Once there was a girl named Amy who lived with her Mother in a house behind a river. Her Father gave her a special gift on her seventh birthday, a multicolored dress.
The dress was white like pure snow. It featured spots and stripes and patterns of red, green, blue and pink. The red stripes reminded Amy of a rose, long and slender; the green dots of the emerald ocean near an island paradise; the blue splotches of the morning sky on a cloudless summer day; and the pink patterns of her favorite bird, the Flamingo. She loved that dress and wore it everywhere.
One day Amy walked to school towards some girls wearing black. They looked incredibly sad and angry.
‘Look. Here comes the clown,’ the tall one said. ‘Why don’t you hang out with us? Wear what we wear. Do what we do. Be cool.’
Amy hated black; so colorless, dull, reminded her of the nighttime: cold, lonely: a time where everyone slept but her.
‘I have to get to school. Please let me go,’ she said, a little worried.
‘Clown wants to go to clown school. Clown girl. Clown girl. Go on then run off to school, freak.’
The girls pushed past. Amy continued down the road.
At lunchtime, she followed a Rainbow Lorikeet as it glided on the breeze and thought about her Father. Mom said he didn’t want to go but had no choice. Amy missed him and often wondered why he left and couldn’t come back.
The bell rang. Amy started home. The hard day was just about over. She crossed the small log over the creek. A tall girl wearing black stepped on the log, blocking her path.
‘Where do you think you’re going, clown girl.’
Amy glanced back. Another girl wearing black blocked her retreat.
‘No where to run, freak.’ The girl behind snickered.
Amy closed her eyes and breathed deeply. “Please let me past. I need to be getting home.
The large girl in front smiled, reached into her bag, and pulled out a black dress.
‘I’ll let you pass under one condition. Go behind the bush and take off that stupid clown dress and put this on. Then you can be cool like us.’
Amy glanced down at her bright dress. She remembered the light in her father’s eyes as he gave it to her. She remembered twirling around. Laughed together. She hadn’t laughed like that since that day.
‘I can’t. It’s a gift from my Dad. Please let me go,’ She pleaded.
The large girl cursed and threw the black dress into the brown water. ‘We gave you a choice to be cool, but no, you had to keep wearing that stupid clown dress. This is your last chance. Go get that dress and put it on.’
Amy remembered her father’s smile. His acceptance. Even though absent he would always be with her and a part of her. She looked the enormous girl right in the eye. Courage rose.
‘I will not wear your dress. Let me go.’
The girl charged Amy like a bull and pulled at her colorful dress, tearing the shoulder straps off, and then she shoved Amy hard into the muddy creek
‘I never want to see you again,’ the girl screamed and walked away.
Amy lay at the bottom of the creek, her once beautiful dress now broken and covered in muck.
After a few minutes she picked herself up and ran home.
‘What’s wrong, honey?’ her Mom said as Amy sprinted into the kitchen threw her broken and mud-covered dress on the floor.
‘Mean girls. They wanted me to take off my dress and wear what they wore and I said I wouldn’t and they got me after school and broke the dress and threw me into the creek and …I hate them.’ Amy ran into her bedroom and slammed the door.
Her Mom knocked on her door periodically until bedtime. Amy didn’t answer.
First thing in the morning she knocked again. The door creaked open. She handed Amy the colorful dress, mended and clean. The white was once again pure and the colors vibrant and alive.
‘Your Father would be so proud of how you acted. You refused to give up what you loved despite pressure. Wear that dress again with pride knowing that Daddy is looking down from heaven and smiling. Don’t hate those girls, honey. They don’t know what they are doing.’
Amy smiled and gave her Mom a huge hug. ‘I love you Mommy.’
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