Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Clara's Story: Continued (1970s Ballerina Barbie)

The most wonderful thing happened! I should've posted about it here long ago, but I've been so preoccupied I must've forgotten. However it does feel somewhat right that this story is being posted so close to the holidays, since the holiday season is supposed to be a time for miracles.

I was on the first floor when it happened. Another doll named Megan T. was having one of her spur-of-the-moment dance parties. I've always loved to dance. This might have something to do with me being a Ballerina Barbie, or it might not. All I know is, no matter how I'm feeling or what is going on in my life, when I dance I feel...free, free from my worries, free from anything that might be weighing me down.

Treesa was upstairs in her room at the time, sorting through some storage boxes. Suddenly we all heard Treesa's bedroom door being yanked open. This was followed by what sounded to us dolls like a herd of stampeding elephants, as Treesa's feet came pounding down the stairs. We all stopped what we were doing, the CD player still running in the background. Just then Treesa poked her head into the room. "Has anyone seen Clara?" she asked.

I slowly came forward. "Is something wrong?" I asked Treesa nervously. Treesa shook her head. "No, I just need to talk to you," she said. Treesa has never been very good at hiding her emotions, and right then she was practically bouncing with excitement. Looking back now I guess I should've realized why Treesa seemed so happy, since she'd specifically asked to see me. But I didn't suspect for a minute what was about to happen. I guess in my mind the possibility seemed so unlikely that my head just skipped over it, even though there was still hope in my heart.

Treesa bent down closer to my level and said, "I think we should go somewhere a little more private to talk." Before I realized what was happening Treesa scooped me up and whisked me off to the bathroom, shutting the door behind us. I felt a little disoriented from being moved so quickly. The next thing I knew Treesa was lifting me so that our faces were level. Treesa was grinning, and her eyes sparkled with excitement. "I found her! I found Marie!" Treesa said.

Her voice was hushed, probably to stop any other dolls from eavesdropping, and for a minute I wondered if I'd misheard what she'd said. "You found my sister?" I asked. Treesa nodded, still smiling. "The reason I couldn't find her in the basement is because she wasn't IN the basement. I must've brought her upstairs and then forgot," Treesa said.

My head was spinning. It'd been so long since I'd seen my twin sister. I wondered if she'd changed after so much time. I wondered if I'd changed. Would we be able to pick up where we'd left off? What if we'd both changed so much that we didn't recognize each other anymore? I'd always thought I'd be happy to see my sister again. Now that I finally had the chance I was suddenly feeling nervous. "Where is she?" I asked Treesa in a shaky voice.

"I left her on my bed," Treesa said. "I thought you two would want some privacy after being apart for so long. I'll take you to her." Before I could even think what to say or do next Treesa had opened the bathroom door and was carrying me to her room. In no time at all she was gently setting me down on the bed. "I'll leave you two alone," Treesa said. "You've probably got a lot to catch up on. Oh, and could you explain to Marie how things work around here, Clara?"

I didn't understand what Treesa meant at first. Then I realized that Treesa was asking me to let Marie know that Treesa knew we were alive. I also realized that Marie probably hadn't said anything to Treesa yet. She wouldn't have, if she didn't know that Treesa knew. Even after us dolls find out about Treesa it usually takes us a while to trust her enough to actually respond to her.

A whole new worry suddenly sprouted in my mind. What if Marie had been damaged while she was in storage and Treesa hadn't noticed? What if my sister was hurt? Or worse, what if she wasn't alive anymore? I was still wrestling with this terrible thought when Treesa walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

After Treesa left the doll that was sitting next to me on the bed slowly turned her head to look at me. She seemed to be studying me carefully, and I found myself studying her just as hard. Her facial features, the shape of her hands, mirrored my own. Everything about her was so comfortingly familiar. But was this doll really my sister? I knew a lot of dolls that looked like us must've been manufactured. Even though I'd been interacting with Treesa long enough to know that she wouldn't deliberately substitute another doll in my sister's place, hoping I wouldn't notice, there was still a slight possibility that Treesa had bought a third Ballerina Barbie and had forgotten. Treesa didn't always have the best memory, and after all this time the possibility that I'd finally found my sister seemed too wonderful to be true. There was only one way to know for sure. "Demi?" I asked quietly.

A warm, joyful smile spread across the other doll's face. "Plie," she said in reply. Demi plie, along with being a common beginner's ballet term, was also a game my sister and I had invented at our old home. The game was similar to both Marco Polo and Hide And Seek. One of us would repeat the word demi while moving from room to room until the other heard and answered plie. The point of the game was to try to find our way back to each other.

I was overwhelmed with relief and joy. It really was Marie, my sister, my twin. I hugged her then, clinging to her like I was afraid to let go. "It's so good to see you," she whispered, her voice chocked with emotion. We stayed that way for a long time, just trying to take it all in. Then we talked for what felt like hours. I told her all about Treesa and my new doll friends, and what had happened to me in the time we were separated. I even explained to her the meaning behind the new names Treesa had given us. Marie then shared with me a little about her time in storage. I could tell that this was difficult for her to talk about, so I didn't pressure her for too many details. She knew though that I would always be there to listen if she needed me, and she shared more with me over the coming weeks.

It took time for Marie to adjust to being surrounded by so many other dolls, so I introduced her to my new friends slowly, a few at a time. Even though she seemed disappointed that she'd missed so much Marie also seemed glad that I'd made other friends while she was gone. I still can't explain how wonderful it feels to wake up every morning knowing that my twin sister is there to share my day with me. We've become almost inseparable since we found each other again. In fact I was a little worried that I might've been neglecting my other doll friends by spending so much time with my sister. But I think my friends understand. They've all been very welcoming to Marie, and they don't seem to mind including her in whatever we might be doing.

Ever since Thanksgiving I keep thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for. I never want to forget how I felt when I was separated from my sister, because I never want to start taking for granted all the blessings in my life. When Marie and I first came to live with Treesa it felt like we would always be together, because we always had been together. I know now that we can never really know how much time we have with those we love. So this holiday season why don't we all try to make the most of the time we have.

I Hope You Dance, Clara