Last night while watching the Cleveland Indians rip apart the New York Yankees (tee hee), I glanced over at my doll, who was making a curious noise. She was busy reading a book, while her brother played on the laptop. She caught my glance, perhaps becoming acutely aware that she was indeed the author some noises and a wave of red colored her cheeks. She countered by trying her best to ignore my intrusive glance and continue reading. “Okay kids time for bed, let’s go” I announced a few minutes later. The boy offered no argument, putting the laptop away and disappeared into the bathroom. The doll however stayed put. “Come on dolly, let’s go…” I said again, but was met with “MOM!! I ONLY HAVE THESE MANY PAGES LEFT TO GO IN THIS BOOK. PLEASE LET ME FINISH!!” She said, holding up the book to show me the few pages she had left. As such, I agreed. After all, judging from the noises she emanated earlier, I could tell she was really into whatever she was reading. In the meantime, I channel surfed onto movie about boys street dancing and waited for her to finish. Something (earlier noises) told me she would was going to want to talk about the book when she finished.
As she approached the novel’s end, tears that she had fought hard not to shed, came easily. I tried my best, not to embarrass her by looking, instead turning my attention to the dancers on the screen-until she was ready to talk. Finally looking over at me she smiled, through heavy tears and said, “This book was really sad at the end…” Then she let out a muffled cry, followed by an uncontrollable laugh at her predicament and then cried some more. Handing her a tissue, she blew her nose and then wiped her tear stained cheeks. She also took some very deep breaths, trying to stop the tears from flowing, laughed again and whimpered a little”. “Mom that book was so good…and different from what I expected…” she began…
What followed was the doll sharing a summary of the book (though she did admit she was leaving some nuances out) as a sort of qualification for her tears. I glanced over at the clock and said, “Good, it’s already past your bedtime”. She laughed and continued on; her face animated as she recalled different characters and plot line of the book. When she reached the sad part again, I beckoned her to sit next to me, which she did; taking my shoulder to lean upon as tears once again streaked down her face. This gave me the perfect opportunity to embrace her in a loose hug, as we talked about the lessons she learned from the book. When neither of us spoke for a few minutes, the doll turned and gave me kiss, before toddling off to bed.
For a few minutes more, I sat there relishing what had just transpired; knowing full well my time with her is growing short. Who knows how much longer she’ll be this intimate with me about her thoughts, tears and fears. All I knew was how much I appreciated Anne Applegate and the beautiful story she created in The Last Academy, which for a brief time, brought my doll and I closer.