If wishes came true….

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Snuggled cosily in bed, Lisbeth waited eagerly for her Nanna to read her a bedtime story. This was a special time of the night for the two of them. It was a ritual neither one wanted ever to stop. Nanna had come to stay for the holidays. In five more sleeps it would be Christmas. Lisbeth could hardly wait, she was so excited.

Tonight Nanna had other ideas for  story time. It wasn’t  to come out of a story book like usual. This one, she said, was going to come out of their very own heads! Five year old Lisbeth listened in amazement. She had never done anything like this before. Nanna wanted her to tell a story! But not just any story. Tonight they were going to make up a story together, taking turns, she said. Lisbeth listened carefully, her baby blue eyes intently focused on Nanna’s wrinkly face. Her curly blond locks bounced in anticipation as she eagerly nodded her head. Keen to follow Nanna’s instructions, Lisbeth wanted to make sure she understood  the rules perfectly for this new bedtime story telling.

She was a stickler for following instructions – to the letter. So much so that her mother and father sometimes laughed in exasperation as she asked question after question about even the very simplest of tasks. But Lisbeth never let that stop her. Stamping her pretty little foot shod in shiny black patent leather shoes and lace trimmed socks, she simply asked how they expected her to do what they wanted if she didn’t understand the rules? Honestly, grown ups were so silly sometimes.  Mum would laugh, wink at Lisbeth,  and tell Dad to explain the rules again while she herself listened, her eyes and mouth smiling. Lisbeth giggled and thought really hard what else she could ask. It was a game they both enjoyed at Dad’s expense.

But Nanna was different. Nanna had all the patience in the world. She  always listened seriously to what Lisbeth asked. Then answered every single question and didn’t stop until Lisbeth thoroughly understood and had run all out of questions. And so it was tonight too. Complicated rules did not come into tonight’s story telling. All Lisbeth had to do was take turns with Nanna in making up a story. The rules were that there were no rules.  At first that made Lisbeth feel a little bit uncomfortable. She had a ton of questions! What if she said something wrong? What if her part of the story was not any good? What if Nanna didn’t like it? Nanna assured her none of that mattered one little bit. And she would very most definitely not just like, but love, anything and everything Lisbeth added to the story. It would be perfect, she said. Nanna said she would start the ball rolling.

Lisbeth wriggled herself into a comfortable position in bed. She was wearing her favourite pink fairy pj’s. Fairies, Lisbeth knew, were really good at making wishes come true. She quietly whispered a quick wish to the fairies asking them to help her tell the bestest ever story. Nanna waited till she was ready. Having finished wishing Lisbeth nodded her head, her curly locks once again bouncing along in enthusiasm.

Nanna: Once upon a time there lived a little girl…

Lisbeth: Her name was Lilly and she lived in a cottage in the meadows….

Nanna: It was a very pretty cottage with lots and lots of beautiful flowers growing all around it….

Lisbeth: Lilly loved bluebells the best of all. And then snowdrops. And pretty yellow daisies. And – well, she loved all flowers…

Nanna: Summer was her favourite time. She liked to skip and jump in the meadow chasing butterflies…

Lisbeth: She would laugh and laugh and laugh till she fell over, her stomach hurting from so much laughing…

Nanna: While she was lying in the tall grass looking up at the sky, Lilly would paint pictures in her head with the clouds…

Lisbeth: She ‘specially liked the big, fat fluffy clouds. Sometimes she found one that looked just like Miaow her big, fluffy white cat…

Nanna: Miaow liked chasing butterflies too. But more than that, she liked to soak in the sun next to Lilly…

Lisbeth: Where she would fall asleep purring so loud it kept Lilly awake even if she was sleepy herself…

Nanna: but the nice warm sun soon won and Lilly fell asleep too…

Lisbeth: Lilly always dreamed magical dreams in the meadow …

Nanna: That is until Miaow woke up and started to lick her hand with her rough tongue…

Lisbeth: and she could hear Mum calling for them to come home. It was dinner time…

Nanna: What a good day it had been. The end.

Lisbeth loved this kind of story telling. It was such fun!  She asked Nanna if they could do it again – and again – and again. Nanna smiled and nodded as she tucked her into bed, kissed her goodnight and turned out the lights.  That night Lisbeth dreamed of meadows, flowers and white fluffy cats. She so wished she had a real live one of her own. It would sleep at the foot of her bed every night. They would be best friends and do everything together. A Miaow of her very own, that would be a dream come true!

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It was Christmas morning. Lisbeth woke very early. She could hardly wait to open her presents. Mustering all her strength she made herself stay in bed till she could hear the sound of life in the house. Flying out of bed, she raced into the lounge. Mum, Dad and Nanna were all there with big smiles on their faces. There was only one box under the tree. Lisbeth stopped dead in her tracks. She  didn’t know what to say or do. Surely everyone would have at least one present ?

It’s OK sweetheart, Nanna said. This one is a special present just for you. The others are hiding behind the tree. We wanted you to open this one first.

Smiling with relief, Lisbeth kneeled on the floor next to the large box. Wrapped in red paper with a huge white   ribbon, it looked too heavy for her to lift.

Go on, just open it where it is, Mum said. Nanna and Dad both nodded, smiling hugely.

Lisbeth pulled on the ribbon trying to be neat and tidy. As she did, she could hear a scrabbling coming from inside the box. Quickly she pulled her hand back. The grown ups laughed and told her not to worry. To just go ahead and open it. So she tore the paper off, not willing to wait a second longer, her heart thumping in her chest. There was something alive in that box, she just knew it. Holding her breath she pulled the flaps of the box open. Looking at her from inside the box was the fluffiest, whitest cutest little kitten she had ever seen.

Wishes do come true, Lisbeth whispered, as she picked up her very own Miaow out of the box.

Written for Class 3 assignment ‘How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women’ offered as an online course by Iowa University. The brief is to write a short story focusing on four female character’s developing a story with cast and plot.

©  Raili Tanska

Images Pixabay

 

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