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Dropping The Red Doll
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TITLE (EDIT)
Dropping The Red Doll
DESCRIPTION
He hasn’t seen his ex-wife in three years but suddenly she is back in his head and back in his life. As he sits next to her, while she is dying from injuries sustained in a car wreck, he sees the red doll she owned as a child and realises that he knows nothing about the woman he once professed to love.

The only thing he is sure of is that the decision he must make will drop the red doll...forever.

[822 words]
TITLE KEYWORD
Mystery
AUTHOR
Paul Leighland MacLaine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
-
[November 2010]
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
paul@boomaroo.com.au
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (15)
A Pocket Full Of Stones (Short Stories) As he walked through the darkest part of his town, he allowed his thoughts to get the better of him. They stepped in time with his feet, and slowly covered his face with a gentle regret. [929 words] [Relationships]
After She Left (Short Stories) When a relationship ends and partners go their separate ways, the memory of the lost love begins to fade. The half of the brain they once occupied is gradually reclaimed so a person returns to being a... [708 words] [Suspense]
Anything Has To Be Better Than This (Short Stories) Nixon lives a quiet life, he minds his own business, keeps to himself...it’s his neighbours who are warring. The paper-thin walls of this hotel reveal everything and one night, as the battle rages nex... [952 words] [Relationships]
Ash Bester - The Devil May Care (Novels) Here are the first two chapters of my crime novel. I am looking for feedback and motivation to get on with it. Ash Bester, war hero, boxer and Melbourne private detective in 1953, is about to fall vi... [5,188 words] [Crime]
Cancer Of The Circumstance (Short Stories) When a man meets a friend in the street, a long lost friend, he sees that he is dying of cancer. The signs are all there, he is thin, his eyes have dimmed from their once brilliant blue and his hands ... [1,424 words] [Mystery]
Close? Only When We Danced (Short Stories) Secrets and promises are often the hardest things to keep. They have a habit of slipping out in conversation. Phillip, a boy on the verge of manhood, tells all his secrets to a man he’s just met in th... [908 words] [Relationships]
Especially Brilliance (Short Stories) A little bit of heaven has just come back to earth [2,340 words] [Spiritual]
Everything's Falling Into Place (Short Stories) As his girlfriend throws all his possessions from a balcony, the man realises the order in which they are discarded reflects their story relationship. [957 words] [Relationships]
Involution Melancholia (Short Stories) Mead wakes to find he has been sleeping on a bar. The room is filled with people and smoke..just another night on the tiles? Only this time things are happening that don’t make sense: the barman takes... [1,859 words] [Horror]
Remington, Underwood & Royal (Short Stories) Will Kingsway has just purchased the solution to his writer’s block – a black, Remington typewriter. The only problem comes when it asks him to guess its name in exchange for fame and literary success... [4,378 words] [Horror]
Renting (Short Stories) Sometimes letting go can be harder than holding on. [390 words] [Relationships]
Sweetchild (Short Stories) Sweetchild is the story of interracial love, a tragic story of a Romeo and Juliet. [2,387 words] [Romance]
The Legacy (Short Stories) Abandonment is a terrible way to end a relationship, especially when it is in favour of your best friend. But John, a hack, horror writer, has just found the solution to his woes in the pages of an ol... [3,561 words] [Horror]
The Man Who Turns The World With His Feet (Short Stories) An ancient pendant, a Gypsy curse and a small child all combine to release The Man Who Turns the World with his Feet. [1,884 words] [Fantasy]
The Spirit Tree (Short Stories) A small boy was living with his Aunt and Uncle on their farm discovers a magic tree, and a miracle of nature. [4,197 words] [Spiritual]
Dropping The Red Doll
Paul Leighland MacLaine

dropping the red doll

a short story from the collection:
the tales of socrates dancing

by

paul leighland maclaine


It was during the time I have come to call the Red Doll: the weeks where I was engulfed by a true-white sadness. So devoured was I that, for the first time in years, the end I thought I could see and had used as my shield, melted from my hand leaving me unprotected, vulnerable, and deep in the depression I had once consumed in excess to escape. She had, in the briefest of moments and fewest of movements, established herself once again inside my head.
Entrapped within my thoughts, she ran from room to room, sweeping her hands through shelves, upending tables, dislodging all my precious and precariously set memories, and smashing all the mirrors with her fists. And yet, with this chaos inside me, my fears exposed and assembled so much like killers pounding down the door to my soul, instead of cloaking my form, instead of pulling down the shades and wetting the light to hide, some part of me once shut tight away opened the door, allowing her to sweep in forever. In one minute hiccup of time, one single break in her concentration, one combination of metals, and one terrified scream, she was attached to a machine and we were once more shackled together by fate.

Two hours passed before she appeared in the section of my thoughts I see when awake, tugging away at my ear, making me smile.
And I pondered, why should it be that a relationship that had died twenty-four months before it split still weigh so heavily on my mind even after our fifth separate year had passed. I ceased that thought, pinching it extinguished, and stared to the walls and ceiling for others to think of, offering exhaled smoke in exchange for some kind of peace.

I lit up another cigarette, reached forward and held her battered hand in mine, placing it to my lips and tasting her smooth skin. A nurse entered the room, glared at me contemptuously, and waved her hands about her face.
‘Who brought that in here?’
I looked at her face. It was not a face that I thought had been shown the care from others it might deserve, and then to the object of her point: the doll sitting next to my wife’s shoulder.
‘I did. It belongs to my wife. I mean my ex-wife.’
‘I see.’

I felt, after the nurse had left us, that she had allowed the doll only because it had once belonged to Helen. They could be sisters, the doll and Helen. It possessed the same reddish-coloured hair tied back to hinder its wildness. It had her delicate hands, china hands that matched Helen’s as surely as if the maker had used them to copy from.
Helen’s heart was slowing, reflected by the sounds emanating from the apparatus near her head. It was a beat known to me in all its forms. I had laid my head upon her chest often through our now seemingly short time together, eavesdropping on her existence...
straining to hear my name. I looked to the vein near her thumb, as I had so often caught her doing. She would catch me spying, raise her hand, and show me the gentle movement of the skin.
‘Want to see me living?’
‘I can.’ I would reply. ‘I can.’

I was pleased that I remembered to bring the doll, her companion in childhood photographs, witness to her every adventure, keeper of her every secret.
Helen had visited a fete when she was five, and to be raffled at noon was the red doll. Helen bought a ticket from her small allotment of cash, and sat in the room where the doll was displayed. For three hours she talked to it through a glass case. Asked to move on a number of occasions, she replied, ‘I’m waiting to win my doll.’
‘Darling, but you might not have the winning ticket.’
‘I have the right ticket. I will win.’
She would hold out her hand, showing the ticket, and look to her father, seated, watching her those three hours, patient, loving, committed. Perhaps he sat as I do now, decisions about her life to make, and Helen in silent anticipation of a prize...
or as I also do now, unable to explain the reason for possible future disappointments.
  
I held her hand, again seeing her life in the vein. Watching it tap, tap, tap against her skin. There was a click, and her pulse stammered.
Want to see me living?
‘I can. I can,’ I said.
‘What did you say?’
I turned to the doctor.
‘I said nothing - nothing at all.’
I looked back at her hand, but the vein was still and I felt anger toward him for cheating me of her last efforts at life.
  
I drove home, and poured my tears onto the breast of the red doll. A red doll whose name I’d never known.

 

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 1995 Paul Leighland MacLaine
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
January 2003
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
29297
 

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