Ann Keiffer

Ungrateful Girl

Sometime after my imaginary friend Steedie O’bye
disappeared, the Easter Bunny brought me a gift.
Nestled in the green cellophane grass of my Easter
basket, next to the marshmallow peeps and chocolate
bunny, were two figurines: A prince and a princess
elegantly attired in sculpted, painted-on finery.

The prince wore yellow satin knee breeches, a black
frock coat, black buckle shoes, a white shirt with a
cascading bit of real lace—stiffly starched—at his neck.
The princess, also in formal dress, wore a yellow satin
ball gown with fitted bodice, a starched lace ruffle, a
strand of teeny-tiny pearls around her teeny-tiny neck.

Every day I made a new house for my “figs,” as my family
came to call them. Books from the shelf, dust jackets
removed, laid on the floor in whatever patterns pleased
me, each different-colored cover representing a separate
room in the house of my prince and princess. For hours
every day I played out my fig stories—on top of stories.

For Christmas, in secret, my parents built for me a flat
wooden dollhouse, a floor plan of rooms to mimic my
book-houses, but with finger-tall walls, wee woodwork,
door openings, a picture-postcard window. Such a loving
gift! I wanted to love the dollhouse, but it had such rigid
boundaries. I tried to love the dollhouse, but longed for
my made-up houses of books. Ungrateful girl, I told myself.

Not long after, I gave up my figs.

Ann Keiffer
September, 2012

Photo Credit: dragonfly-in-the-sea at deviantart

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About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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