.
“Today we are having a tea party!” said the girl, spinning round and round with Lucy. “You will love it!”
Lucy was a well-loved cloth doll with button eyes, rosy cheeks, a painted smile, and string hair. She wore a pretty blue dress with bows and little white shoes.
The doll was often picked up, played with, made to go to bed in the middle of the day, woke up when told to, made to sit, move and act in odd ways, drink from little cups, and eat small snacks from flowery dishes.
“Oh, Lucy, you must certainly have more,” said the girl, holding another plastic cookie to Lucy’s mouth.
Lucy sighed. Oh, if only the girl knew what it felt like to be a doll.
“Time for lunch!” The girl’s mother called.
Suddenly, the world went dark, and Lucy found herself face-down on the floor.
But before she got too used to the new strangeness, she was picked up so fast that her stomach turned into butterflies.
“You’ll make the perfect pray for my dragon!” A boy said and ran outside with Lucy.
“Jake, wash your hands, it’s time to eat!” Mom said from the window.
“But mooom!” the boy whined and went back inside, dropping Lucy by the door.
The door bumped Lucy, and she let out another sigh. But all too soon, a huge shoe came down on Lucy. The older kids had come in time for the meal and their rush, stomped all over Lucy.
“Oh, no, my dress,” Lucy murmured, thinking that as soon as Mom saw her dirty clothes, she would be tossed into the washer along with them.
A bark snapped Lucy out of her thoughts, and her eyes widened, “Millo, stop! Stop!”
The excited dog picked Lucy up and gave her a few good shakes, then licked her face a few times.
Once again, Lucy was dropped to the floor as Dad shouted, “Millo, drop!”
Lucy gasped and looked at her torn arm; it was the second time that month that it had broken. Her left button eye was feeling odd too.
After Mom found her, Lucy was mended, washed, rinsed, and set to dry. Lucy enjoyed the quiet and the sun on her. The blankets, shirts, and socks next to her began to talk.
“You have it so easy, playing all day, being so loved,” they said.
Lucy looked down and shook her head. As she told them all about her day, she thought that it wasn’t even the worse. Lucy remembered the rainy days she was left under a tree, and when she was stuffed into a backpack and taken to school, being poked and pricked with pointy things as the children played doctor, tossed like a ball for Millo to catch when Jake wanted to annoy his little sister.
“I wish I weren’t a doll,” Lucy whispered that night, looking at the star-filled sky from her place on top of the toy box.
Suddenly, a shooting star zoomed across the sky, lighting up the night.
“Lucy, time to wake up,” a gentle voice said the next morning.
Lucy opened her eyes and gasped. She was lying on a bed as soft as a cloud. The morning sun shined on her face, and a kind, smiling woman, looked down at her.
“Time for school. Hurry, or you will be late,” the woman said, and Lucy realized she was no longer a doll! The star had granted her wish, and Lucy had turned into a little human girl!
Excitedly, Lucy jumped out of bed and got ready for school. Walking took some getting used to, and so did getting dressed.
At school, Lucy had to learn to read, write, and do math. The letters and numbers all looked the same to her, and Lucy had trouble writing them and even reading!
“Sound the letters out,” the teacher impatiently said, when Lucy was asked to read and kept stumbling over the sounds the different letters made.
When school ended, Lucy thought she would be free to go for a garden walk or look at the clouds. But as soon as she got home, she was told to do her homework; then she was made to sweep the house, fold clothes and help Mom set the table for dinner.
By the Time Lucy was done, only a few hours of night were left. She went to the garden and laughed as she chased fireflies and twirled around with them.
“Lucy, come in, it’s time for bed,” Mom called all too soon.
The next day, Lucy had to do everything all over, but this time, it felt much worse!
“Lucy, sit up straight,” the teacher said.
“Lucy, don’t talk with your mouth full,” said her mother at dinner.
“Lucy, don’t go far!” Dad warned days later when they went to the park.
“But, I want an ice cream cone,” Lucy said. She’d eaten two already, but they tasted so good and the day was so hot!
“No, Lucy. You had too many, and you’ll get a stomach ache,” Dad said.
“How about a few strawberries when we get home?” Asked mom.
Lucy shook her head and stomped her foot, “that’s not the same!”
She was reminded that “a growing child needs to eat healthy food.”
Lucy pouted, she was getting tired of doing what the grownups told her, being well-behaved, and minding her manners all the Time!
But that wasn’t the worse of being a human girl. She couldn’t stop moving. Her body was full of energy. Her arms and legs constantly tingled, wanting to hop, jump, spin, swing around, climb, and be always moving. Lucy was missing the days of being a doll, as still as a rock.
Lucy jumped, skipped, hopped, talked a bit too loudly, and was full of butterflies in her stomach, making her want to do more, always more!
The summer days made her feel too hot, the winter ones too cold. Lucy didn’t like it at all!
Then, one day, she fell and skinned her right knee. A feeling, unlike any other spread through Lucy and made her cry out. Tears ran down her face as a little drop of blood slid down her leg.
Lucy wondered what this new feeling was. The answer came to her as soon as Mom cleaned and put a Band-Aid on her knee.
“A little pain is normal, but soon you will feel much better,” Mom said, kissing Lucy’s head.
But the worse happened one gray winter day. Lucy woke up, with a fever and a bad cough.
“What’s happening to me?” She asked.
“You have a cold, drink this. It will make you feel better,” Mom said, holding a spoon with something that smelled so bad, it made Lucy wrinkle her nose!
Lucy didn’t like being sick either. She didn’t like the yucky medicines and the visits to the doctor.
One night as she laid in bed, looking out the window, unable to go to sleep, Lucy saw another shooting star. Closing her eyes, she made another wish.
“I wish to be a doll again.”
The next morning, Lucy woke up in her old spot on top of the toy box.
Anya, the giggling little girl, picked her up and twirled around. Lucy laughed, happier than ever to be a cloth doll again.
“Don’t you wish to be like them, or perhaps another toy?” A teddy bear asked many months later.
Lucy smiled and shook her head, “I am happy being a cloth doll and bringing children so much joy and comfort throughout their days. I love my life and myself just as I am and will never again wish to be more than a cloth doll.”