Sissy hummed a hymn to herself. Hunkering down, she peered into the doll’s house. Grandpa made it for her, a Christmas present for his favorite granddaughter. It was a replica of their own house, painted teal with white shutters on the windows. Sissy loved making the matchstick figurines to place inside.
Grandpa, in his rocking chair, holding a miniature story book. Sissy thought about the last day she saw him. He was cleaning the gutters and waved down to her from the top of the ladder. She remembered staring upwards at him and imagining the ladder shifting to the left…
Grandpa lay still on the front lawn soon after. “Poor grandpa, I miss you reading me stories, but I don’t miss sitting on your knees.”
Her matchstick Papa sat in the study. A tiny biretta made of felt stuck to his head. His pastor’s hat.
Sissy palmed her left cheek, feeling the sting of pain again. His hand had knocked her sideways when he saw the hole, she’d scorched in his Sunday trousers while ironing them. Sissy wanted him to sting too. She remembered his face all swelled up like a balloon, lips so blue. Bees attack when disturbed, they didn’t like the vibration she emitted towards the hive from the kitchen window, while watching her Papa walk down the driveway to Church. The honey was ever so sweet though when collected soon after.
“Morning Papa, it’s Sunday. Time for church soon. I made you a little Bible so you can pray with us, too.”
Sissy carefully placed her index finger into the tiny kitchen. She had saved some five cent pieces to put on the miniature family table, like silver platters. She’d spent her morning fashioning another matchstick figure. After twisting some long strands of strawberry blonde hair from her hairbrush, she perched a chignon on the figurine. She then placed her inside the doll’s house, standing at the wee kitchen table.
Sissy’s mouth quivered when she heard the familiar voice with bubbling impatience shout up to her.
“Sissy. SISSY. Your breakfast is ready but clean up that mess in the bathroom first.”
Sidling to the bathroom, she knelt down on the cold tiled floor, scooping up her hacked curls off the floor. Mama said she was vain when she caught her prancing and twirling her long ringlets in front of the mirror. She carried the dressmaking scissors down to the kitchen.
Standing at the doorway, she watched her Mama plunge down the lever of the toaster. Sissy could see a blue surge of electricity in her mind, like sheet lightning as she caressed the stubbled patches on her head.
Mama’s back contorted into an arch as she fell to the floor, her body shaking as her clenched mouth drooled tea-stained saliva, or maybe it was blood. She kept thinking about the blue surge till Mama lay still.
Sissy stepped over her and placed the scissors in the kitchen drawer.
“Don’t fret Mama, you’ve had a shock. Never mind, you’ll be in your kitchen as always.”
Grabbing a slice of toast, Sissy climbed the stairs to her bedroom. She smiled at the newly fashioned figurine in the tiny kitchen. A wee white apron made of tissue billowed around the figurine’s stick waist. Before she ate, she sat in front of the doll’s house and said grace.
“Bless us oh Lord.”