Here is my story. It is long but I have much to say...

"Why can't I be a doll, and the world my great dollhouse?" ... This was my daughter Anne's wistful wish, dated September 22nd, 1987 in her diary. I read her diary because she is here no more, and I perturb her privacy to keep her alive in my mind. I linger in her bedroom time and again, because the little room must be lonely without Anne, and I implore its solitude for hints, for the slightest sign that my daughter's spirit has not abandoned me.

And once in a blue moon, on days when my heart is flawlessly clear, I can wake her voice from the walls, see her silhouette peeping at me in the solid block of sunlight from the square window to the floor. The memory of Anne would dance around me like the fair leaves of fall caught by a breeze. I gaze then at the empty shelf against the wall and the imagination delivers forth, with the price of a little pain to stir the recollection, a little doll on the shelf. It was her doll just as much as she is my doll, who Anne spent the lifetime of a child with, so to speak, and loved it so with an obsession!

And now, I am the one obsessed with that doll, obsessed with the sorrow of its absence that is an emblem for Anne's absence. That doll was Anne's favorite doll because it was exactly what she wanted it to look like, a blue-eyed petite beauty. Well, Anne was a lovely child too, but with hazel eyes, so she loved the doll's beauty as much she would sometimes hate it. It was her exemplary, and then it was also her object of envy, the constant throb to her, and now to I, that we could never be remade in our own perfection.

I think I felt jealous of the doll too, because she seemed to enjoy its company more than she enjoyed mine. This became even more apparent after Anne's father and I divorced and she and I moved away from the haven that housed her childhood and mine. She grew suddenly quiet. She hated me, hated the breakup of a family and hated our new life. I was hurt too, and I regret wearing that superior mask of being strong, of being too strong, for I saw our new life as!

She saw it, the piecing together of a broken vase, and then the pretension that it was never broken. Anne was broken. Her doll too was broken. Anne had, at some time, taken the head off of the doll, a macabre sign which I did not see for what it was, for headless Anne and I were, unable to see each others misery.

Anne danced further and further away from me, partnered in that fatal waltz down a corridor of extreme depression concluding in her death in the spring of 1988. She had gone to a party, drank excessively, and was pronounced dead the next day of alcoholic poisoning. Since then a necklace of teardrops threatens day after day to strangle the neck of my soul, and many times I have wanted to join her in the hereafter.

I am alive this moment because I am weak, because I am still afraid to face her, to ask for her forgiveness. And the doll, I remember throwing it away in an affliction of fear, and guilt after her death. I cannot bear to look at its little headless body, so like Anne's helpless body that I feel I have killed. But now I search for it, searching for the doll in desperation, for in such an undertaking I feel as if I am keeping Anne alive with me, as if there is a purpose to my life.

I understand with painful clarity now why Anne had wished that we were like dolls. Their pretty little bisque faces never change, and they don't wither in the brazen face of life. They remain perpetually an ideal of perfection to transcend the imperfections of the world, without emotions but then again never feeling the sting of existence. Preserved they are, the way I wish that Anne and I could be, preserved in each others arms like we once were.

Anne, please wait for me.

(I ask those who read this to please, please help me in finding Anne's doll. I don t know much about the doll, but through my descriptions several doll collectors have told me it could be a Kestner. It's about seven inches tall, all bisque with beautiful blue eyes and light blond hair. I want to thank you for reading this, and I beg you to love those around you more than ever.)