The Slow-Cooked Sentence

A tale, twisted

Rachael Conlin Levy
Photo of book cover courtesy of
HoldThatTiger, Creative Commons

Once upon a time there was a smart, strong girl named Cindy, who was the new kid at school. Being new, she was lonely, and spent most of her time reading or hanging out on the edge of a circle of girls, listening and trying to fit in.

One day two girls made space for Cindy in their circle. She spent less time reading and more time giggling with her new friends. But as time passed, Cindy became bored with talking and walking around the playground.

She looked at the soccer game the boys played at recess, and wished she could join. Then one day the ball landed at her feet. An invitation! She kicked it back and asked to play. The boys nodded and tossed her the ball.

Recesses became glorious fun! Everyday, Cindy wore her sneakers so she could dance up and down the school yard, racing after the ball and cheering when her team scored a goal. But her two friends scowled and teetered up to her in their high-heeled shoes. “You have no fashion-sense,” one told her.

So Cindy set aside the ball and went to a party where everyone painted their nails and curled their hair. When fumes from the polish and hairspray clouded the air, she went outside, climbed a tree and smudged her nails. At school, her friends stopped sitting next to her at lunch. They whispered loudly that she was a geek because she got straight A’s.

Their words hurt, and Cindy was lonely once again. The school counselor and teacher tried to quell the squabbling, but the mean words continued. Cindy grew tired of being alone. She grew tired of the fighting. She joined a game of tag and made new friends.

“You’re a stupid brat,” her old friends told her. Cindy turned and walked away, and the game moved with her.

This riff on “Cinderella” is in response to the [Fiction] Friday challenge to pick a favorite fairy tale or legend and briefly describe how you could update it to the modern day, and it’s dedicated to my 9-year-old daughter, Chaja Maureen, who is learning to be a brave, independent young woman.

2 responses to “A tale, twisted”

  1. mamapease says:

    This story touched me.

  2. San says:

    its a lovely story. and so important to learn to be true to who you are. i hope she never gives in to peer pressure.

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