I bought a doll from an antique shop on Upper East Side. It had a white china face and beautiful silk clothes. It was centuries old, but extremely well preserved. I brought it home to Victoria.
“Thank you,” she said with a broad smile, “You’re so sweet. You always know what to get me. Where do you find such beautiful things?”
“I have an eye for beauty,” I said and she kissed me long and warm, and then loosened my tie, one of her many ways to initiate love.
When we lay awake later, staring into the skylight, she said: “The doll will keep me company when you are away. It will inspire me, and when I cannot write, it will comfort me. We will wait for you together.”
“It belonged,” I said, “To a French merchant’s daughter in the eighteenth century. He brought it for her from Switzerland. She was the first in his family to be born into luxury, you know. He was a self-made man.”
“Just like you,” she said.
Later on, when I knew the apartment would no longer bear witness to our love, I saw the doll on the shelf where she had left it. Long forgotten, part of an array of her possessions. Tokens of my devotion.