Even the way she arrived at the house was unusual. Christina’s father had just opened the front door
to leave for his weekly Saturday morning golf game when he found a large rectangular package lying on
the porch. He glanced down at the address that was neatly printed on the brown paper wrapping. It
read: “Miss Christina Brooks, 1685 Farmington Ave., River City, MI 49753.” In place of a return address
was only, “Happy 8th Birthday! Love, Aunt Becky.” Christina’s father sighed. It was just like his wife’s
sister to neglect to add her forwarding address. Since she had left two weeks ago to tour Europe, no
one in her family knew where she was at any given moment. Still, it was nice of her to remember
Christina’s birthday.

He brought the package in and yelled up the stairs, “Christina, there’s a package on the couch for you. I’
m leaving for golf. Be good. I’ll be back this evening.”

Christina scampered down the stairs, her blonde curls bouncing in all different directions. Her mother
followed close behind her, saying, “Christina, settle down. Don’t touch that package until I’ve had a
chance to look at it.”

Christina stopped at the couch, and stood there, waiting impatiently, until her mother handed her the
package.  “Now don’t make a mess. I’m getting ready to go shopping, and the last thing I want to do
today is clean up after you.” She walked away to finish putting on her makeup.

“Okay.” said Christina, neatly removing the brown paper that covered her package. She loved getting
gifts from her Aunt Becky. She was always so much fun to be with, and she seemed to understand
what little girls liked, even though she’d never had children of her own. Christina squealed with joy when
she finally got all the paper off the box and revealed a beautiful doll, with blue eyes and blonde curls,
just like her own. She carefully took the doll out of the box and examined her more closely. The doll
was made of a very lifelike rubber or plastic, which felt like real skin. She was dressed in a lacy, pink
satin dress and white, shiny patent leather shoes. Her eyes closed when she was laid down, and she
had a string on her side, with a plastic hoop attached. Christina carefully pulled the string and the doll
said, “Mommy?” She looked down at the doll and said, “Yes, I’m your new mommy, but what will I call
you?” The doll stared back as though she was expecting an answer, so Christina said, “I know, I’ll call
you Amanda.”

Just then, Christina’s mother came back into the room. “Oh, it’s a doll.” she said, “Let me see it.”
Christina handed the doll to her mother, who smiled and said, “That’s odd, she looks just like you. The
same hair, the same blue eyes, Aunt Becky really went all out to find the perfect doll, didn’t she?” She
pulled the string on the doll’s side. “Hi. My name’s Amanda.” the doll said.

“She knows her name!” Christina shouted. Her mother looked at her and frowned. “Christina, dolls don’
t know their names. They only say what they’ve been programmed to say. You just got lucky when you
named her. Now get ready, because I’m taking you over to Mrs. Harris’ house. You’re going to stay
there while I go shopping.” Christina ran upstairs, carrying Amanda. She laid the doll on the bed as she
began to change her clothes. She put on a pink sundress and white sandals. “There,” she said, “Now
we match, well, kinda, anyway.” When she turned to look back at the doll, she noticed that Amanda was
now sitting up and looking at her. Christina shook her head in confusion, and said, “Did you just sit
up?” There was no answer, and the doll continued to stare at her with lifeless eyes. Christina shrugged
her shoulders, picked up the doll and ran downstairs.

She got into the car with her mother, making sure that Amanda was buckled in when she fastened her
own seatbelt. “Well, don’t you look like twins?”  Her mother said.

“Mommy, dolls can’t move on their own, right?” asked Christina. “Christina, I don’t have time for games.
I’m           already late because of you.”

“But Mommy, there’s something I need to tell you about Amanda!”

“Christina, just be quiet, will you? I don’t have time for your fantastic stories about your doll!” Just then
her mother pulled up in front of Mrs. Harris’ house and Christina got out and ran into the house, still
clutching Amanda.

Mrs. Harris was a sweet, gray-haired lady who usually cared for Christina whenever her mother “needed
a break from the kid,” which seemed to be quite often. Mrs. Harris liked Christina because she was
always so quiet and well-behaved. She hardly ever asked for anything, and played by herself while Mrs.
Harris watched her afternoon “soaps” on her ancient black and white television set. Christina loved
going to the sitter’s house because she enjoyed playing in the bedroom that the elderly lady had
converted into a playroom for the children she cared for. Mrs. Harris always said that Christina was,
“…the easiest child to take care of. I hardly even knew she was there.”

About three or four hours later, her mother was back. She knocked on Mrs. Harris’ door, and the old
lady answered. “Is she ready? I’m in kind of a hurry.” Christina’s mother snapped. Mrs. Harris said that
Christina was waiting for her, and that she had been good all afternoon, just playing with her doll
upstairs. Just then, Christina’s mother heard her coming down the stairs. She stared toward the
stairway, with a look of fear and confusion. There, on the stairs, stood Christina, or, at least, what
looked like Christina, standing there in a lacy, pink satin dress and shiny white patent leather shoes,
carrying a squirming, blonde, blue-eyed “doll” that was dressed in a pink sundress and tiny white
sandals. Christina’s mother heard the doll weakly screaming, “Mommy!”  

“Christina” came down the stairs and stood in front of the terrified women. She looked at them with a
lovely smile on her face, but her eyes were expressionless and looked as though they were made of
glass. Her “doll” continued to shout, “Mommy! It’s me, Christina! She’s Amanda!” Finally, “Christina”
appeared to grow tired of her “doll’s” protests and threw the doll roughly to the hardwood floor, where
it lay limp and silent. She looked at her mother, still smiling, and said, “Hello Mommy. Are we going
home to have cake and ice cream for my birthday?”

But “Mommy” couldn’t answer. She was screaming too loud to have heard the question.
The Birthday Doll
                                                                  written by:
Luanne Sabourin