by Bruce Maples
When I was nine, I got a present. A God-Doll.
It had no face, really, and no body.
But it had a voice, and a presence.
And it made me feel all warm and secure.
I loved my God-Doll.
I took it with me everywhere —
To church, of course,
But also to school, and to the playground,
And even to my house.
And I talked to my God-Doll,
And I tried to listen to it,
Which was hard, sometimes,
Because dolls don’t really talk.
When it wouldn’t talk,
I would make up words for it,
So my God-Doll would keep me company,
And I’d never be alone.
As I got older, I found that
Some people had a God-Doll of their own
And some didn’t.
I liked being with the people who had God-Dolls,
Because I didn’t feel different around them.
But, I always tried to make my God-Doll the best of all the God-Dolls in the room.
When I was around the people who didn’t have a God-Doll,
I felt sorry for them,
And told them about my God-Doll,
And tried to talk them into getting their own God-Doll.
Some did, and some didn’t.
But in either case, I felt superior to them,
Because either I had a God-Doll and they didn’t
(God-Doll knows I tried),
Or I had had my God-Doll longer.
Something really big.
And I was so shocked and surprised
That I dropped my God-Doll
And it broke.
I stood there,
Looking down at my God-Doll,
My broken, grinning God-Doll,
And suddenly I realized
It was . . . just a doll.
Just a lifeless, soul-less, spirit-less
Impersonation — a fake — make-believe.
It couldn’t walk, it couldn’t hear.
It could only do what I thought up.
I left it there, lying broken on the floor.
Even though I was as shattered as it.
Even though I wanted to run back,
And pick it up, and glue it back,
And keep up the charade.
But I knew I couldn’t do that —
I couldn’t go back.
My eyes had been opened.
I had seen the truth.
And I couldn’t go back to the lie.
by putting down the God-Doll,
I’ll be able to find