My father made me a dollhouse. I liked pink back then, everything pink, and so the wood of the dollhouse was pink and the trim of the windows was a darker pink and the couple who lived there had two children, a boy and a girl, and everything the girl owned was pink. Later they had two more children, twins, and there was no room for them. They had to live in the attic. The crib’s sheets were pink and the girl-twin wore a pink onesie with little flowers. Her brother wore blue.
I decorated the dollhouse for Christmas and for Thanksgiving and for Halloween and there was a tiny turkey my dog got ahold of and chewed all to bits and my mother told me not to worry. We could still use it. Now it looked carved. Now it looked more realistic.
The dollhouse people had a dog, too. This dog was ceramic and always sleeping. This dog could not chew things. This dog had a plaid bed tucked into a wicker basket. It was the same kind of dog we had. Mindy Sue. She died when I was nine and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Everything after that seemed impossible and transitory and so dismally, dismally bleak.
I wrote a story about a little girl who plays with a dollhouse. In the story, the little girl rearranges all the furniture in the dollhouse. Whatever she moves in the dollhouse moves some matching piece of furniture inside her house. Her father comes home and gets angry at her. He smashes the little girl-doll underneath his shoe.
I read a book about a family living inside a dollhouse. And then I read it again, and then I read it again. Small things, tiny things—for a time they were all I cared about. Scale models of airplanes and small metal matchbox cars and tiny gemstones and shells and the outdoor train model in Epcot. I could stand there for hours and just watch the unmoving people in their perpetually unmoving world. The trains go around in a big loop and everyone around me gets bored quickly, but I don’t.
I imagine shrinking myself. I pretend to be small. I imagine myself as a scale model of myself, 1:20 or 1:40 or even smaller, impossibly small. Shrinking rapidly and proportionately until that moment I would blink out completely. So small I am invisible. So small I can fit through the head of a needle or one minuscule pore of skin.
photographs taken with a minolta x-700 and canon t1i.