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Nataly's Story

Living Doll House



Nataly 1 Finally Valentin was satisfied with Nataly's pose. Her head bowed slightly, she waited patiently for whatever was to come. This was irony, she thought. Her mother reduced to growing immobility in her hospital bed by that merciless illnes, and the only thing she could do, as a good daughter, was let herself be changed into an motionless object, a living mannequin, just to pay the doctors ... who could not do anything anyway. Keep still now.


A moment of doubt, panic even, but it was too late to run already: the paste covering her limbs, her neck and most of her face had hardened. While it allowed her skin to breath and sweat through a million invisible holes, it yielded not even the illusion of movement to the girl held prisoner inside it. Through the slits between her stiffening eyelids she could see the gleam of the glaze on her arms. I am going to make you a porcelain princess, Valentin had said. Nataly 2


Nataly 3 She relaxed the muscles in her neck and noticed her head did not sink any further. Neither could she move it up. The paste on her neck and under her chin had become solid too, keeping her head where it was. A geisha forever paying homage to unknown masters. You can not touch me, but you can look. I am here to be looked at. Look.
She felt the hands and the brush of the make-up artist around her eyes. A hand glued long lashes to her eyelids.
Valentin was not good with make-up. He had hired a woman for this. It made no difference to Nataly. There was no way to tell for her if the hands that were touching the shiny surface of her face belonged to a woman or a man.

The woman: You are going to be like a mannequin, more than a mannequin ever can look like a real woman. Beat them at their own game, those anorexic goddesses, those killing sirens proposing an ideal unattainable to women. People will look and look and only see a mannequin. Still, they will know, this is the girl Nataly, the living doll.



Someone was braiding her hair. They would make it like silver, they had said.

She used to say her mother had more silver in her hair than she had in her purse all her life. Not true, they both knew. Her mother's hair had the greyness of the Newa water when clouds were hanging low over the current. But sometimes a lie conveys a message of its own.
The hairdresser. First of many people to come. They would care for her like for a baby, clean her, feed her, keep her in some short of shape - her own frozen shape - don't let a good investment go to waste.

What would she look like with silver hair? She would never know. Hours ago Valentin, seeing her twitch to have a final look at the outside world, had glued her eyelids together, to defeat temptation. Now she was blind, like her mother had become three months ago. Yet Nataly was lucky. Her blindness served a purpose.

Isn't that what we all want? Purpose.
Nataly 4


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