Everybody would talk about how fancy or rich they were. But I couldn’t say anything because of how poor I was. The house we lived in, was nothing to write home about. I envied those who talked about how luxurious theirs were, and worked towards having mine to enjoy the comfort.
Being Cinderella was one thing I imagined most. I dreamt about being swept off my feet, and taken to where my heart wanted, with my Prince Charming smiling down at me.
It was only a dream… yes, it was
I knew it wasn’t for me, and it wasn’t happening anytime—
I snapped out of my thoughts. Mother was calling me, and I hadn’t yet begun…
I looked down at the broom. I was still in the same position she had left me. Oh, how she was going to scream.
“Mother, I’m sweeping. Oh, I’m sweeping now.” I began.
The goats in the pen were still yet to be fed. And the chickens? “The chickens!” I yelled and dropped the broom. Dashing out of the room, I found the hens clucking with their young ones moving about. I quickly brought out the feed and sprinkled them on the ground. I added extras in their troughs and went back to sweeping. Then, I began fantasizing about him. My imaginary friend—when mother interrupted again.
“You should take your chores seriously, Ella,”
“Yes, mother,” I said.
After-chore was my favourite time. It gave me the time to rest and tend to myself. I was looking in the mirror while brushing my hair. Mother walked in and stared sweetly. She was admiring me, I was sure. I couldn’t help but turn and acknowledge her presence.
“You’re so pretty , my dear,” she said nicely.
I blushed and looked in the mirror again, this time admiring my looks. Mother drew closer and placed her hands on my shoulders. I could feel the warmth.
“What’s with the hairdo?” Mom asked.
“Oh, it’s nothing, really,” I said.
She didn’t want to believe it was nothing. Certainly, something was up. “Oh, do tell,”
I sighed. “Mother, you don’t need to worry…”
“Oh, I have to. My daughter’s looking all pretty early. Certainly, it must be something.”
I laughed. I knew how persuasive Mom was. She wouldn’t stop until she had gotten an answer.
“Well, let’s just say today is a happy day,” I said with all smiles.
I got up from the chair and took my brush—combed my hair on the way.
Franz was already in the living room when I arrived. I placed my hand on his and let him lead me out as Mom watched.
The village square was filled with people: Men, women, children—all going about their businesses. The airy breeze blew, tugging lightly at our hair; the red roses on the sidewalks beckoned to us to pluck them—they all smelled nice, making me do. I plucked out the petals of the one I picked. The flower’s fragrance filled my nose as I walked hand in hand with Franz. “Here, Franz,” I showed him a petal. “Smell this.” I bumped into someone. “Franz?” He was so real! “H-how are you real?” I couldn’t believe someone I cooked up in my mind was. He was standing before me, my imaginary friend—just like how I’d imagined, he had a chiselled nose and an awkward jaw—which I still loved.
“It can’t be,” I couldn’t believe it. “How are you real?” I asked again.
His firm nose twitched. Confused and not knowing what I meant, he looked down at me and behind, as though someone was standing there. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”
I was lost. “Know me?”
“It seems like you’ve seen a ghost,” he said.
I chuckled and moved a strand of my hair backwards. I’d seen a ghost, for sure, only that it was cute.”I’m El,” I stretched out my hand. “Ella.” I didn’t mind if I was the first to introduce myself.
“Hans,” He smiled. “Hans Bouvillon.” he accepted the shake.
My heart fluttered inside as our palms met. It felt like we had known each other before. Of course! He was my imaginary friend… turned real.