The Dollhouse Angel
By Angela T. Pisaturo
Mark felt like he'd been punched in the stomach. He knew the company had been losing money lately, but couldn't they wait until the New Year before they let people go? It had been his fiftieth birthday last week. Where could he find work at his age? Disconcerting thoughts continued to run through his mind.
He walked along Fifth Avenue, his head in a fog. He didn't feel the tiny snowflakes that fell on his face, nor did he notice the elaborate Christmas displays in the stores along the avenue. If this was yesterday, he'd be filled with holiday spirit. If this was yesterday, he'd be employed.
Mark approached the entrance to Saks Fifth Avenue. He hesitated for a moment, and then thought better of going inside. His sweet granddaughter, Missy, was coming to spend the holidays, and now he'd have to break his promise to build her a magnificent dollhouse. Mark blinked away a tear. Even if he could afford the dollhouse kit, what about all the dollhouse furniture to go with it?
He passed a perfume store and thought of his wife, Jean. How was he going to break the news to her? It would just have to wait until after the holidays. There wasn't any sense in ruining everyone's holiday.
The falling snow created a halo on Mark's head. He brushed if off with annoyance. Mark had loved snow ever since he was a child, but today it just provided another thorn for his already aching side.
As he walked further along the Avenue, an animated figure of Santa Claus came into view. Mark wanted to bop the thing as it "ho hoed." Then he saw it-a state of the art designer dollhouse in the FAO Schwarz window. He paced back and forth in front of the window. Should he go in and check it out? Who was he kidding-he couldn't afford anything like that. But some strange twisted impulse brought him into the store.
Mark walked over to the dollhouse displays. He studied the various kits. The Victorian design caught his eye. Missy loved pretty lace, and the molding for this house reminded him of lace. He looked at the price and then sighed. Tears welled up in his eyes.
He moved over to the next counter where plain, plywood dollhouse kits were stacked. He took a box off the shelf and studied the structure-maybe with a little paint and homemade furniture he could make it work. Mark took the box and headed for the cashier, but while waiting in line he thought better of buying the makeshift kit.
Dragging his feet back to the dollhouse section, he placed the kit back on the shelf. He couldn't give his little darling that dollhouse when he promised her a mansion of lace.
Mark's heart was breaking. He could understand why some people became desperate enough to begin a life of crime. As he made his way to the exit, a saleswoman approached him.
"May I help you, sir?" she asked.
Mark grew uncomfortable and readjusted his jacket. "Ah, no ... I, ah ... no thanks."
He started walking away. The woman tapped him on the shoulder. "I may have something that might interest you in the storeroom."
Mark nodded in agreement. He didn't want to appear rude on Christmas Eve. As he waited he wondered if this saleswoman could make money appear in his wallet because that would be the only way he could afford anything from this store.
After several minutes, Mark grew restless and decided to leave; telling himself it was a waste of time to look at anything else. He started for the door again, but the saleswoman called after him, "Sir, I think you might like this."
"How much is it?" Mark's tone of voice rang with suspicion.
The saleswoman smiled at him. She was starting to unnerve him. "Some of the lace curtains and rugs are missing," she continued.
Mark folded his arms. "How much?"
"You can have it for half price."
Mark looked at the price tag. "Are you sure?"
The saleswoman placed everything back in the box, and then squeezed his shoulder. "Yes, sir, I'm sure. Merry Christmas."
Mark walked to the subway station with his treasure tucked under his arm. He started humming Christmas carols, and it felt wonderful. As He waited on the subway platform for the train, a bum approached him. Mark reached in his pocket, pulled out his last two dollars and wished the man a Merry Christmas.
It didn't matter anymore that he hadn't a job or a way to pay his bills, or even that he gave his last two dollars to the subway bum. All that mattered was keeping a promise to his little Missy. Mark wondered how the saleswoman had been able to sell the dollhouse at such a low price, even with some of the pieces missing.
Maybe she was an angel-at least she'd been an angel to him.
Angela Pisaturo studied art and illustration for children's books in New York City in the 1970's. She ran a craft business and taught arts and crafts in such well-known places as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York Botanical Gardens, Greenburgh Nature Center and Helen Hayes Center for the Arts. She studied the craft of writing at the Christian Writers Guild run by Jerry Jenkins. She has two self-published children's books, "A Gift for Abigail" and "True Friends Are Forever." These books sold on Amazon.com and were featured at local Christian bookstores, as well as Book-A-Million bookstores. Her desire is to share the talent God gave her to bring joy and hope to her readers' lives. Currently, she is coordinator of Joyful Word Writers, a group of dedicated and talented Christian writers in the Tampa Bay area. You can write to Angela care of the Letters page of this magazine.