• It all started with a pair of shoes…

    “I’m home Honey!“ called Helen’s Mom from downstairs. “I went shopping and I got you something.”

    “What is it Mom?” called Helen, as she walked downstairs to hug her Mother. “Is it fluffy, shiny, or big?” Helen sounded a little exited.

    “Well, I met this lady at the shop and she said that these,” Helen’s Mom pulled out a pair of shoes with a flourish, “are the rage for kids these days.” The shoes were about the most childish, ugliest pair of shoes Helen had ever seen. They were pink Mary Janes with Barney faces on the toes and little purple and yellow flowers all over.

    “You know what I think?” said Helen’s Mom, “I think that you could wear these shoes with that yellow dress to Mary’s party today!” With that, Helen’s Mom dragged Helen upstairs to try on the outfit with the shoes. It was very clear that she had not seen the look of absolute horror on Helen’s face.

    “Honey you look beautiful! Just stand still for one moment while I fix the sash … There! Look at you!” Helen’s Mom said, turning Helen towards the mirror. Helen looked and thought, “Oh, my gosh! I am not going anywhere in this getup!”

    “Mom, you know that casserole we had last night? Well, I don’t think it agreed with my stomach. Maybe I shouldn’t go to the party.”

    “Oh, I’m so sorry Honey! Let’s get you in bed.”

    An hour later Helen sat on her bed feeling extremely sorry for herself.

    “If Mom hadn’t bought me those stupid shoes, I would be having the time of my life at Mary’s party,” she grumbled into her pillow.

    “Bonjour petite fille grincheuse.” That means, “Hello, grumpy little girl,” in French. I was born in France. “Sono venuto insegnarlo,” “I have come to teach you,” in Italian.

    “Who’s that talking?!” cried Helen, spinning around to face where the voice had come from. It was an amazing feat for someone lying facedown. As she looked, all she could see was her tights and the pair of ugly shoes on the floor in front of her.

    “You could just tell your Mom that you won’t wear me to the party.” The voice sounded a little hurt this time. “Or you could just deal with your selfishness and your lie.”

    “Wait one second, who’s talking?” exclaimed a very confused Helen.

    “It’s me, your shoes!” The voice sounded surprised she had to ask.

    “Well, how was I supposed to know that?” She said, too indignant to be surprised.

    “I think your brain has gone wrong or something. First you say you won’t wear me to your friend’s party, then you don’t realize I am talking to you. I wish I hadn’t said I’d teach you.”

    “Teach me what?” asked Helen curiously.

    “Well, if I tell you, it would ruin the whole thing.”

    “Well, what’s the whole thing? If you can’t tell me, show me!”

    “Fine, if you’re so eager, put me on!”

    Helen picked up the shoes and slipped them onto her feet. She straightened. “Well, that was dramatic, what am I supposed to do now, tap my heals together three times?”

    “No, it’s much easier than that, just jump!”

    “Just jump?”

    “Yep!” Helen jumped. When her feet hit the ground, a weird tingling sensation spread up her legs. Suddenly she was engulfed in yellow light and all air was gone. He lungs were on fire. Then, she hit the ground. “Humph, where am I?” she said as she looked around her.

    “Don’t you recognize it? It’s the perfect world that you always dreamed you lived in.”

    It was true, the grass was green and wonderful to the touch. The sky was robin’s egg blue, and the air was crisp and wonderful to breathe. All around Helen were happy people with wonderful smiles on their faces. “Where’s my house?” Helen asked tentatively.

    “Why, don’t you know? It’s the castle!”

    “Oh, Sweet!” cried Helen as she ran towards the castle which overlooked the town. “I wonder what it’s like inside,” she gasped as she arrived at the steps panting. Catching her breath, she walked up the steps and through the palace doors.

    “Highness, would you like to bathe before supper?” asked a serving girl.

    “Yes, and after I would like to change clothing,” she said with the tone of authority she thought someone royal would have.

    “Come this way, Highness, “said yet another girl, and Helen followed her up the staircase. Helen arrived and was amazed at the white bathroom, gilded floor to ceiling with a huge tub in the center of the room. Later on, Helen would realize that all of the rooms were like this.

    Helen spent many days in the castle but she always felt that there wasn’t anything to do, and she was SO homesick. Finally, Helen got the shoes out of the closet and asked, “Um, can you take me back home?”

    “Why do you want to go back? It’s perfect here.”

    “Well, I don’t have anything to work for here, it’s just so dull.”

    “So, are you telling me you realize that the world can’t be perfect, or people would feel as you do now? People need a goal and and something to strive towards. Is that why you want to go home?”

    “Yes, and I DO want to go to school, and I WANT to do chores. It’s so boring without them.”

    “I can only bring you back to your world if I change shape, okay?”

    “Alright! Can you be a radio?”

    “Sure, put me on and jump!”

    Helen did so, and she was back at exactly the time she had left, with a radio in her hand. The radio announcer said, “And now, for the moral of the story, we have a song to play for you…”

    “You can’t always get what you want,

    You can’t always get what you want,

    You can’t always get what you want,

    But if you try sometimes,

    You just might find,

    You get what you need…”

    And, as Helen flopped down on her bed, she knew it was true!