When I was a young girl - I couldn't have been more than 6 years old - I ran away from my nurse. I ran as far and as fast as my stumpy little child's legs would permit, desperate to get away, to flee, to run from the palace. I can't even remember why I ran. It's funny, the things you remember. Even now the desperation to flee fills my heart; pounding out a rhythm of "go, go, go" but the why is buried deep in my subconscious. I was so determined to flee that I held on to the little white hand in my own. My doll. I had to leave with her, I had to find her before I ran. Oh, how I loved that doll. She was the softest doll to exist, her features where so intricately formed, so kind. So gentle, an innocence told by the pale white of her skin. She was whipped by the grass as we ran, streaks of green staining her white clothes, batted this way and that as we ran.

It's funny. We got as far as the goat-herder before they caught us. I didn't care that they caught us, but they then took my doll from me and I cried.

They must have taken her to get washed, to clean the green grass stains from her. I wailed to the maids, distraught, as they marched me back to the palace, the firm hand clasped on my shoulder preventing me from running. Not that I would have ran without her.

We were apart for four days and I was inconsolable. I cried endlessly, begging everyone to give her back to me.

On the fourth day, I saw her. Dangling on the string, hung up with the other clothes. The line stretched across the courtyard, flapping dramatically in the wind. My doll's little legs flustered in the breeze, kicking this way and that. She looked like I had when I'd run, but there was only air below her. The wind had caught her more than the other clothes, she struggled more.

It's funny. Seeing her up there. A rag doll on the clothes line.

I almost believe it. I can almost turn the others to clothes, just faceless white stretches of cloth, hung up to dry. Freshly washed, and drying cloth, not maids, struggling for air, choking, dying. I can see my mother as nothing but a doll, a little muddy but just a doll.

If I shut my eyes, I can push the horror away, turning it into a sweet memory of a pampered princess.