Yesterday I got all dressed up in my FINALLY finished and perfected “Lil Munster” dress, a pair of lime green-and-black striped stocking, and bright red lipstick, and tromped off to work.
On the bus I was immediately confronted by a little girl, maybe five or six years old, who was with her mother. The girl took in my outfit for a moment.
“What happened to YOU?” she asked, in that tone of incredulity that is usually only found in an adult.
I stopped, thrown. I looked at her mother for help. Her mother looked like she had surrender for today.
“Nothing HAPPENED to me,” I informed her, unloading a huge sewing/first aid/make-up/emergency kit, a large hat box stuffed full of unfinished hats and a laptop bag crammed full to bursting with laptop, paper work, daily planner, power cords for more electronics than NASA, a journal, and a reading book, all onto the luggage rack.
“But why do you dress like that?” insisted the girl. I thought about all of the smart ass remarks I would normally give an adult. But she was five.
“Because I can,” I said honestly. The girl thought about this. When she was all grown up, could SHE dress like this strange woman?
“You look like the other girl,” she decided.
“Other girl?” I asked. I looked at her mother. Her mother was just as confused as me.
“The other girl. The one under the house.” Her face informed me that I should know EXACTLY who this was. Now is a good time to admit that I adore children. I don’t have any, and because I dress bizarrely, most parents don’t let me near them. I’ve had parents with small children actually CROSS THE STREET. You get used to it. Some people have small minds.
The fact that this precocious kid’s mother wasn’t running for the hills in fear encouraged me. True, for the first few minutes, she watched me like a hawk, but she didn’t see anything in me to be afraid of.
After a few seconds of contemplation (trying to think like I was twenty years younger) I put two and two together.
“The wicked witch of the West? from the Wizard of Oz?” I asked.
“Of course!” Her mother sucked in a breath. Was I offended? The girl grinned at the joke. I started laughing.
“You’re a sweet kid,” I chortled, well aware that sarcasm was lost on a little kid.
Encouraged by this, she began to interrogate me. Did I always dress like this? Only in October. But why? Because it’s Halloween Month. But it isn’t Halloween!!! It might as well be.
And then she said absolutely the cutest thing in the world.
“Do you turn into a dolly when people aren’t around? Because then I could take you home and keep you and play with you all day long!”
“She’s not a DOLL!! You can’t just take her home! Stop being ridiculous!” her mother admonished. I assured her that I wasn’t a doll. She didn’t believe me.
“What’s under your skirt?” she asked.
“What do you think is under my skirt. Legs! What’s under your pants? Legs!”
She tugged at my skirt. then she grabbed the hem and yanked it up to my thigh.
“Whoah! Kid! I’ve got a real body under there! And I’d like it to STAY under the dress!” I tugged the skirt away from her.
“I’m sorry,” her mother said helplessly. “She wanted to see if you were wearing stocking or knee socks. I’m really sorry.”
She still thought I was a doll. And she informed me that her mother was really a big puppet. Then she wanted me to show her everything in my kit. And then she wanted to see the hats. She was disappointed by the hats.
“You lied! There are no KITTIES in there!” (your guess is as good as mine on that one).
The entire ride, she bombarded me with millions of questions, trying to prove to every one that I REALLY WAS A DOLL. And she planned on keeping me. Apparently she hadn’t heard about human trafficking laws, but I’m sure she will when she is older.
A few minutes before they got off the bus, I handed her mom my business card.
“I usually make adult clothing. But if she really wants a rag doll that has this outfit, I could make one.”
‘Will it talk?” demanded the girl.
“No, ” I informed her. “Dolls can’t talk.”
I doubt that I actually will ever hear about the doll. But the little girl and her mother gave me a really wonderful present – one of acceptance. The little girl wasn’t afraid of me because of how I looked, and her mother wasn’t worried about the affect speaking with me would have. By now they will have forgotten about the woman in the funny dress. But for years to come, I will remember the young girl who swore with all her heart and soul that I would turn into a dolly after work.