I have two Barbies. One is a ballerina. If you twist her legs she does the splits. She’s got a pink and blue and green tutu and a belt with a pearl gem like an opal, which is what’s on Mama’s ring. Opals hold every color, Mama told me.
My other one is a pink princess. She has long pretty pretty white hair like the ballerina. White hair on not-old people is called blonde, Mama said. My princess has a big pink dress with gold ribbons, and she is very tall (but she’s just made of plastic).
Mama comes home from work in the afternoon. She click clacks through the kitchen to Jordan and mine’s room. She comes in and kisses me, which always leaves a mark on my cheek I have to wipe off. She looks very pretty with her yellow dress and cause she’s got her hair up in that way only women can wear it. She says Sara look what my coworker got you and she pulls out of her black bag the same exact princess Barbie I have! Only this one isn’t blonde. Or black and brown, like Mama’s color. It’s medium. Brown and brown. You remember Paulina at my work? she says. I think I do. I think I remember a woman who is big and dark behind a desk who smiles. Well she was at Target and saw this Barbie and thought it looked like you. She just had to get it for you, because you never see Barbies this color. Isn’t that special?
I say thank you because you have to when you get something. Then when Mama goes to change out of her work clothes, I get out my ballerina and princess Barbies. They live in the bookcase with the stuffed animals from Papa Stan and the bedtime books. I pick up the new Barbie and hold all three together. Ballerina princess princess. Blonde brown blonde. Peach tan peach. Pink pink pink. They all have long hair and shiny dresses that I pat down to make smooth. The two princesses come with gold crowns to put on their heads, but only the brown one has hers. I lost the blonde’s one’s crown.
I used to think Barbies were blonde and Mama is brown and Daddy is like bread color except sometimes redder. Jordan is like Daddy more but with darker hair than me. Paulina is medium brown and Target is very white. I didn’t really have a color, just favorite ones (which are yellow and blue but it used to be just blue). Now I’ve got a medium-brown princess Barbie. She can do the splits too and has the same dress, but she’s different.
I lay my three Barbies on the floor which is wooden. I look under my new one’s dress to check if they made her like a real girl, but they didn’t. She has plastic underwear stuck permanent on her just like the other two. But she looks so much better in her pink dress cause of her skin. It’s the same color as the floor wood, or raisin toast, or coffee with the milk in it that swirls in pretty whooshes when Daddy stirs it, or me, which is what Paulina says.
10. In Laguna