Tuesday, October 31, 2017
I went looking for Celeste early one morning, hoping to find her alone. I spotted her strolling by the bookcase and quickly caught up to her. "Celeste?" I called from behind her. She turned, and when she saw me she gave me a friendly smile that nearly took my breath away. "Hello Orlando," she said. I quickly re-gathered my thoughts and said, "My sister told me you give good relationship advice." Celeste looked surprised but I hurried on, wanting to get the words out before I lost my nerve. "I could use some good advice," I said. "I was wondering if I could talk to you, privately."
"Of course," Celeste said. She led me to a quiet corner where we would be away from prying eyes and asked, "How can I help?" I was still nervous about the whole thing, so it was difficult for me to speak, despite the fact that I'd spent some time rehearsing what I planned to say in my mind. "I know about Shade's infatuation with Carlos," I began. "I'm having a similar problem. I...I've grown very strong feelings for another doll in the collection. But I don't know if she feels the same way. I don't feel comfortable asking her, and she's not the easiest doll to read." I gave Celeste a wry smile and said, "I guess Shade and I are both drawn to the quiet, mysterious types."
Suddenly I worried that I'd said too much, and my fears seemed to be confirmed when Celeste spoke. "It sounds to me like you're describing one of your sister's friends," she said carefully. Celeste must've seen the sudden panic on my face because she quickly added, "It's alright. I don't really need to know who it is. I only mentioned it because I've noticed when you spend time with Shade and the rest of us, you're very quiet most of the time. You don't really share your opinions very often. I thought that maybe if you spoke up a little more, and gave the rest of us a chance to really get to know you, it would help you connect with the doll you have feelings for without having to single her out in conversation."
I thought over what Celeste had said. "I'm not as...chatty as some of Shade's friends," I said. "I don't open my mouth unless I think I have something valuable to say."
"And that's ok," Celeste assured me. "I'm not saying you should completely change who you are. But maybe you have more to say than you think you do. Just because something seems small to you doesn't mean it's not important. I'm sure you've told Shade a lot of things that didn't seem important, but because you did she probably understands you better than anyone."
Again I thought over what Celeste had said. It did make sense in a way. After all, how could I expect Celeste to have real feelings for me if we only knew each other superficially? If I wanted her to make the choice to spend her life with me, I needed to let her see what kind of doll I really was. There was always a chance that she wouldn't like what she saw, but the fact that she was encouraging me to reach out seemed to hint that she hadn't already made up her mind against me.
"You've given me a lot to think about," I said finally. I wasn't sure what to say after that, and as the seconds ticked by an awkward silence seemed to settle over the two of us. I realized then that I should probably leave, and let Celeste get on with the rest of her day.
"I think I've taken up enough of your time," I said. "I'm sure you have other things to do today."
"It's alright," Celeste said. "I'm always glad to help." She smiled again, a reassuring smile that once again took my breath away. I was so dazzled by it that it took a second to remind myself that I had already monopolized too much of Celeste's time, and that I needed to leave. As I turned to walk away I realized that I had forgotten something very important. I turned back towards Celeste and said, "Thank you, Celeste, for the advice and for listening."
"You're welcome," Celeste said. We parted ways then, but it wasn't long before I saw her again, passing the time with Shade and Shade's other friends. I did speak to my sister privately about my meeting with Celeste. Shade made a joke out of the fact that I'd actually followed her suggestion, when it's usually her who follows my suggestions.
I've been trying to follow Celeste's advice, trying to share more when I'm with the group. It hasn't always been easy. I worry that the things I say will sound stupid or shallow. I worry how my words might change the way the other dolls think of me. Everyone wants to make a good impression, especially when one's heart is at stake.
Celeste has been very supportive in my efforts to be more open with others. Every now and then I'll look over at her, after I've shared something with the group, and she'll give me a small nod of encouragement. While I can't say if she'll ever feel for me the way I feel for her, for now it's enough to know that I still have her friendship and support.
Monday, October 30, 2017
If any doll who knows me was ever asked to describe my personality, they'd probably say that I'm the exact opposite of my sister Shade. When I first met Shade she was a bundle of energy, chatting non-stop with anyone who would listen, always getting involved in some activity. At the time I thought it was because she'd just recovered from a body swap, and she was tired of lying down doing nothing. But as more time passed I realized that it was in Shade's nature to be energetic and talkative. That's just who she is.
Shade also doesn't do things by halves, as they say. She jumps in with both feet. Sometimes this gets her into trouble. I remember the time she told me that her friend Dandelion had been introduced to a little girl doll named Marigold, and that Treesa wanted Dandelion and Marigold to be sisters. Shade was so excited at the thought of being an 'auntie', and having a little girl doll in her group of friends that they could all cuddle and spoil. I don't think Shade actually realized the amount of sacrifice and commitment that goes into caring for a doll child. However, from what Shade told me it sounded as though Dandelion may have been more aware of what being a caregiver actually called for.
Whatever her reasons, Dandelion never did agree to be Marigold's sister. Shade was disappointed, and I think she would have pushed Dandelion to change her mind if I hadn't pointed out how doing that would only make Dandelion upset, and might lead to the end of their friendship. Not only that but Rampion and Celeste and Michaela would also be forced to choose sides. Shade knew how lucky she was to have Dandelion for a friend, someone whose personality so closely matched her own. And she didn't want to be responsible for tearing her group of friends apart. So Shade left things alone, and didn't bring the subject up again.
This wasn't the only time I had to stop Shade from doing something without thinking it through. There've been times when keeping her out of trouble has felt like a full time job. But even though my sister can be exasperating at times, I do care about her. Sometimes her being impulsive is even a good thing. I tend to be a little more cautious than Shade about what I say and do. I don't like to take risks if I can avoid them, so my life can get a little predictable, maybe even boring. Shade is the one doll who can get me out of my comfort zone and trying new things. So even though she drives me crazy sometimes, I'm still grateful to have my sister in my life. And if she ever needed help, I can honestly say that I'd do anything for her.
There is another doll that I'd do anything for. From the moment I met Celeste, I knew there was something special about her. Maybe it was the far away look in her eyes, the way she seemed to be here but at the same time, somewhere else. Or maybe it was the graceful, nearly silent way she carried herself, as if she was used to walking on clouds. In some ways she almost didn't seem real. I still remember the night I woke up and saw her standing by the window, when she looked more like something made of moonbeams and shadows than plastic and vinyl.
When Celeste started spending time with Shade and Shade's friends, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know her better. So I started 'hanging around', as Shade put it. I quickly discovered that Celeste had become the voice of quiet reason in the group. Whenever Shade or one of her friends had some minor problem they wanted to discuss everyone else in the group would offer their input, debating back and forth what the best course of action would be. But Celeste would always listen quietly, taking in what the rest of the dolls had to say before she offered an opinion. When she did finally speak, her words were always insightful. Celeste seems to have a remarkable understanding of doll nature and behavior. Her sense of perspective is also amazing. Celeste has a way of focusing on the big picture, of seeing the whole forest as they say, when everyone else is only seeing the trees.
The more I learned about Celeste, the more I was drawn to her. I didn't fully understand my feelings at first. I only knew that I wanted to be near her, to spend more time with her. By the time I realized I'd lost my heart the feelings ran so deep that I was convinced I'd never be able to forget Celeste, even if I'd wanted to.
I didn't talk to my sister about Celeste, at least, not at first. But eventually I realized that I needed to talk to someone, and Shade seemed like the best candidate. Despite how different we are from each other, I know that Shade cares about me. She cares the way I care about her: friendly, teasing, maybe a little overprotective. But if there's one thing I know for sure it's that Shade wants me to be happy. So one day when I was standing by the window, my thoughts focused on Celeste, I decided to confide in my sister.
Shade had been walking past me, and had stopped to ask if I was ok. She'd found me this way before, staring blankly out the window, but I'd always brushed off her concern. Now I realized that silently pining for the doll I loved was getting me nowhere. Not only that, but Shade was obviously worried about me. I owed her an explanation, if only to put her mind at ease and assure her that there was nothing seriously wrong. I also knew that I could trust Shade to keep this a secret if I asked her to. Shade's a chatterbox by nature, but she wouldn't share something if she'd given her word not to.
When Shade asked if I was ok I exhaled slowly, not knowing the best way to bring up the subject. I was still facing the window, and I could see Shade's reflection in the windowpane. She was frowning, and I realized again just how worried she must've been. I slowly turned to face her.
"It's nothing serious really," I said, trying to reassure her. Shade didn't look convinced. "Something's bugging you. I can tell," she said.
"I don't want you to worry," I told her. "But...before I say anything, I need you to promise that you won't repeat what I'm going to tell you."
Shade looked even more worried than before but she said, "Ok, I promise." That was so typical of Shade, going into things blindly. But in this case I was grateful for her impulsive nature. I slowly exhaled again, trying to collect my thoughts, and said, "There's...another doll. She...she means a lot to me and I...I'd like to be more than just a friend to her. But...I don't know if she feels the same way."
Shade's reaction completely surprised me. She rolled her eyes and asked, "Is this about Celeste?" I felt my jaw drop. "You knew?" I asked. Shade gave me an indignant look. "I'm not stupid you know," she said. It was clear that Shade felt insulted by my question, and I'm sure I would've tried to smooth things over with her if another thought hadn't completely taken over my mind. "Does Celeste know?" I asked.
Shade looked thoughtful and said, "I'm not sure, to be honest. If she does she hasn't said anything to me about it."
This new information triggered a confusing mix of emotions in me. On the one hand I was encouraged that Celeste hadn't said anything that rejected me outright. On the other hand I still didn't know if she could return my feelings, or if she'd even realized that I had feelings for her. Basically I was back where I'd started. "I just don't know what I should do, Shade," I admitted.
Shade looked thoughtful again and said, "If you had a crush on anybody else, I'd say you should go talk to Celeste. She gives great relationship advice. She helped me a lot when..." Shade suddenly trailed off, looking embarrassed. I tried not to seem amused by her reaction, since I didn't want her to think I was laughing at her. But I felt the hint of a smile cross my face despite my best efforts. "I know about your infatuation with Carlos," I told Shade. She looked even more embarrassed than before, and quickly tried to brush the matter aside.
"Anyway, I'm not sure what to tell you," Shade said. "Celeste's a lot better at giving advice than I am." Suddenly, Shade's expression changed, as if she'd had a brainstorm. "I've got it!" she said. "What if you tell Celeste you need some relationship advice, but just don't tell her it's her you've got a crush on? That way you can get some good advice without having to tell her you like her."
At first I don't think I really understood what Shade was suggesting. "You want me to lie to her," I said, not liking where this was going. Shade shook her head. "You wouldn't have to lie," she said. "Just tell Celeste you're not comfortable saying who it is. That's not really lying," Shade reasoned.
It sounded crazy to me, and risky. What if Celeste realized that I was talking about her? What if knowing that I had feelings for her made her uncomfortable? I didn't want to lose what little contact I already had with Celeste. Shade must've realized that I wasn't sold on her plan yet, because she said, "Celeste told me once that it's not the things we do that we regret the most. It's the things we didn't do."
For a moment I just stood there in silence, thinking over what Shade had said. Could it really work? Could I really get some guidance from Celeste without having to reveal my feelings for her?
"I'll think about it," I said finally. Shade must've realized that I would need time by myself to think things over, because she left me on the windowsill. Over the next few days I carefully considered my next move. Eventually I decided that, if I really wanted a future with Celeste, I'd have to face the threat of rejection sooner or later. I made up my mind that I would ask for her advice, as Shade had suggested. And then maybe, during the course of the conversation, I'd see or hear something that would give me a clue how Celeste felt about me.
(To Be Continued)