At the age of eight, every time I was bored at home, I took my clothes that I didn’t like anymore and remade them into clothes for my dolls. I firmly believed that my dolls needed to be well–dressed, but this reason didn’t seem serious enough to my mother. She didn’t like this idea because I destroyed my own clothes.
One day, my mother and I were alone at home. I sneaked a needle, a thread, and scissors from the brown tin box in the kitchen and went to my room. I locked my door so that nobody could bother me, and I could work on my project in peace. I took my pink dress and cut it in into a million pieces. Then, I took one of my favorite dolls, Aurora, and made for her the most beautiful short pink ballerina’s tutu. Then I took Mister Robert, one of my boy dolls, and made a cute pair of pink pants for him. Suddenly, my mom knocked on my door twice, and I quickly hid the clothes under my bed, so that she couldn’t see my tailor workshop. My mom asked me, “Why are you here with the door locked? Leave the door open, okay, Cristal?”
After she left my room, I locked the door again, and I continued working in my factory of clothes for my dolls. It was Alicia’s turn to get a new pink shirt and blouse. I only made clothes for these three because they were my favorites. When my dolls were dressed up, I took them to my dolls’ house. Aurora was married to Mister Robert, and Alicia was their best friend. She had just arrived from a long trip in France. She wanted to stay in Aurora and Robert’s house, and they agreed. I went to the bathroom, opened the shower tap, and filled up the bathtub with water. It was the sea and the beach. I had just gotten inside the bathtub with Aurora, Robert, and Alicia, when my mother got into my bathroom and yelled at me: “Cristal, what are you doing in the bath with your dolls?” She screamed, “I just came to your room, and I saw that you destroyed your pink dress! You cut it into pieces! Do you want to explain what that was, Cristal?” I patiently explained to her, “Mom, my toys didn’t have any clothes. I was sad because they were naked for so long. I couldn’t let them walk around the house like that.”
My mom was heedless. She took away my dolls for a couple of days as a punishment. When my father called home, she told him what I had done, and then he yelled at me, too. He told her to also take away my bicycle for a month, which she did. I was bored during this long time. I felt as if I was on another planet without my toys and my bicycle. I was really bored, just watching TV. I couldn’t go out to play with my friends because that was part of the punishment. I just watched them play from the patio of my house.
However, after the time of my punishment was finally over, my mother gave my dolls and my bicycle back to me. Soon, Aurora, Robert, and Alicia acquired some gorgeous green shirts, pants, and hats. A teddy bear got a green coat, and even my doll Monica was clothed in a green dress. My secret clothes factory for dolls went back to full operation. This time, though, I didn’t leave any evidence that could give me away.
Cristal Suriel Mercedes writes, “I am 21 years old. I’m from Joba Arriba in the Dominican Republic, and I came here in 2010. My first language is Spanish, and my second is English. I’m studying in the CLIP program at CUNY’s College of Staten Island. Since I came here, I have changed my mentality and became a person who is ready to overcome difficulties. I would like to become a nurse or a police officer.” Cristal Suriel Mercedes’ teacher is Polina Belimova.