Kafka and the doll part two
The following day, Franz sat on the same park bench where he met the little girl. He tapped his feet in anticipation, not mindful of his shoes. He clenched the decorative envelopes in his coat pocket and gazed at the passersby. He wondered if the little girl would arrive. At 10 minutes to 3, he saw a small figure, the very same girl, dragging her governess by the hand. As she spotted Franz, she broke into a little run, and upon reaching him, she sat down with an expectant expression.
“Good afternoon, I have two letters for you,” he said, fishing the envelopes from his pocket.
“Two!” the little girl said in surprise as she took the first envelope and took the letter out. After marveling at the existence of a letter from her doll, she looked up at Franz. “Please read for me?”
The writer smiled at the girl as he read from the letter, detailing a narrative wherein the doll, after watching the girl grow up, decided to do some growing up herself. “I want to go to new places, and I want to play new games,” he read, “and so I am taking a train to see the world. Please do not be mad at me, I love you very much,” he stopped and looked at the girl.
“I’m not mad, dolly!” the little girl exclaimed with her eyes transfixed at the letter.
“That is the end,” the writer continued. “It was the letter from yesterday that I forgot to bring.” He then took the second envelope and extracted the letter. “This one just came in this morning,” he said. “She’s at the beach, fishing for mermaids,” he said as he skimmed over the letter. “In our home, no mermaids are hiding in the bathtub, so I must catch one now and bring one of her rainbow scales to you,” he elaborated on the doll’s exploits. After reading the second letter aloud he put it back in the envelope and gave both to the girl, who looked at it in wonder. “It is yours. She bought thirteen postage stamps from me, so I will deliver to you eleven more letters.” He said as he handed the letters to the little girl to keep. The girl stuffed both envelopes in her coat and happily skipped out of the park, with her governess thanking Franz as she followed.
This arrangement would continue every afternoon. There were one or two days when the little girl would simply not show up due to previous engagements at her home. Still, Franz Kafka, dedicated to his craft, would wait at the bench. A total of thirteen letters of correspondence between the doll to the girl were made. In one letter, the doll was in school learning how to do arithmetic and language studies. The next letter had the doll climbing a mountain to see the wild mountain goats. The letter after that told of how the doll had gotten a fever and was afraid she would become too sick to return to the girl. In the next letter, the doll had miraculously recovered and spent the day running in flower patches to celebrate her good health. Fanciful adventures kept the girl’s attention, and she always left the park excited for the new letter to be read to her the following afternoon.
On the fourteenth day, the writer had no envelope with him, but a newly purchased doll. He had asked the governess before what the little girl’s doll looked like, and made sure to buy a doll different from it. As the girl approached, she spotted the doll and stopped. The writer stood up and held the doll out to her, “She has returned from her trip,” he said. The little girl didn’t take her eyes off the doll and Franz, crouching down to eye level, asked her, “Do you not recognize her? Her travels have changed her outward appearance, but her love for you is the same.” The girl did not move for a few seconds, and then she took the doll and hugged it tightly across her chest. She thanked Franz, and after some happy tears, the girl and her governess, with the new doll in tow, left the park for the last time. Franz, satisfied, would get up and wander through the park; the scenery now forever changed in his mind.
If years after, the little girl would happen upon a brown paper box in her toy chest and open it, she would find a stack of envelopes. She would remember that time long ago, and in her reverie, she would read those letters. She had learned how to read a long time ago, but it had never occurred to her to read the letters that her doll had supposedly sent to her. She would be surprised, to be sure, at the detail and care to which the doll’s adventures were written in each letter. If she opened and reread them, she would remember the postman, and she would ask herself why he had gone through the trouble for her because she would now know the truth of the incident. All this would happen if she would happen upon the letters once again. In truth, her letters are lost, her doll kept away, and the little girl now a forgetful woman. What remains deep in her memories is what the mysterious postman wished: a childish fantasy of change, love and loss, and moving on.