Barbie - Charlotte Kazlauskas

Last night, as I was tucking my daughter into bed, she told me she wished she looked like Kelly.

Kelly is her barbie. Kelly has blonde hair, blue eyes the size of dinner plates and a waist the width of my pinky.

My daughter is five.

The next morning, I wake to a dull thumping on my door. When I open it, I see that overnight, the top half of my daughter has become Kelly.

Her face frozen in a wide, saturated smile, she had not been able to open the door with her plastic fingers.

At breakfast, I watch my baby’s legs dangle from her chair, swinging slightly as though in the wind. She bumps her bowl of cereal with a stiff arm.

Kelly’s slender arms, small waist and breasts are fused with a band of translucent skin onto my daughters short, soft legs.

She begins to be teased at school.

The teachers throw up their hands, saying: “There is no way to assess whether or not she is learning anything.”

Unable to eat, my daughter spends her last days in bed, legs sweating and convulsing.

When she dies, the skin on her hips is yellow and decaying. It peels off in sheets.

She dies with Kelly’s eager smile, with her smooth torso and manicured, synthetic fingernails.

She dies perfect.

She dies beautiful.

Charlotte Kazlauskas has been in mourning since she didn't receive her letter to Hogwarts at the age of 11. She relies on teen literature and the promise of spring to cope with her grief.