I never played with a Sindy. She was my older cousin’s best friend though. I knew a Barbie once. But we never got along well. I’d see her occasionally. She never saw me though. I neither liked her nor disliked her. With time, she made me feel uneasy. I couldn’t comprehend her hair, her face, her body, the way she’d feel under my fingers, her existence. I placed her nicely in a box, in the back of the closet where I put all the things I don’t know what to do with, like my bathing suit, or my gran’s knitting needles. I had to move three times since then. That not-friend would be moved undisturbed in her box lest she’d disturb me.

I had no desire to see her.

Barbie was gorgeous. Barbie was mute. Her mouth mute, her head mute, her body mute. Just permanently smiling and being unlivingly mute. Ersatz flesh. Revered porcelain complexion, even if not made of porcelain.  A grotesque imitation. A twisted little not-human.

Porcelain is cold and unliving.

She’d stay in her box, I had no doubt. But I started high school. And she was everywhere. Materialised. Real, it seemed. She wouldn’t leave my sight. In my class, sitting next to me, behind me, all around me, in the cafeteria, in the shops, in my eyes, she took up residence in my mind, imbedded in the cornea of each and every grey cell gushing through the



of tiny waists huge eyes straightened hair and huge white smiles when only the lips are stretched in a semblance of content self-content and livid pride and supremacy egoism was the only real thing little not-humans imitating real humans who emulate little not-humans and the porcelain skin was disturbing and would stalk me smile at me laugh at me at my oppositeness while being

unlivingly mute

yet so much more vocal than in the box.

Her red lips let out words now. She had friends now. Chloe and Sasha and Roxxi and Phoebe. And there was Jade and Yasmin and Meygan. There was one called Fianna too, in that glittery, made-up loch of sametude. And all of them had their little ponies and I really wanted one. No. Two. So neither would be alone.

The not-friends perpetually watched and smiled and laughed and they would speak now. All the time. They’d see me now. They knew about me now. They did not like me now. They knew I didn’t belong there. Anywhere. I am made of protruding actual-flesh susceptible to all bodily functions, to acne vulgaris, to chronic lack of hair extensions, to perpetual high-lessness of my heels – despite being daily, minutely ‘advised’ against all of this. I don’t belong.

It’s almost summer holiday. I ran home today. Had to check she was there. Still unliving. I opened the box and found her inside. Still smiling. Not talking. Porcelain. Plastic. Rubber.

Not alive. Not!

She couldn’t have been in my school then. How was she there? Looking and watching and speaking and saying and eyeing and yelling and talking behind me next to me all around me how could you be alive?

Above her head, metal shortly hovered. She was looking at my gran’s knitting needle – gran knitted many shawls with it – and she was still grinning. Yes! Grinning. Smugly. Morbidly. Perversely. No matter how many times that needle went up and down up and down. Finally, her grin vanished. Ripped. Her eyes hollow. Her leg shredded. Her tiny waist tinier.

My not-friend is sad now

she is unlivingly dead

mute as unliving

should be

in my closet

way back

I found one of my gran’s long winter shawls.

It’s sturdy enough, I think.


Kulović Selma

Photo: Holly