Hi, my name is Chelsea, no, her voice sounded too high. She tried again. Hi, my name is Chelsea, now she sounded like a high-pitched wheel careening around a corner in a speed chase. She adjusted the mirror on the table, turned her head to a 180 degree angle, you know, for effect, and repeated Hello, my name is Chelsea. This time Chelsea was pleased with the sound of her voice, but what about her hair? It was the color of bright sunflowers glistening in the sun.
Chelsea practiced getting up from her chair and sitting down again like a well bred young woman. Actually, she was copying Melissa, her best friend in the whole world. Melissa practiced walking up and down the stairs without bending her knees each time she took a step, she also put a book on her head to keep her balance and back straight. Actually, she was getting very good at it, but Chelsea had a harder time. For one thing, Chelsea was short, so no matter how many times Chelsea practiced walking up and down the stairs she looked awkward. There’s nothing else to say about it, she looked awkward! Chelsea tried walking with a book on her head, but she kept dropping it.
Chelsea applied for membership into the group almost six months ago and gave up on ever hearing from them. Two weeks ago, a member of the group called Chelsea to invite her to a meeting that the group holds once every three months for new members. Chelsea jumped up and down, twirled around and round and round until she got dizzy and had to stop. In three days she will meet the group.
When Chelsea went to bed, she pulled back the covers of her small bed and glided onto her ecru satin sheets. Chelsea closed her eyes and then it began. Chelsea was running down the street chased by a gang of young boys. One had already cut her hair and another was about to start cutting her up into little pieces when she awoke with a scream. Fortunately, everyone in the house was still asleep so no one was awakened but, Chelsea was perspiring and shaking. Her hair looked like wet noodles rather than the sunflower petals she thought her hair looked like earlier in the day, she started to cry. A dozen thoughts ran through her head. What if they don’t like her? What if she was too ugly and won’t fit in? What if she was not smart enough? What if she wasn’t wearing the right clothes or the right colors or the right . . . whatever? Chelsea shook her head back and forth real fast, and then she got dizzy again and had to stop. How will she ever make it to the group meeting when every day she dies a little more? Chelsea pulled up her covers and sunk herself back down into bed.
The next day, Chelsea and Melissa played in the back yard all day. They sang tunes together. Melissa would push Chelsea on the swing and then Chelsea would push Melissa, except Melissa was too heavy and it was better the other way around. They played and played all day long until dinner time. After dinner, Melissa and Chelsea went to their room to play. When Chelsea asked Melissa for her advice on how to act in front of the group so she will be accepted, Melissa replied, don’t worry, Chelsea, they would be stupid not to accept you. I’ll help you get dressed up; I’ll comb your hair and polish your shoes. You’ll look beautiful, you will, you will, you will. I promise. Chelsea smiled and her cheeks got all pink.
That night, Chelsea couldn’t sleep because tomorrow was the big day. She was afraid that if she didn’t go to sleep soon she would end up with bags under her eyes, so she shut them tight. It didn’t work, Chelsea couldn’t fall asleep. Sometime during the night, she succumbed to slumber.
When Chelsea awoke, Melissa had a cup of tea and her breakfast of toast, cereal, and eggs on the table. Chelsea hugged Melissa real tight.
Don’t worry, Chelsea, they’ll accept you. You’re new here, but they’ll love you as much as I do. I’m sure of it.
Oh, I hope so, Melissa. I’ll really try hard to fit in.
Chelsea got up and modeled her dress for Melissa. Melissa applauded. Then Melissa took Chelsea by the hand and said, “It’s time, Chelsea.” They walked to a corner of the room and Melissa opened the door to the huge dollhouse and said my friends, please welcome your new member, Chelsea Storm. All the other dolls applauded and yelled welcome to the Dollhouse, Chelsea. Chelsea cried and laughed at the same time, turned around and round and round, until she got dizzy and had to stop.
By Jo.Ann Rodriquez
All rights reserved. No part of the short stories may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” and email to email@example.com