|"Cinderella" by Elena Kalis|
This is the first part in a series that I am posting hopefully on a weekly basis. Ginger Ellen is a "ginger" as some call redheads. I prefer being called a redhead. The spice ginger is more yellowish than red-orange. Anyway, this story is meant for fun and not as a polished piece. Enjoy!
Ginger Ellen swung her head back and forth so her red-haired ponytails brushed her cheeks as she skipped to school. She felt the wind come through the holey knees on her pants.
“Mom!” she called back. “What’s taking you so long?”
“Excuse me, dear.” Mom rolled her green eyes and picked up Ginger’s toddler brother. “Greg Elliot isn’t cooperating.” Greg grabbed Mom’s glasses and tossed them onto the gravel.
Ginger Ellen stopped and suddenly snarled. “I’m gonna be late for my first day of first grade at my new school.”
“You’re just going to have to wait.” Mom bent over and squinted her eyes. “Blast it! I can’t find my glasses.” She pawed through the gravel with her free hand while Greg Elliot pulled her brown hair. “Ginger Ellen, I need your help.”
“Whatever, Mom.” She jogged over and picked up the glasses right under Mom’s nose. It had several new scratches.
“They were right there? Oh bother.” Mom grabbed the glasses and shoved them askew on her face. Greg reached for glasses again. “Stop!” Mom slapped Greg’s hand and he howled.
“Let’s go now!” Ginger Ellen ran forward, her worn backpack bouncing in rhythm with her ponytails.
Mom jogged forward and Greg screeched happily with each bounce. Mom smiled at him and then at Ginger Ellen.
Ginger Ellen spotted the school with big crayon pillars. “I can get to school from here, Mom.”
“Are you sure?” Mom stopped. “Do you remember where your class is?”
“Of course.” Ginger Ellen mentally reviewed the place from Back to School night. “Yep. I’ve got it.”
“Okay. Love you.” Mom blew kisses.
“Love you too, Mom.” Ginger Ellen rolled her head back. How often did she have to go through this routine? And it was only the first day of school.
She sprinted forward to the other kids at the crosswalk. She grinned from ear-to-ear at the girl next to her, but the girl looked the other way. Ginger Ellen frowned.
Finally, the crossing guard led them across the street. Ginger gazed up at the tall crayon columns until the crowd bumped her forward. She moved with the crush through the front door.
She looked at the three directions to go. Which way again? She closed her eyes. Yes, it was the hall to her right. She checked her hands real quick. I write with my right hand…so that way.
Ginger Ellen followed other kids into her classroom. She looked around for her name on one of the desks. It wasn’t there! Was she in the wrong classroom?
“Mrs. Miller, where’s my seat?” she approached the teacher.
“Over there, Ginger.” Mrs. Miller pointed to the third desk from the door on the front row.
“But my name’s not just Ginger—”
“Please be seated, Ginger.”
She hung her head down. People never got her name right.
“Hello, class. I’m so excited to get to know you this year.” Mrs. Miller stood behind her desk. “Now, let’s do roll call.” She stooped to reach her laptop.
Ginger Ellen looked at the other kids as their names were called. There were so many new faces.
“Ginger, Ginger…I’m calling your name.” Mrs. Miller looked at Ginger Ellen.
Ginger Ellen snapped to attention. “My name is not Ginger. It’s Ginger Ellen.”
“Okay.” Mrs. Miller typed a note on her computer. “I’ll remember that in the future.”
Other kids giggled behind her.
“Gingerella,” a voice whispered behind her. “Looks poor enough to be Gingerella.”
Ginger Ellen whipped around her head, her ponytails stinging her cheeks. “Don’t call me that!”
“Calm down, class.” Mrs. Miller continued calling names, which Ginger Ellen didn’t hear.
Was she poor? Ginger Ellen looked at the scuffs on her dingy shoes, the holes at her knees, and then looked at another girl. The girl had new jeans sporting butterflies and perfectly white shoes with pink shoelaces.
Ginger Ellen laid her head on her desk and hoped this day would go faster.