is shining. Children, dressed like miniature adults, stand in pairs outside a
church, while radios blare, lawn mowers roar, roller skates scrape along sidewalks,
typifying Sunday in small-town suburbia. Michelle sits in a parked car,
its bumpers sagging, trunk and back seat packed with the sum of her possessions. She
stares at a two
story house, at its second floor window, hoping for a glimpse at a child beyond
its curtains. A glimpse is all she asks... before she departs.
"Now you be me and I'll be Mommy." Bridget fusses with her doll, adjusting its clothes. She applies a tiny comb to the doll's auburn hair. "As you know, darling, me and Daddy got you after you got borned." She plucks a loose strand. "You were littler than little then. Your other mommy couldn't take care of you on account of she and your other daddy gots into a accident. Your other daddy went to heaven after that." Bridget stops to listen, ear to the doll's perpetual pucker. "You was still inside your other mommy. She protected you. Then, after you growed big enough, you came out. But your other daddy wasn't there; only your other mommy. And that made her unhappy 'count of babies need their mommies and daddies both." She pauses again to listen. "No, she tried to get a new one. She looked and looked, but daddies are hard to find." She re-ties the doll's hair with a ribbon. "So then she went to the 'doption agency." She listens. "No, looking for a daddy. But 'doption agencies don't got daddies by themselves, only mommies and daddies together. So that's why she decided to give you to me." She adds bobby-pins to secure the ribbon, then scrunches up her face. "Definitely not! Daddy and me would never, ever give you back! You're ours for keeps; don't worry." She kisses the static lips. "Forever and a day." She carries the doll to a rocking chair, passing, in the process, her bedroom window.
One last look fulfilled, Michelle mouths goodbye.