The little orange shed sat in the corner of my backyard. It hadn’t always been there but with all the thefts that had happened lately, it was a necessary luxury. It was more of an investment than anything, really. Already it housed some shelves on the back wall, stocked with several Rubbermaid filled with various things. I stood outside and looked in the wooden doors. There was rough green flooring, akin to a carpet, and beside the door, the walls were adorned with opening windows. It looked like a small house! I decided that it was my new playhouse. I had never had a playhouse before!

Instinctively, I set to work decorating it. I commenced sweeping it out and I begged my mom to take a string and hang a pale pink blanket across the back of the room to hide the unseemly bins. We used clothespins to keep it hanging up. It fell if you tugged it too hard, but anything was better than nothing. My house would be pretty and clean, not ugly and dirty. This was just the beginning of renovations to my new “home”. I took a carpet that used to be in my bedroom out to the shed. It was designed to look like a hopscotch drawing, with a pink background and a purple lining. The mat underneath had begun to disintegrate, which made it perfect for my eclectic abode.

Over time, the empty(ish) shed became filled. But it was not filled with things from the garage. No, instead the shed had acquired “furniture” for my home. A bench from the basement, fake food, a suitcase of doll clothes, and two small blue cribs. The second crib was for my younger sister, Morgan, who also put her own belonging into this shed. She contributed her doll clothes and a stroller for our babies. We stole bowls and cups from the kitchen to make vases for our dandelion bouquets and we painted pictures to grace the rough wood walls.

On especially hot days, it became stiflingly hot in there, but we had windows that we could open. We tried not to open the door because then a wasp may try to find its way in and then we had to run, screaming, from the house and abandon our baby dolls. I felt so guilty when we left them in there with those flying monsters. It made me feel like a bad mother.

My best friend, Brooke, would often come across the street and she, Morgan and I would play together for hours. Our summer became filled with games like cook, queen and servant and the classic game: house. I always tried to convince my playmates that I had to be the mother or the daughter. No one wanted to be the boy; being a mommy was natural, being daddy was not.

When night came and my mom called me in to get ready for bed, My bears were all collected and taken inside with me. Before I left, I made sure my dolls were all put in their pyjamas and laid snugly in their beds. Each of them was kissed on the head and bid goodnight. I would turn off the imaginary lights and quietly tiptoe out of the room so as not to wake them. Finally, I closed the door to the little orange shed and went off to my own mother who waited in the doorway, framed in light.