I had a strange dream last night. I woke up in a pure white room with bright fluorescent lighting strapped to a hospital bed. The restraints were pretty tight; they kept even my head in place so I couldn't get a good look around. What was this place? Maybe a dentist's office? I know I'm not the best when it comes to dentists, but this seemed a bit much for a cavity. "Hello?" I called out. "Is the dentist coming soon?" Silence. I don't think I like this dentist very much. The silence soon ended when I heard heavy footsteps coming down the hall. Finally, the dentist was coming! However, I didn't find the footsteps seemed to only make me feel more anxious; something wasn't right. That was when I heard it, the screams and wails of children begging to be released before a loud thud and awful crunching sound brought back the silence. The footsteps started again, followed by a weird squeaking and scuffing sound like something was being dragged across the floor.
I don't like this place. "Excuse me?" I called out again. "Can someone please let me go? I'm scared,". My voice cracked while I cried. "Please, can someone please call my sister?"
My heart thumped loudly in my chest when the bed moved on its own. It rose to turn to a door cracked halfway open and the footsteps only got louder, they're getting closer. I don't know what kind of dentist this is, but I didn't want to find out. "I want to go home now." I cried. "I want my sister!"
I woke up just as the door pushed open. Thank goodness! It was all just a bad dream. I should have known better, something so bizarre could never be real. "Kelly" a voice called out to me. "Are you awake yet? Breakfast is almost ready!" I jumped out of bed and rushed downstairs to the delicious smell of waffles. "Waffles? Yum!" I cheered, taking a seat. "Someone slept in today," said my older sister, Skipper. "Yeah. It's normally Skipper who's the last one down" my other sister Stacey chimed in. That's the thing about being the youngest child, your big sisters like to tease you any chance they get.
"C'mon guys, we all have our late mornings." With a cheery tone and a plate full of waffles entered the best big sister a girl could ask for, Barbie. She's always the first to wake up and takes the time to make breakfast for us, even with her hectic schedule. "Did you have any trouble getting to sleep last night? I was sure you were out like a light after the story time." I shook my head, digging into breakfast. "I had a bad dream last night."
"A bad dream? Are you okay?" she asked.
"I'm fine. It was just a bad dream about a scary dentist's office."
"A dentist's office? Oh, Kelly, you don't need to be afraid of dentists. They just want to help you keep up that pretty smile." She's right. I can always count on Barbie to be a voice of reason and comfort me when I'm scared.
By the time breakfast was over, a knock came on the back door before opening "hello, hello."
Ken is Barbie's boyfriend and has been for as long as I can remember. She welcomed him in, offering a cup of coffee, "how's the most beautiful girl in the world?" She giggled in pouring creamer into his cup "just fine." They're as lovey-dovey as ever. Even though my sisters found their flirtatious behavior, embarrassing sometimes it was something else about Barbie I admired, because she had the perfect partner. He's supported everything she's done and seems to look up to her even more than we do. But it only made sense that someone as perfect as Barbie would have a boyfriend like Ken.
"Hey Kiddo!" he tussled my hair with an enormous grin. "Today's the day you give your report, right?"
I nodded, "yeah! Today I get to talk about my hero, Barbie."
"Oh Kelly, you're writing your report about me? I'm flattered." She came over and gave me a great big hug before her watch's alarm went off. "Look at the time! I'm sorry, but I have to get going. Be sure to let me know how the report goes okay?" She grabbed Ken's hand and rushed out the door, waving goodbye. We all wished them good luck and finished breakfast before Skipper ushered me back upstairs "alright we need to get ready for school."
After we got ready Skipper and Stacy walked me to the bus stop, holding my hands and swinging me every few steps.
"Are you excited about giving your report?" Stacy asked.
"Yeah! I can't wait to share it with the class."
"What made you pick Barbie for your paper?" Skipper clasped my hand, swinging me up once more.
"Because Barbie is the best!" I giggled. "She's the bestest big sister ever."
Stacy and Skipper stopped arching their brows, "bestest big sister, huh?"
"One of the bestest big sisters!" I corrected myself.
By the time we got to school, I felt like I would burst. I spent all weekend with no help from my sisters writing this report and was ready to present it to the class. I ran off soon as they let my hands go, slowing down when I saw Mrs. Wilson outside our classroom welcoming students so I wouldn't get in trouble. When I got to my desk, I pulled out my report running my fingers over the title page, I just needed to wait for Mrs. Wilson to start class and I'd have my moment.
"Good morning everyone."
"Good morning, Mrs. Wilson," we all replied.
"Now today is a special day, isn't it? Can anyone tell me what's happening today?"
My hand shot up "today is presentation day."
"That's right. Today is the day you all share who your hero is with us. So who would like to go first?"
She gave an amused grin when my hand went up again, "okay Kelly, come on up."
That was all I needed to hear. I rushed to the front of the class clutching my report as I greeted everyone "hi!" I cleared my throat while everyone laughed, I was supposed to be presenting my report not yelling it at them. Composing myself, I took a deep breath and put a smile on, just like Barbie always taught me to do when I was nervous. This is my big moment.
Hello everyone. My name is Kelly Roberts and today I will talk about my hero, my big sister Barbie Roberts. As most of you may already know Barbie is a famous fashion icon who is well known around the world for her amazing style; but she is much more than that. She is an amazing person who has dedicated her life to helping girls learn that they can be whoever they want to be. Even when she was the only girl in a room full of boys, she never let that get in her way and now adds career after career to her resume. And though she may have a schedule, that's always jam-packed with things to do I can always count on my big sister to be there when I need her. Because of her, I believe that anything is possible and I do my best to be just as awesome as she is every day. When I grow up I hope I can be as smart, kind, and courageous as my hero and big sister Barbie.
At the end of my presentation, everyone clapped, and I even got a gold sticker on my paper! The best part of the day was being able to read it to Barbie when she got home. After I read it to her she sniffled wiping a tear from her eye giving me a big hug "I love it!" This was one of the best days ever. I got to talk about my favorite person, Barbie praised me, and I even got ice cream as a reward.
When it was time for bed Barbie helped me get tucked in pinning my A+ paper on my achievement board. "Looks like you had a good day," she sat by my side while I got settled. "Everyone liked my report today. They told me I was so lucky to have an amazing big sister like you, and I agree. You're the best Barbie!" With a small giggle, she tucked me in, rustling my hair, "I think you're pretty amazing yourself."
We said goodnight, and I turned over to the Barbie poster on my wall that had a collage of all her careers with the phrase "Be who you wanna be" written across it. Be who you wanna be, huh? Well, if I had my choice, I would be just like Barbie. I would pretty smart, and the world would love me. Who wouldn't want her life? The best I can do is work hard and try my best so I can be just as wonderful as her when I grow up.
I think while fantasizing about what it would be like to be my sister, I must have dozed off at some point because I suddenly found myself at a party. It was a backyard party with pink and blue balloons placed around the tables. Everything appeared to be decorated in those colors, from the treats on the dessert table to the streamers that hung on the canopy above me with little pictures of strokes carrying babies. A group of women gathered at different tables playing weird games like eating baby food and racing to put diapers on baby dolls.
"Isn't this fun, Kelly?" Stacie came up to me holding two cupcakes. "So which do you think it will be? Boy or girl?" she held out the cupcakes, and I gave her a confused look. "What do you mean?" She smiled, laughing, "the baby silly."
"Uh oh" I turned around to find Barbie reaching past me pulling a clothespin from Stacie's sleeve, "you said the B-word."
"Aw come on Barbie, give me a break!"
Barbie shook her head dropping the clothespin in a jar "you know the rules of the game Stace."
"Barbie!" I was so relieved to see her. If anyone could make sense of what was going on, it's her. "I'm so happy to see you, what's going on? Where are we?" She took the pink cupcake from Stacie handing it to me "we are at Midge's shower for her new ba- bundle of joy!" she grinned keeping her clothespin out of Stacie's reach.
Midge? I know Midge. She's one of Barbie's best friends from Willows, but I don't remember her ever having a baby. "Okay, everyone! Time for cake and the gender reveal of our baby!" Over the music and chatter, Midge's voice traveled across the backyard thanks to the mini megaphone someone gave her. Barbie grabbed my hand and took me to the head table, "we better get a good spot for the reveal."
All the guests crowded around the table where Midge sat with a little brown-haired boy at her side who looked to be close to my age. "Make way for the happy daddy" a man chimed. He resembled the boy who was with Midge, wearing a blue plaid shirt that matched his. Everyone awed at the white cake with pink and blue footprints he carried over to her "alright now let my darling wife have some room to cut" he playfully shooed at us. "Oh Alan, you're so silly" Midge nudged him. Alan? I don't remember anyone named Alan or Midge ever being married. It also seems like the little boy is part of their family. So why don't I remember? Everyone's cheers interrupted my thoughts as she held up a slice of pink cake, "it's a girl!"
After they handed the cake out all the adults seemed busy crowding around Midge and her family congratulating them on the baby girl, they would soon be having. I still found this all very confusing. I have met Midge a few times and never remembered her having a family. In fact, she would sometimes talk about how she hopes to find something like what Barbie and Ken had. Even though I know this is a dream it feels familiar somehow, like something you don't remember until someone brings it up again.
Toward the end of the party, two women entered the backyard. They wore red suits with the letter M embroidered in white on their right breast pockets with bright smiles that for some reason gave me a chill. When Barbie noticed them, she quickly went over a greeted them, signaling for Midge and Alan to come over and do the same. "Midge, we are here today to congratulate you on your growing family" she smiled and tried to thank them but they cut her off. "Soon your new line will soon be released in stores and of course Barbie will be the doctor who will care for and deliver your baby, Nikki, yes that name will be perfect." She nodded along to everything they said while Barbie flashed her signature smile, patting her shoulder. When the conversation ended Midge looked relieved to see the two women leave rubbing her stomach, but after a deep breath, she went back to the party as if nothing happened.
Barbie walked the two women out of the party deep in discussion about something that sounded business-related from what I heard. When she returned to see the gift opening I stopped her "Barbie, who were those ladies you were talking to?" She placed a hand on my head kneeling "those were just some friends from Mattel" she assured me. "They just wanted to congratulate Midge because as a gift she will get her own line based on her happy family. Isn't that great?" Her own doll line? That makes sense. After all, thanks to Barbie, we all get to have dolls that make the children of the world happy. She always told me how thanks to the deal she signed with Mattel, our lives as toys would be something people could only dream about. If Midge was getting a new line of dolls, that just means Barbie could help make her friend's lives just as amazing as hers. "When the toys hit the shelves be sure to congratulate Midge okay? This will be a tremendous deal for her."
She took my hand, and we walked back to catch the end of the gift opening. Though the gift table wasn't far away, it seemed like the distance between us just kept getting longer. The gifts around the table disappeared one by one and the guests changed. All our friends turned into faceless people in red suits like the women before and their numbers grew beginning to surround the table. The group soon surrounded the table and the joyous laughter from Midge soon turned into desperate cries clutching what was now a blonde-haired baby in her arms letting out one last scream before they swarmed on her. "Oh, what a shame" Barbie commented stopping to watch what unfolded with what oddly sounded like a fake amount of concern in her voice "look like the happy family line didn't do too well."
My eyes force themselves open and I was back in my room again, still facing the poster. It wasn't until my eyes landed on Barbie that it hit me like a red rubber ball on the playground at recess. Shock, pity, and a level of immense fear I couldn't figure out words to describe. I was trying to process exactly what it was I just saw and why. Why did it feel less like a dream and more like an awful memory, and why for the first time in my life did I feel afraid of Barbie? The best big sister in the entire world who everyone loved, and here I was frightened just by the site of her.
Sitting in bed wasn't doing me any good, so I got up and head down for breakfast a little early today. There was Barbie fixing breakfast for us before she had to go to work like always, "go morning Kelly!" I sighed sitting down mumbling out a good morning before she brought over a glass of juice "is something wrong?" I shook my head taking a sip "just had a bad dream last night."
"Another one? That's not good. Was it the dentist again?"
"No, it wasn't."
Swishing the juice around in my glass, I decided it was best to tell her what happens so she could help me. She returned to the kitchen, pulling cinnamon buns out of the oven while I tried to find the right words to say. "Last night I had this weird dream that we were all at a baby shower for Midge and she even had a husband and child I've never met." Before I could explain any further, the loud clang of the pan startled me when it hit the ground. Barbie just stood in front of the oven silently looking ahead like she didn't notice she had just dropped part of our breakfast.