DOLLY DEAR, Sandra Rodriguez

You told me your secret. You didn’t have to tell me though, I already knew. I saw it all. I was sitting in the closet, right where you left me, in the middle of our hide and seek game. I was looking through the crack in the closet door. I was looking for you. I heard you yell ready or not, here I come. We were having such a good time. But I saw him when he came in. I heard him ask you if you wanted to play a game. I saw you hesitate before agreeing. At first I was mad because you were playing with him instead of me. I was watching you two. But then I was glad I wasn’t playing. I didn’t like his game. I could kind of tell you didn’t like it either. All those places he put his hands. I didn’t even know hands could go there. I tried to stop watching because you told me it’s not good to spy, but you know I have trouble closing my eyes. You started to cry but he put his fingers to his lips. “Shh.” I couldn’t help you from where I was. I couldn’t move. His game went on for a while. I was glad when he got up to leave. He straightened your dress out for you. I guess that was nice at least. I heard what he said too, “Don’t tell Mommy and Daddy, okay? Carrie Lee, don’t tell anyone, this is our little secret. If you tell, something bad will happen to Mommy and Daddy.” I don’t like secrets. I know you don’t like secrets either. I saw him kiss you before he left. I could tell you didn’t like that. It wasn’t a normal kiss. It was a kiss like Mommy and Daddy kiss. I thought it was weird too, I’d never seen a big man kiss a little girl that way. But don’t worry about the secret. I won’t tell anyone. I love Mommy and Daddy. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them. So don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone what I saw.

I’m glad we talked the other day. It’s been so long since we talked. I know you’re busy now. I see you running around all the time, doing homework and talking to friends. I’ve been lonely though, just waiting to talk. So I’m really glad that we talked the other day. You told me another secret, but I already knew. I’m always listening. I know you told me not to listen to conversations that don’t involve me, but I couldn’t help it. I always want to know how you are doing and we hadn’t talked in so long, so I listened. It was about the bad man. I heard you say he got in trouble for playing games with another girl. You told me it was the same game he used to play with you, when you were younger. You said he was playing with other girls. He got in trouble for it. The bad man went to jail. You said that you should have told Mommy and Daddy too, but I don’t know. He said something bad would happen to Mommy and Daddy if you told. But you told me and nothing happened. I don’t know. Anyway, I’m glad he won’t be around again. I didn’t like him much. Every time he came over to play you would cry. I don’t like seeing you cry. He was a bad man for making you play that game. I’m glad I never had to play.

We haven’t spoken in a long time; I miss playing with you. I know you’re busy, I can see that. I heard you talking the other day. You were talking to your friend. I can’t remember her name, it starts with the letter ‘B’ I think. I heard you telling her about a boy. A boy you like. I already knew you liked him though. I saw him once, when he was here. I saw him kiss you. This wasn’t like the other kiss, the one the bad man gave you. You didn’t cry after this kiss. I heard you tell your friend about the kiss. I wonder if you told her about the bad man. I don’t know if the bad man’s words were true. I don’t want anything to happen to Mommy and Daddy. They brought me to you.

You talked to me again. I’m so glad you did. You told me about the boy. You told me he was your boyfriend, but not anymore. You told me it was because you couldn’t kiss him without remembering the bad man. I wanted to cry for you, but I can’t cry, you know that. I had seen you with the boy. I saw you move away every time he tried to hold you. I saw you panic when he got too close. I saw it all. I feel bad about it. He really did seem like a nice boy. You told me you couldn’t tell the boy why you couldn’t be with him so you lied to him. I remember you told me lying was bad. I don’t think that makes you bad though. You started to cry when you told me that bad man might be let out of jail.  I hope he doesn’t come over anymore.  I don’t like the games he plays. You held me for hours as you cried on your bed.  I was glad to absorb your tears. It had been so long since you held me. I thought maybe we could play again, like we used to. But you put me back when you were done crying. I’ll be here when you need me. I’ll never leave you. I’ll just sit here on this shelf, right where you left me.