StoryRhyme After Dark: A Second Life

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A Second Life
By Harry Buschman


The dolls lay in a disorganized heap in the dirty window of the thrift shop. They stared out at the pushcarts lining the snowy street outside. They didn’t know what to make of it. They had never been in a place like this before.

They were Lucille’s dolls and when Lucille grew up and got married she had no place to keep them. She told her mother to put them in a trash bag and take them to the thrift shop. “Maybe some poor kid will enjoy them. Our apartment is too small, Mom ... we really don’t have room for them.”

The oldest doll was nearly 16 now and she used to be the favorite. In a small wistful voice she told the others they would go one by one. “Just wait,” she said, “somebody will come in and ask for the little one in the red dress or the one that closes her eyes when you lay her down. We will go one by one and never see each other again.”

“How could she do this to us?” asked the one in the polka dot sun dress.

“Remember the tea parties? Remember when her girl friends came over and we’d all get together for tea?”

“Those days are over,” the oldest said. “You can’t expect a married woman to play with dolls. Lucille’s mother never played with us, did she?”

The street grew dark outside and the pushcart peddlers began to close shop. They threw tarpaulins over their unsold vegetables, hoping against hope that they would be there in the morning when they returned. In the gathering darkness a priest appeared at the thrift shop window. He cupped his face in his hands and peered at the dolls inside. His eyes seemed to light up and he hurried inside.

“I want them,” the Priest reached for his wallet and called to the woman behind the cash register. “I need every last one of them.” He noted the puzzled expression on the woman’s face and tried to explain.

“They’re for the orphanage, you see. You can’t believe how badly we need them. The children need something to care for.”

(c) 2011 Harry Buschman


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