What If Cinderella Didn't Make It?
Author's note: I am SUCH Disney kid. I luv the Disney movies and Cinderella is in my top five (Mulan, The Little... Show full author's note »
A Special VisitI heard the distant sound of pattering rain and felt a few drops freefall onto my forehead. Blinking away the fuzziness of sleep, I looked up ruefully at the small opening in my ceiling: another thing I would have to fix – or at least try to fix.
Snores from down the hall erupted. Now I really wasn’t going to get any sleep. I slipped on my run down slippers from beside my bed and climbed out of bed.
I can at least finish the math homework I could never get to, I thought as I grabbed my math stuff and padded down the smooth staircase steps. I flicked the kitchen light on and sat down at the table ready to get absorbed in the crazy and confusing world of numbers and operations.
Tap, tap, tap…tap, TAP, TAP! The rain hit the window as if its mind wasn’t made up on how fast or hard it would like to fall – it kind of reminded me of the day my father went out and never returned. It was times like this where I really missed my dad and wondered how big a difference would be made on my life. I at least knew that I wouldn’t be the servant girl of three witches.
I felt a small prick on my foot and looked down quickly. Lucy was looking up at me with disgust; as if I didn’t belong here. Well, I guess I didn’t, because it was 2 a.m. in the morning and Lucy was known for prowling around more at the dark hours. In a way, I was in her turf now even though she had invaded my house with Lady Mai, Anna, and Ella.
That was another thing: if my dad was still alive, I’m sure that we wouldn’t have Lucy because my dad was not a cat person at all. Lucy had been brought into our ‘family’ after my dad died and we’d hated each other immediately. Either I wasn’t a cat person, either, or Lucy was just a horrible one (my guess was the second): she led my stepsisters to me when I wasn’t fulfilling their demands right away, getting me in more trouble; she left her…business all over the floor as soon as I was done my giant floor clean; she scratched outside my door when it was obvious that I was very tired, just to keep me up, and…well, you get the gist of it. Lucy is evil – the equivalent of Lucifer from that movie Cinderella. Except, you now, Lucy is a girl, and she doesn’t trap my mice friends in cups; she tries to eat them up right away.
Honestly, I’d think that if a cat could inherit the genes from his owners as if she was born from them, Lucy would – she even had that same annoying ring to his meow that the Cremaines had to their voice and the same projected ugliness on her face and in her heart.
“Stop it, Lucy,” I said, pushing her away with my foot and writing down my sentence answer. There. I have one question finished.
Lucy meowed and ran against my ankles, to purposely make me feel uncomfortable. Unlike other cats, her fur was not a soothing soft. It was rough and uneven as if she was shaven badly – and I suppose she was, because Ella is always up for experimenting without question or caution.
Focussing my attention on my math homework and not Lucy, I was able to finish in half and hour more. It was nearly 3 a.m. and I knew I wouldn’t be getting to sleep, so I looked out the window by the kitchen that had a view of the perfect endless dirt road to pass the time. It was something I did quite often: when I looked through my window, I saw anything. One day, I’d see a parade of soldiers, marching to break me out of prison, and another I would imagine a parade of boys jogging to take me out.
Another thing to add to my list of great things that would have been great if Dad hadn’t died: my social life. I used to have friends. I used to have plenty ‘play dates’ with my girls when I was younger and run around with all the other girls and boys at recess. I remember it being fun and I remember even having a best friend and a crush. My former best friend was Stephanie (or Stephy for short) and we used to play with the chickens in the farm house. But after my dad passed, we drifted apart: I isolated myself from people for fear of getting close to someone and having them ripped apart from me again. I only found personal relationships in the safety and loyalty of animals (specifically Bruno, my old beagle dog).
Oh, and my crush? Well, of course I had one before the accident: I was nine, after all. Well, I can’t out it off much longer – it was Jonathan King. Yes, the annoying boy from the hallway was the one I used to fantasize about all day and night. But again, I separated myself from him even though we weren’t very close to begin with, and left all my nine-year-old-feelings of him behind.
I tried, at least. But trying to forget someone that you were obsessed with when you were younger is hard. For me, I actually have to really want to forget him, and I wish that I really could. That being said, and my wishes never really coming true, I couldn’t forget about Jonathan.
It’s not like it mattered anyway. I’m pretty sure Jonathan can’t even remember that we went to elementary together. He never talks to me like we’ve known each other for half our lives – but then again, neither do any of my other former classmates.
I sighed and leaned on the windowsill. Remembrance of all the confusion and drama of having a social life in school was coming back to me. I had to admit that at times I missed it. At times, I wanted to have people to talk to and share the pain that I was going through, but what’re you gonna do? I couldn’t help wondering what Jonathan was up to these days – you know, other than locking me in lockers and lying about it after.
The sky was still black as I looked out into the night (or very early morning) and searched for a good spot to rest my eyes on and think. I thought about how nice it would be to go to one of the parties Jonathan always threw that were talked about at school all the time and at home by Ella and Anna, who always got invited and for some reason thought that he was in love with them.
It must be fun getting recognized by him, at least, I thought. Even when we were talking in the hallway, Jonathan looked at me as if I was just some new student instead of the girl that was in every class with him since grade one and used to gaze at him from her window seat during lunch.
My mind drifted to how his upcoming Halloween party would turn out. All the kids were talking about it already and it was still two weeks away. But in high school, exciting news and gossip spread like wildfire and Jonathan King was always the dry spot that started the tiny spark and turned it into something huge.
Apparently, there would be a costume contest and more – a few tricked out scary rooms that would get kids to wet their pants, bobbing for apples, candy corn, and of course, scary story telling. It sounded like fun, I had to admit, but I didn’t have to admit that I wanted to go because I didn’t. I didn’t even know him anymore and I never really did. I wasn’t his friend so I wouldn’t show up at his house party as if I was one…even if it did sound like a night of amusing scary joy.
I was a loner and that was how it always would be.
I wasn’t invited to the party and that was how it would always be.
I was Cindy: unpopular; and that was how it would always be.
Despite my dreary mood at 3 a.m. this morning, I managed to get through school without feel miserable or terrible about myself. I skipped into the barn, greeted by the animals except the other three horses that weren’t allowed to acknowledge me because they belonged to the Terrible Trio.
I bent down to pat Bruno and let two mice scamper onto my other hand, up my arm, and onto my shoulder; their favourite resting place. “Good to see you too!”
I let the three big goats out and free, and watched with a smile on my face as the smallest one followed them out into the outdoor pen where they liked to be the best.
The chickens clucked excitedly when I walked by their pen because I actually let them out to run wild for a bit. There was no reason to confine them just because I couldn’t really be free either.
“Five minutes, all right?” I said, unlocking their small pen. Eleven of them ran out happily and did their crazy chicken dance, while one of them, Klucky, stayed by my side. Ironically, he was the quietest of the bunch, which was actually quite nice since he was always around me. I would probably have headaches everyday if he was as noisy as the others.
Chore whined from his place to get my attention. Here we go.
“Hello, Chore,” I said, patting his big neck. “I suppose you want your second lunch now.”
Chore shook his head and sent a little bit of spit on my face. His typical answer: he was dying for his second lunch. With the two mice still on my shoulders, Klucky at my heels, and Bruno bounding around me, I filled a bucket of water for Chore and brought a bag of his favourite food to pour into his manger.
When Chore saw me coming closer with his food, he grew excited and stomped by the swinging door that held him back from attacking our whole year’s worth of food.
“No, no, no!” I said, waving the bag of food around. “Wait patiently for this or it’ll have to wait.”
The last time I made the mistake of giving Chore food when he was very excited, he mistook my blonde hair for hay and started chewing until I shrieked and hollered. With the help of Bruno, I got him to let go of me and realize I wasn’t his snack. Now I wear my hair in a bun every time I’m in the barn just in case.
Chore slumped and bleated, then stepped away from the door so I could get inside. I poured the horse feed into Chore’s beaten up manger slowly, and before I could even finish, his mouth was down in deep, tickling my fingers and having a race against himself to finish his food in record time.
I back away for safety and let Chore bask in his nutritious glory. “You’re welcome, Chore!” Of course, no answer came, but that was okay. I didn’t need a sputtering answer of food just for recognition.
I quickly gave out the food to Prince, Princess, and Queen, the horses that belonged to Anna, Ella, and Lady Mai, and got back to the animals that enjoyed my presence.
I lay down in a pile of hay that was used just for me when I’d have a late night in the barn and would just fall asleep there. Bruno, some chickens (including Klucky), one little goat, and a few mice joined me. It was times like this, my animals and me so comfy and happy, that made a genuine smile appear on my face when I was at home.
“How about our song?” I asked them with the smile.
Bruno barked, the chickens clucked (including Klucky, this time), and the mice squeaked: it was unanimous then!
I started my own version of Old McDonald that I had taught to my buddies the first time I thought of it.
“Cindy Rella had a farm: E-I-E-O,
and on that farm she had a dog: E-I-E-O!
With a –”
Bruno barked in time throughout his whole part perfectly. It even sounded like he was in the right key, too. My dog had talent!
“Cindy Rella had a farm: E-I-E-O,
and on that farm she had some mice: E-I-E-O!
With a –”
The mice came in perfectly too, squeaking and scampering and jumping around happily for getting their well-earned exclusive parts.
It was time for my baby goat now:
“Cindy Rella had a farm: E-I-E-O,
and on that farm she had some mice: E-I-E-O!
With a –”
My goat croaked her solo in triumph and excitement. I scratched her under her chin and felt the soft fur and smiled. That feeling would never get old.
I turned to my chicken friends. “Okay, it’s your turn, now. Make me proud!
“Cindy Rella had a farm: E-I-E-O,
and on that farm she had some chickens: E-I-E-O,
with a –”
That did not come from my chickens and they were not happy that their part had been taken away. They squawked in protest and flapped their wings crazily.
“Hush, now!” I said, catching another one, Elli, before she bumped right into Klucky who was jumping off my lap. “Hush!” I looked up to see the cause of the pandemonium and gasped lightly to myself: Jonathan King.
Elli squirmed in my hands, clucking and scaring Klucky. He cowered up behind me and pecked at my back.
“Ow! Klucky!” I dropped Elli back on the hay and picked him up. I made eye contact with Klucky. “No. Calm down!”
Jonathan laughed from the entrance of the farm. “Are you doing okay, there?”
“I was before you came along,” I said, getting up and dusting myself off. I added, “And before you interrupted our song.”
Jonathan took a closer a look at me. “They’re chickens.”
“I’m well aware of that!” I snapped, letting Klucky go off with his friends. I reached into my barn apron pocket and sprinkled some food for them, leading a trail to their pen. In twenty seconds, they were all in and I locked the door. I sighed and leaned against the door and turned to Jonathan. “Now what do you want?"
Jonathan looked down at his feet when he started to speak which was good in a way, and irritating in another. Since he was looking down, I couldn’t see his cute face, so that was good. But when he was looking down, I couldn’t see his cute face, and that was terrible!
“You have a nice voice – singing voice, I mean. Not when you're muttering or shouting that you hate your Ella and Anna…”
Of course he’d bring up the locker incident – another moment to bask in glory of his hilarious prank.
“I doubt you’d think getting shoved into a locker was so funny if you were the one stuck,” I said to him.
His eyes flashed over from the horse stalls to me and I remembered why I had liked him so much before…
“Doesn’t seem like fun,” Jonathan said with a shrug, “that’s why I didn’t do it.”
This again! He did, he didn’t do it! He did it, he didn’t do it! How was I supposed to know if he was lying or not? …Why did I even care?
“It was your lock on my locker,” I pointed out to him. I glanced into Chore’s stall to see his manger empty and his hooves stomping again. “Ugh…”
I took my hair out and retied it in a tighter bun as I walked across the barn to get more food for my greedy horse.
“Doesn’t mean it was me,” Jonathan said. He smiled at me in a sort of hopeful way. “Come on. You know me. Would I really do that?”
I stopped in my tracks in surprise. ‘You know me.’ Did he really say that? How could I know him if I hadn’t had a real conversation with him for three years?
At my sudden detour, Chore whinnied to get my attention and I made my way to him again. “Last batch, Chore!” I warned before turning back to Jonathan.
“Well, I know you, at least,” Jonathan said when I didn’t give an answer to his last statement. “And you were never this serious before.”
I laughed hysterically in my head. Was this some sort of joke? He was acting as if he paid attention to me when we were younger! All I could do was chuckled outside of my head and shake my head. “You don’t know me, Jonathan.”
Jonathan looked stumped for a few seconds. Then he looked up at me again. “Can I get to know you?”
What was that one supposed to mean? He was confusing me with his questions and looks and insinuated statements. Finally, I decided on something that I could say back that would not answer the question, but cause him to think about it.
“I don’t know,” I said, glancing up at him. “Can you?”
Jonathan gave up. I could tell because he got a different look on his face and started up differently. He stopped leaning on the doorframe to the entrance and walked inside, looking around. He scuffed his black sneakers on the floor, leaving no mark but irritancy on me. After a few more seconds, he turned back to me with curious brown eyes. “So do you live in here?"
Okay, not the answer I was expecting…
“No,” I said, summoning Bruno to me, “I live in a house.”
“Really?” he said, looking even more curious. It felt as if the whole first part of the conversation had disappeared into thin air and he had only just arrived.
“Ella and Anna said you don’t live with them – you just take care of them.”
So Ella and Anna had been speaking lies about me? Well, that part didn’t surprise me as much. But they were speaking these lies to Jonathan King?
I decided that it wouldn’t matter. If I wanted to forget about him, I had to not care what he thought. I was vague. “Well, I don’t. Is that what you wanted?”
He shook his head and his messy brown hair followed. “Nah. Just came to give you this. You and Ella and Anna, I mean.”
Hmm. What could he possibly want to give me that also had to do with Anna and Ella?
He fished something out of his jeans pockets and gave me a black piece of paper. “Here.”
Deciding that it was nothing that would necessarily concern me, I tucked into my jeans pockets and shrugged. “I’ll give it to them when they get back.”
Jonathan looked momentarily surprised. “It’s for you too, I said.”
I knelt down to pick up a mouse – Jack – that was trying to scamper up my jeans. “Yea, but they’d probably not approve of it being opened before they are here.”
“How much do you get paid?” Jonathan asked me.
“Yeah,” he said, bending down to pat Bruno who was walking in circles around our legs. “You follow all of their orders. You must get paid well.”
I guess it could have been an honest mistake… Or it could be a really good insult. Me getting paid! Phew! That was a good one! I was literally broke with no more than a few quarters being carried around in my white sac – I mean, wallet.
Then again, he was the one that had caused me a tiny back pain for the rest of that day when he locked me in my locker and tried to act as if he had just stumbled on my problem.
“You can leave now.”
Jonathan frowned slightly. “What? What did I say?”
“Jonathan!” a shrill voice sounded. I saw Jonathan flinch. “How long does it take to deliver a simple –?” A tall lady with the same features as Jonathan, but more feminized stopped and stared at me. “Oh. Hello.”
She looked me up and down as I stroked Jack’s fur slowly. “You must be the –”
“This is Cindy Rella,” Jonathan interrupted his mom, I guessed, with a stern look.
“Oh. Right. Sidney.” She looked around and wrinkled her nose. I guessed that it was because of the big present Chore had just left for me. “So. Is your mother in?”
Now I flinched. I hated when people dared to call Lady Mai my mother. It was disgusting punishment to be related to her. I stepped forward shaking my head. “No, Lady Mai, and her daughters are out right now.”
Mrs. King took one last look around before making eye contact with me. “Okay, then. Come Jonathan. We have plenty stops to make.”
Jonathan gave me a pathetic little wave before he turned and left with his mother.
What was that all about?
Ignoring the letter that was in my pocket and burning a huge hole of curiosity, I unlocked the chickens from their pen and led them back to the hay so we could finish our song.
“Young, young, Cindy, had a farm: E-I-E-O…”