A story about Skipper, Greed and Love 

When we first moved to the United States in 1984, we packed pretty light. The advertisement must have read: “Leaving the country! Everything must go!” Mothers in nice clothes traipsed into my bedroom to pick through my toys. I stayed away at mother’s suggestion. I stuck by the windows in the living room, pressing myself as far as I possibly could from my bedroom, though I could still see its door. 

My cowgirl Skipper doll was the sole survivor of the everything-must-go-sale. And, I didn’t even really like her. She wasn’t Barbie. She was Barbie’s crappy kid cousin. But, take her I did to Oklahoma City, where the nights were impossibly dark. I had been a big city kid up to then. My whole previous life felt like practice for these cavernous eves riding in the backseat of my aunt’s big American car. The big black Oklahoma nights were rich and pure.  I rode along in a pillowy silent boat gliding on streets that were empty, even and clean. The big American houses with interminable front lawns shone with inviting porch lights. That soft yellow light coming from the windows was heartbreakingly lovely. I held my Skipper doll lightly. 

Over the next six years, I did manage to amass approximately 42 actual Barbies through single minded 1980’s American style determination. The Skipper doll remained a thorn in my side, however. I often considered giving her away but greed in knocking my count back kept me from it. Not a bad track record, from my adult perspective, though every single Barbie felt hard fought. I would sit in front of them recollecting the circumstances under which each one of them came into my grubby little hands. I still remember my first: Peaches and Creme, Miami Beach, my 6th birthday. I was a big girl and ready for my first Barbie, but I didn’t see it like that then. She was so beautiful but as I was expecting at least five Barbies, it hurt. I was that type of kid. Gifts felt earned. 

Home is defined as a place where one lives permanently. Every morning and every night my son, as a toddler, would gaze on four 60 foot tall trees from his bedroom window. Upon awakening and before retiring to sleep, he would watch the trees. He’s like that. I would watch him watching them. I’m like that. He self-designated them his guardian angels when I pressed him about them.

I no longer believe in death. Whatever binds us to each other is permanent.


{This post is a response to the writing 101 assignment to mine my own material. This is a re-draft of a post from earlier this year. Also, this post responds to a reader’s request for a story about a Barbie. 

The featured image is a photo I took this evening of a rabbit in my backyard. The nights aren’t quite so black here. They’re in between.}

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