The Saga of Jennifer Jones

Do not underestimate small girls

 

Jennifer Jones, all skin and bones, lived at number twenty-three.
Her dad dropped dead, her mum got wed to Jason Pitts from Leigh-on-Sea.
Jennifer Jones, all skin and bones, ran away from twenty-three.
She got a bus to Toys R Us and made a campsite, secretly.

Late that night, off went the lights, and the cleaners squirted scent.
Jennifer Jones, all on her own, crept out of her secret tent.
The shop was dark, the air was still, the toys were quiet as stars.
Jennifer Jones, forgotten, alone, found a beautiful wooden guitar.

Jennifer Jones played nervous notes but then to her great surprise
she found she was singing a beautiful song, the melody sweet and wise.
Her words rose up and filled the dark with the tale of her tragic life.
Then something moved. A doll in a box blinked open her china blue eyes.

Come alive all you who are factory born
come join this human world
take a breath in and change yourself
from a doll to a little girl

The doll moved quietly inside her box, testing her arms and legs.
A little stretch here, a little stretch there, a little nod of the head.
Jennifer Jones played on and on, her fingers dancing like flames
till the doll burst out of the dusty box and spoke: Give me your name

Jennifer Jones stopped playing at once and looked at the living doll
Give me your name, the doll said again, your name, your name is all.
Jennifer Jones sat trembling hard as the doll moved close to her face.
Give me your name, and your clothes, she whispered, and I will take your place.

You gave me life through your song, said the doll, and for me life holds no fear.
I will take your place in your horrible home and you may be comfortable here.
For though I’m alive, I don’t have a heart and cannot feel pain like you,
so take my place in this shop, dear child, and be found by somebody new.

Jennifer Jones was cold to her bones, thinking she must have gone mad.
But this was no dream; could this doll really fool her mum and her nasty new dad?
Very well, she replied, and she stroked the doll’s hair, I can never go back to my home.
I will give you my name and my clothes and my life, and pray a new family will come.

And so the next morning the shop opened up and on came all the bright lights,
giving no clue at all about what had gone on throughout that magical night.
The toys were all nicely arranged in their rows, their boxes lined up on the shelves.
But lying in one marked ‘On Sale, Special Deal’, a little girl smiled to herself.

And sure enough, later that day, around three, a family came to the store.
A girl and a boy were squawking with glee at the wonderful playthings galore.
Then the little girl stopped at the section marked ‘DOLLS’ and stared at a box on sale.
That doll was so lifelike she didn’t think twice: I want this one! Yes, this one! she yelled.

Jennifer J was driven away in the boot of a rickety car.
She was taken upstairs to a small attic room with a view of the moon and the stars.
The little girl opened the box wide-eyed, for the doll seemed so perfect and real.
And Jennifer Jones, with glad, happy bones, let out an ecstatic squeal.

You’re alive! said the girl, You’re alive, just like me! How’d you get to be inside a box?
So Jennifer Jones told the girl all about her life full of fighting and knocks,
how her mum didn’t care, how her dad wasn’t fair, how she never had toys of her own,
and the little girl gave her the world’s biggest hug. Don’t worry, she whispered, you’re home.

Jennifer Jones grew fat on her bones and lived to a hundred and three.
She stayed in the attic for all her long life, being fed on mint chocolates and tea.
She read all day long and learned about science, about nature and maths and the Arts,
and when the night came, she climbed onto the roof and sang to the moon and the stars.

Meanwhile, far away, in a miserable house, a bully called Jason Pitts
mysteriously fell down the stairs one night and was taken away in bits.
And a nasty old woman fell out of her chair and couldn’t get up again,
and a sweet blue-eyed girl, looking just like a doll, shut the door and walked off with a grin.

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About sophiewellstood

Teacher and writer, sometimes the other way around. Some of my writing is traditionally published and in bookshops, as well as online. I've put some poems for younger people / lapsed adults here, and some proper swearing. I hope you enjoy.
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