Student Showcase: Broken Dolls and Healed Relationships

From time to time, we like to feature impressive examples of student work because good writing is meant to be read.  This writing piece was shared by Caroline B., from Quebec City.  She is 16 years old and English is her second language!

"Broken Dolls and Healed Relationships"

Why did you have to break it?” cried tiny Annabelle, clutching the remnants of her porcelain doll. There was a brief moment of silence during which Jimmy stood aghast, eyes widened at the broken pieces scattered on the floor.

I... I’m so sorry, Anna,” he stuttered. “I don’t know what happened to me. I know you loved this Chinese doll Aunt May had given you. I should’ve been more careful. I’m sorry.”

Jimmy closed the gap between them and stretched his arms to give his little sister a hug, but she dodged him and ran down the stairs. She was probably rushing to find Mom and report what had just happened. “What have I done?” thought the eleven- year-old boy. Jimmy had lost his temper after his mother had asked him to clean up the bathroom and Annabelle wouldn’t do it for him in exchange for money. “Money,” he thundered, “this ain’t gonna replace Aunt May’s gift in any way! Why did I have to throw this pillow across the room?” He cursed himself for being so ill-tempered.

The raging boy went back to his room and threw himself on his bed. He placed his hands under his head and let a heavy sigh out. He tried to think reasonably. He couldn’t just buy Annabelle another porcelain doll, even if he had had enough money. This doll was one of the only things Anna possessed from their aunt. Aunt May had cared for them for two years while their mother was ill with cancer. Now she was thousands of miles away, and they missed her very much.

Suddenly, like a shooting star, the solution appeared glistening in Jimmy’s mind. He was both relieved to have an idea and reluctant to execute his plan. He winced at the blow his ego would receive. But he had to do it. For Annabelle.

He got up, put on his shoes, and headed for the bathroom. He needed to finish what his mom had requested him to do. When he entered the kitchen, he bumped into her. Her eyes were serious and her mouth was pinched.

I know, Mom, I did wrong. I’m sorry,” began Jimmy. “Did you apologize to your sister?” asked Mom. “Yes, I did.” “Okay. Now go clean the bathroom,” ordered she. “Yes Mom,” answered the remorseful boy.

While working as neatly as a young boy his age could, he polished his plan. Despite all the efforts he put to it, he got distracted from his task and found himself washing the mirror with a wiper dirty from washing the toilet.

The next morning, Annabelle pouted and wouldn’t talk to her brother. “Hey guys!” exclaimed Mom, “Cheer up a bit!” Neither of the children reacted. When Jimmy gulped his last spoonful of Lucky Charms, he asked “Hey Mom! May I go to the post office right now?” “Well yes, you may,” she replied. “Only don’t leave just yet. It’s Saturday, so the post office opens later than usual.”

The following Friday, in the late afternoon, Jimmy and Annabelle came back from school. Standing on the threshold, Mom was waving an immaculate envelope at them. Jimmy grinned while Anna’s face filled with curiosity. “It’s from Aunt May,” shouted Mom, “and it’s addressed to you, Anna!”

The three of them gathered in the lounge where Dad was reading. Since Anna was only six years old and had trouble reading fluently, Mom began reading her letter after she agreed to it.

Dear Annabelle,

Your brother Jimmy has sent me a letter explaining how he had broken the porcelain doll I had given you.”

A hint of a smile grew on Mom’s lips. She pursued reading.

He apologized and asked me to replace your doll in exchange for whatever I wanted. In return, I want Jimmy to spend more time with you. So check your mail in the next days, sweetie, because you’ll soon receive a package from me! I love you so very much and I’m looking forward to see you again. All my love,

Aunt May

Ps: Please write me a letter about the games you played with your brother! “

Mom wrapped her arms around her son. “Oh, Jimmy!” she exclaimed, “Thank you for writing to Aunt May!” Dad got up and patted Jim’s back. “It was great what you did son,” said he while smiling at Annabelle. The little girl hesitated, her eyes avoiding Jimmy’s. Finally, her face gleamed with a broad smile and she wrapped her chubby arms around her brother’s neck. “Thank you, Jimmy,” she whispered in his ear.

Then she briskly got up, took Jimmy’s hand, pulled him out of the house, and shouted joyfully. “Come! Let’s play dragons! And I have the power of beauty; you can have the power of fire.” The merry siblings played under the sun and the blushing maple trees.

A week or so later, Annabelle received a brand-new Chinese porcelain doll with rosy cheeks and a violet dress brimmed with lace. Aunt May received a rather lengthy letter relating how Jim and Anna had played dragons and had invented new games together. She thought the new doll she’d given Annabelle couldn’t have been repaid in a better way.