The Wisdom of Parker

Parker heard his sisters yelling in the living room and decided to read at the kitchen table instead. They got angry quickly and calmed down just as quickly if left alone.   They’d gotten better as they got older, and now fights like this were rare.

In his book, Toad had just bought a car.   Parker knew this meant trouble and eagerly turned the page. Something landed on the table in front of him, shocking him out of the story.   Looking down, he saw an old Barbie doll grinning fiercely up at him. Creepy.

He looked up and leaned back a little. Harriet and Annette were glaring at him arms folded.   What now? He looked down again. The doll looked fine. “What’s wrong?” He asked.

“Annette says this Barbie used to be hers, but it was mine,” Harriet said.

“No, it was mine,” Annette said. She glared at Harriet. Harriet snorted.

“I don’t remember anything about your Barbies,” Parker said.

“Of course you don’t,” Harriet said. “You were still wearing diapers when we played with dolls.”

“Then I don’t see how I can help you,” Parker said.   “Have you asked Mom?”

“She says she doesn’t remember and we should learn to share,” Annette said. She flopped down on a chair across from Parker.

“Like that would work,” Harriet said. Annette laughed. Harriet sat down next to her.

“You could ask Dad,” Parker said.

“He’d take it away ‘cause we were fighting over it,” Harriet said. She bumped her shoulder into Annette’s and Annette smiled.

“That’s true.” Parker leaned forward. “And Amy?”

“She said she doesn’t care and Barbies are stupid,” Annette said.

“Like she wasn’t the one inventing those weird soap opera plots for her Barbies all the time,” Harriet said. She scowled.

“So…” Parker began.

“So we want you to help us decide who keeps it,” Harriet said and leaned back in her chair.

“Alright,” Parker said. “So, do you remember anything that can help me decide?”

“It’s not Harriet’s,” Annette said. “She used to cut the hair off of all her dolls.”

“Not all of them! And I stopped doing that.” Harriet sat up straight and began to glare again. “Besides, this one still has its original outfit. You were always dressing yours in weird scraps of cloth and old socks and stuff.”

Now Annette was glaring too. “That’s ridiculous. I changed them back, too.”

“Well,” Parker said. “We could take the head off. One of you could keep the head and play with the doll’s hair, and the other could keep the body and experiment with different outfits.”

Both sisters stared. After a long moment, Annette laughed. “That seems logical. I’ll let you keep the head, Harriet.”

Harriet laughed too. “What would I do with a Barbie head? You keep the whole thing, Annie. I’d hate to see it broken in pieces just ‘cause we can’t get along.”

“I don’t know,” Parker said. “It seems to me that Harriet cares the most about the doll’s well-being. Maybe she should be in charge of it.”

Annette sighed. “I guess so. That’s too bad. It was the last nice Barbie we had left.”

“Maybe we can learn to share,” Harriet said. She picked up the doll and held it out to Annette.

“Like that’s going to happen,” Annette said, but she smiled and took the doll. She straightened its clothes. “Well, okay, maybe we can try. Thanks, Harriet.”

The sisters stood to leave. “Thanks, Parker,” Harriet said.

“Yeah, good job,” Annette added. They left and Parker went back to his book with a smile.barbie-10-29