Friday, July 06, 2007

short fiction for children: poor, poor luisa

Poor, Poor Luisa
By Dean Francis Alfar

For Sage

When summer ended, it was time for Luisa to attend her new school. But she was quite afraid.

“I don’t know the other children there,” Luisa told her mother.

“I’m sure you’ll make new friends,” her mother said with a smile.

“I don’t think so,” Luisa said quietly. She imagined that no one would talk to her.

Poor, poor Luisa.


On the morning of the first day of school, after she kissed her mother goodbye but before the school bus came to pick her up, Luisa rushed through her house.

In the closet, she took a mop and cut off the stringy ends used to clean the floor with. This was her new hair.

In the living room, she borrowed her father’s old pair of thick glasses. This became her new eyes.

In the bathroom, she squeezed a tube of blue sparkly toothpaste all over her cheeks and forehead and chin. This was her new face.

In the kitchen, she filled a small bag with vegetables and wore it on her back under her clothes. This was her new body.

So it was as a blue-faced hunchback with stringy hair and thick glasses that Luisa boarded the school bus for her new school.

She imagined that it was better if no one knew who she was.

Poor, poor Luisa.


The classroom was filled with children and Luisa quietly took her seat, keeping her eyes on the floor.

It was only when the teacher called her name that Luisa looked up: this is what she saw.

To Luisa’s left was a green-faced girl with spaghetti hair and doughnuts on her eyes.

To Luisa’s right was a chocolate-coated girl with two halves of a coconut shell on her head.

Behind Luisa sat a girl covered in bright yellow banana peels with pillow cases for feet.

And in front of Luisa was another girl completely covered up by a pink shower curtain.

And no one, no one was talking or looking at anyone else.

Luisa was confused by her strange and quiet classmates.

Poor, poor Luisa.


When the bell rang for recess time, all the children walked into the school’s garden. Curious about how everyone looked and having nowhere else to go, Luisa followed them.

The odd children stood in the sunlight, not looking at other.

Luisa waited for someone to talk, but no one did.

Poor, poor Luisa.


“Hi there,” Luisa said, deciding to be the first to say something to the unusual children.

“Oh!” said the green-faced girl with spaghetti hair and doughnuts on her eyes.

“Ah!” said the chocolate-coated girl with two halves of a coconut shell on her head.

“Er!” said the girl covered in bright yellow banana peels with pillow cases for feet.

“Uf!” mumbled the girl completely covered up by a pink shower curtain.

They were all surprised.

“Why are you all wearing strange things on your faces, heads, bodies and feet?” Luisa asked.

No one answered her question.

Poor, poor Luisa.


“Won’t you tell me, please?” Luisa asked.

“Well, you’re very strange-looking yourself,” said the green-faced girl with spaghetti hair said.

“That’s right,” nodded the chocolate-coated girl.

“You should see yourself,” said the girl covered in bright yellow banana peels.

“Uf!” mumbled the girl completely covered up by a pink shower curtain.

“Oh!” cried Luisa, remembering what she had put on herself. “But this isn’t really what I look like!”

Luisa took off the stringy mop and shook out her long black hair.

She took off her father’s old pair of thick glasses and blinked her large brown eyes.

She wiped off the sparkly blue toothpaste from her face and revealed her dark brown skin.

And finally, she removed the small sack filled with vegetables from her back and straightened up to her full height.

“This is me,” she said. “My name is Luisa.”

The other children looked at her and at each other in silence.

Luisa suddenly felt very shy and afraid. She began to walk away.

Poor, poor Luisa.


“Wait,” said the green-faced girl with spaghetti hair. “This isn’t me either.”

“Wait,” said the chocolate-coated girl. “It’s the same with me.”

“Wait,” said the girl covered in bright yellow banana peels. “I don’t even like bananas.”

“Uf!” mumbled the girl completely covered up by a pink shower curtain.

And to Luisa’s amazement, the other children shook out and took off and wiped away all the different things they had put on their faces, heads, bodies and feet.

In the middle of garden, surrounded by a mess of spaghetti noodles, doughnuts, chocolates, coconut shells, yellow banana peels, pillow cases and a pink shower curtain stood four young girls.

“I’m Nikki,” said the first girl.

“I’m Kate,” said the second girl.

“I’m Zarah,” said the third girl.

“And I’m Janet,” said the fourth girl.

“Hello, Luisa!” the four girls said together.

“Hello, hello, hello, hello,” said Luisa happily.


When Luisa got home, her mother asked her about her first day at school.

“It was a bit scary then a bit silly,” Luisa told her. “But I have new friends.”

“I knew you’d make new ones,” her mother said, embracing her.

Luisa smiled and gave her mother a kiss.


Copyright 2007 by Dean Francis Alfar
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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