The Dollhouse (Excerpt from a Short Story)

Photo by Krzysztof Kowalik on Unsplash

THE DOLLHOUSE (with an introduction)

by Jennifer Ward

“The Dollhouse” begins with a single universal moment—a woman coming to terms with her mother’s death. The story unfolds with the task of her sorting through her mother’s things which we know is a difficult thing to do. The feeling of nostalgia finds her when she discovers her mother saved something that meant a lot to both of them during a difficult time. This is a story about remembering, feeling, and acceptance. The sudden confluence of the past and present builds a sad yet, meaningful moment. This excerpt was taken from a short story in which the details of her life and her mother’s life develop even more. 

 – Jennifer Ward


I stood in the center of my mother’s attic for the first time in years. She’d passed away three weeks before, and I had the task of sorting through her belongings. Items she once cherished were now buried in a maze of dusty boxes. My head felt heavy as I wondered what I’d leave behind someday after I died.

The attic ceiling was low, but I managed to reach a small space by the window. While slumped on a wooden stool, I thought about getting the house ready to sell by the summer. My sisters and their families weren’t due to arrive from Pennsylvania until the following month. I was alone. This would take a while, and there was no easy way around it. At the very least, I needed to forge a path.

As the morning light filtered through the front windows, my eyes fell upon a dollhouse nestled in the corner.

My face lifted as I recognized it—a white colonial-style house with jet-black trimming. I ran my fingertips across the roof, raising a coat of dust. The dollhouse wobbled a bit from past years of use. As I looked inside, I noticed that most of the rooms needed repairs. To my surprise, the living room and kitchen were restored to their original beauty with a bit of sanding, paint, and love.

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