BEST FRIEND, by Debbie Fersht
A child puts her doll to bed. Tell me a story, says the doll. You always say that, says the girl. Tell me a story, the doll repeats. Go to sleep you two, says her father from the light underneath the bedroom door. You’re my best friend, whispers the girl to the doll, hugging it as she falls asleep. The doll grows bigger from all this love, its feet hanging off the edge of the bed. You must stop growing, says the girl, so we can stay friends. I want a glass of water, says the doll. Lights off you two says her father. The doll gets up early, eager to get to work. I’m hungry, says the doll upon arriving home. Let’s play a game, says the girl. I want to go to bed, says the doll. Exhausted from the day’s events, the doll turns off the bedroom light and quickly falls asleep. The girl lies awake in bed, staring at the ceiling. Stop that, says the girl to the doll’s looming shadow on the ceiling, covering her best friend’s body with her favourite yellow blanket. A short struggle ensues. Go to sleep, says the girl. You always say that, gasps the doll.