Love hurts, even for a mannequin. For the Smiling Skies Personification challenge.
The Girl in the Window
It was a bleak and miserable December when I first laid eyes on her. The holiday season was always a depressing one for me, what with being stuck here, watching the joy and excitement of the "walkies" passing by my window and all. Sure, they gave me a nice sweater to wear--available in men's sizes S to XXL-- and a comfortable pair of slacks--in your choice of tan, charcoal or navy-- but I still felt empty. Even when I was given a festively-wrapped box to hold, there was nothing in it. I felt like there was some symbolism there, even though I could never quite figure it out.
Anyway, one December morning when the shop across the way unveiled their Christmas display, I finally saw a glorious light through the gloomy funk. A beauty like no other, she was. I said a prayer of thanks to the powers that be that my head had been positioned in such a way as to behold her divinity. Slender and flawless, from the glossed black of her base, to the golden hair that flowed from her head like morning sunlight. And real hair mind you, none of that synthetic garbage... I can tell the difference. She too, was apparently celebrating the season, although instead of holding an empty box, she was standing next to a beautifully lit tree. Her outfit was also stunning. Form-fitting enough that I could make out her shape, but not so much that it made her look like a floozy. In a shade of green that highlighted the striking colour of her eyes and with red stripes that matched her full and pouty lips.
The only problem was that she was facing the wrong direction. Whereas I was looking right at her, her gaze was focused on some random spot south along 76th street. If only she could look over, I'm sure we could share something. Even if it was just a simple glance...something to let each other know that we're not alone. For the time being, all I could do was admire her from afar and hope that next month she'd still be there, but maybe looking my way. Then I realized that I had never felt hope before. It felt good.
* * * *
Christmas was over and in came January. They took the box from my hands and replaced it with a ski pole in each, while outfitting me with the latest styles to be found in the seasonal active-wear department. Good I thought to myself, I want her to see me as an outdoorsy type of guy. My skis were displayed neatly in the corner-- which didn't make sense since I was holding the poles-- but that didn't matter. The plate glass storefront across the street had been soaped over, telling me that Becky was about to have her own change of scenery. Oh yeah...I started calling her Becky. She looked like a Becky to me.
The days went by and she remained obscured from view. My anticipiation grew with every passing minute until I felt like I was going to tear myself off my support pole, but then...the unveiling. It was early morning when the "walkies" scraped away the scaly, opaque mess on the window and revealed the diamond beneath.
In another twist of fate that I read too much into, she was also set against a wintry backdrop. Artificial snow surrounded her feet, giving her an even more angelic appearance. A purple woolen cap was pulled down snug against her head and a dainty pair of women's ice skates were draped over her shoulder. The only problem was that once again, she was facing the wrong way. This time to the north with a slight upward tilt to her head. I imagined her near a mountain lake, looking with awe and wonder at the surrounding peaks. This led to thoughts of me gliding in on my skis, swishing up beside her and enjoying the moment and each other. Free at last from our glass and drywall prisons; feeling the air, smelling the trees, sharing our love. Looking back it seems kind of silly I know, but it's what kept me going through the rest of the month and into the next. That's when things went sour.
* * * *
Mid-February rolled along, and it was time for a new look to highlight our door-crasher clearance specials. This time it was a faux-fur lined parka-- which was unpleasant in the magnified afternoon sun-- and a breathable pair of water-resistant pants that made me look heavier than I preferred. I had a brief moment of fear when they started to wrench on my head, twisting it to a new position. Lucky for me, I could still see her from my new angle, and the change of view was nice. As I expected, a change in me meant a change in she, and right about that time, the windows across the street were soaped over again. I wish they had stayed that way.
A few days later, the windows were cleaned and exposed another winter wonderland. As the soap came off in stages, I first saw a snowman which conjured up adorable visions of Becky releasing her inner child. Then, even better than I imagined, was Becky. Her arms were raised in the act of packing down the snow along the snowman's sides and even though she maintained her somber, almost bored expression, I could have sworn I saw a glint of delight in her sea-green eyes. Then the rest of the soap was cleared away and along with it, my hopes. Standing behind Becky-- much too close I might add-- was some smarmy lookin' dude. I don't know who he was or where he came from, but he seemed awful friendly for having just shown up.
He was broad-shouldered and blue-eyed. With auburn hair...real hair, mind you. How could I compete with that? Mine was just painted on and chipped in a few places. And he was better dressed than me. He also wore outdoor apparel, but his was made in a way that accentuated his body rather than obscured it. It stands to reason, given that the store across the way was a bit higher class than mine, but it still seemed a bit unfair. I tried to figure out this bitter turn of events, reasoning the he could be her brother, or even father. He did look a bit older than her after all. But as the days dragged into weeks, they began to give off more of a couples vibe than a family one. Turns out I was right on both counts.
* * * *
Easter was in March this year, and with it came the spring collection. The cheery, pastel colours did nothing to brighten the darkness I was feeling, and this time when I saw Becky's display obscured, I felt dread instead of hope. Fate spared me no cruelty with what was in store.
Becky and her guy who I started calling Brad were part of an indoor setting that showcased a swanky living room set. It seems Brad also made a better living than me. But the final insult was a boy and girl of grade-school age, each holding a treat-filled Easter basket and seeming to scamper around the hand-carved mahogany coffee table. Becky and Brad looked down upon the children, with serene expressions and matching casual wear. She was sort of facing me now, but so what? She had enough on her side to keep her busy...I didn't even exist in her mind.
At least my pain has been pretty short lived. Tonight when we closed, the "walkies" started dismantling my display. It seemed ahead of schedule, but what do I know? They stripped me bare left me that way and then cleared away the rest of the merchandise. I understood then what was happening and after some heavy introspection, I'm fine with it. See, I guess you could say I've been retired. They took my hands and just now, my arms. Soon my head will be twisted around, wrenched free and stuffed in a crate. Then Becky and her happy, little family will be blissfully removed from my sight forever.
~ Approx. 1,370 words