She slowly dug around her garden, making holes to put her plants in. As her hands separated the dirt to make room, she felt something smooth at her touch.

She crooked an eyebrow up, confused, and dug around the smooth cold object. After a few moments had passed, she lifted up an old porcelain doll.

The doll was covered in mud, her blonde hair in tangles.

The woman felt pity for the poor thing.

She brought it inside and took off its clothes, washing it in the machine before letting it dry off near the radiator.

She closed her eyes as she sat on an armchair in the living room. Images came back to her when she was a young girl.

How she used to love playing with her dolls... wanting a friend. Wanting someone who was real to be with her and not leave her alone.

And she had found her doll, playing with the toy that made her feel like she wasn't by herself. That something, something like this would always be there for her.

But... the doll wasn't. It disappeared.

The woman looked outside to the winter weather. The clouds were dark and heavy, the air having a chill in it.

She was tidying up the garden for her parents who were away for a week.

She blinked her eyes suddenly, becoming alert as she realized the time.

The sun was setting and she didn't have much daylight hours left.

She took hold of the doll, brushing her blonde locks. The woman spent half an hour sowing a new dress and struggled slightly to fit it on the doll, but soon it fitted like a snug glove.

She wiped the shiny marble eyes clean, the iris having a blue tint and there was a shine on the pupil.

She heard a knock on the door and went to answer it, just to discover... there was no one there.

She held the remastered doll in her hands, looking at her and it in the reflection of a mirror.

When she was a little girl, she'd stand in front of that mirror, picturing what she'd look like as an adult. That she'd be a mummy one day.

The woman felt her eyes water, a teardrop slipping down her cheek. She saw herself not holding a child... but a doll.

She had to let go of the past. She had to move on.

As she lay in bed that night, she imagined there was a voice calling her. Someone who sounded upset.

She sat up, and came over to the window, peering outside and seeing her.

A little girl in white pyjamas, crying outside on the grass.

The woman felt upset, seeing this. She got up, about to go to the child, when something dawned on her.

She picked up the doll and opened the front door.

"My dolly..." The girl begged, reaching out her small hands, "Please... give me back my friend..."

"Yours?" The woman asked, and lifted the doll to her own face, seeing it reflect her back from its shiny skin.

It was time to let go.

She came to the child and gave her the toy.

The girl smiled and walked away into the dark... disappearing from time and memory.

~x~

Thirty years ago, a girl stood by a mirror, looking at herself and her dolly reflect back at her. She couldn't remember who gave it to her, just that she saw in her imagination, a woman holding a doll in her hands. The same one as hers.

She was going to play in the garden with her friend... the only friend she had.

And she would never lose her.

Only in time... the woman finding her lost doll in the ground.