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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Angelee Deodhar


The convent had an old weather worn wooden dolls’ house in which a six year old child could sit and hide, look safely out at the world. It was a sanctuary of sorts from the older girls who bullied and tweaked our ears or pulled our hair 'til we cried. Each year there was a fete run by nuns and the children were given pocket money to spend on items on display…toys, little bags of sweets, cards, holy pictures. Befriended by a much older girl, I was taken firmly in hand and pulled to the various attractions. She bought me a small bag of sweets and then took me over to see the holy pictures.

Just as we were about to enter the room I found some money lying on the ground. I pointed it out to her and she swooped it up and hid it in her pocket where she had all my money too.

I begged to be allowed to buy a cheerful rag doll or a curly-haired golliwog but she just laughed and pulled me along. That night after the fete was over, I did not sleep … every other girl cuddled a doll or a golliwog ... I had nothing except a frightening picture of a sad-faced, long-haired person with a bleeding heart …

soap bubbles
reflecting rainbows –
just out of reach