Without further ado, here is a portion of the story Ryan submitted to Trust Me.
“Geraldine,” the girl asked, “am I pretty like you?”
“I don’t know,” the doll teased. “Sit me up so I can get a good look at you.”
Evelyn sat up, anxiously brushing her hair out of her face, and propped Geraldine against the pillow. Geraldine could see with her painted eyes that Evelyn’s hair was thinner than before, and her cheekbones and collarbones were more prominent. The little girl’s nightgown hung on her waxen skin loosely, like it had grown several sizes too big. Her eyes, while they still held some of their youthful fire, looked sunken and tired, with dark circles underneath.
“Evelyn,” the doll said, “You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.”
The little girl blushed and smiled. “Thank you,” she said, and gave the doll a kiss on the forehead before sliding back under the covers.
The two of them lay facing each other in the darkness for quite some time without saying anything. They listened to the sound of a cicada crying outside the window.
Evelyn asked, “Geraldine, you won’t leave me, will you?”
“Of course not, dear!” the doll said. “You know I could not even if I wanted to. It is simply impossible. If it were not for you, I would be confined to my shelf forever.”
“I thought maybe you’d get tired of me being sick all the time. I never get to sneak you outside the house. Since I can’t go to school any more, I never hear any good gossip.”
“Forget about that. I was simply making conversation. Less gossip simply means a lack of tiresome drama. It is your company that I desire, and you will not be rid of me.”
“Okay,” Evelyn said. “If you say so.”
“What a terrible thought, my leaving” the doll said. “Why would you even ask such a thing?”
Evelyn bit her lip. “Mom and Dad don’t think I’m old enough to tell me anything. I thought everyone would be happy when we finally came home from the hospital. Instead they’re just sad. I don’t know if they think I’ll ever get better. I asked Mom when I could go back to school, and she almost started crying. She tried to hide it, but I could tell.”
“Don’t let a few tears scare you,” the doll said. “There are a million reasons a woman might be crying. Trying to guess why is a waste of your time.”
“How about you, Geraldine?” Evelyn asked. “Do you think I’ll get better?”“Darling, everything will be fine in the end. You will see.”