A story about another special girl written especially for Xenya by her Pop-pop
Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a pretty young girl named Maria. Maria was 11 years old and lived in a small village with her mother and father. Maria was a good student but she didn’t like school because the other kids always made fun of her. They teased her because she was different from all of the other kids. She had one really big, big toe.
Maria couldn’t wear a shoe on her foot with the big toe so her mother made her a special stocking which made her look like she had a big clown’s foot. She was so embarrassed by her big toe that she hid her foot whenever she could and ran as quickly as possible when she couldn’t.
The only person she could talk to about her toe was her grandfather. Grandpa told her that she was special and her large toe was a gift, a gift that God had given her and only her. He made her feel good about herself and when she was with her grandpa she forgot the ugly names that the kids called her at school. The only time she was really happy was when she was with her grandpa. She loved him very much.
Maria ran to school every day. She never walked. She learned that if she ran her stocking foot wasn’t that visible and the other kids couldn’t say bad things to her. At school she sat at her desk with her leg tucked under her hiding her foot under her dress. Maria never got out of her desk, even when the other kids went outside to play she sat alone and studied. One day her teacher asked Maria to come to the front of the class to read a poem she had written. What was she to do? She had to get up and walk to the front of the class and stand there while everyone stared at her big clown-foot stocking.
She got out of her chair and walked up the aisle. She heard some giggles before her teacher scolded the class. She got to the front of the class and began reading her poem. When she looked up she saw that everyone was staring at her foot and fighting back their giggles. Maria began to blush and tears soon formed in her eyes. She could no longer see her paper so she recited her poem from memory. She ran back to her desk in tears.
She ran straight to her grandpa’s house as soon as school was over. He lifted her to his lap and dried her tears. “Maria, your classmates are just curious because they have never seen anyone as special as you and they are all jealous because they have ordinary old toes and not a super toe like you have. I know they hurt you but you must forgive them for their ignorance and cruelty. Let’s have a soda and I want to hear your new poem.”
The next afternoon Maria was running past the ball-field when Delores called out to her, “Hey, Maria come play with us. We’re one girl short and we need you for the game.”
Maria had never played soccer before and no one had ever asked her to play. She stopped running not knowing what to say or do. She would love to play with the other girls but would they make fun of her? She decided she would play and hoped that the other girls would forgive her for not knowing how.
She ran out on the field and the game began. She was in good shape and could outrun all of the other girls but she had no experience moving, passing or shooting the ball. Her first attempts to handle the ball were clumsy but not any more so than the other girl’s. She knew that her large stocking was a problem when she made contact with the ball.
Should she take off her stocking and play in her bare foot? No one had ever seen her toe other than her family and her doctor. Okay, she was going to do it. She ran to the sidelines, pulled off her stocking and ran back into the game. Everyone was too busy playing to notice her extra large toe.
She stole the ball from an opposing player and drove it down the field for an easy goal. Her teammates cheered and gave her her first pat-on-the-back ever. The game continued and Maria was the star, dominating the game and scoring four more goals. At the end of the game Delores and the other girls from both teams all cheered, “Maria, Maria, Maria!” They begged her to join the team. No one looked at her big bare toe and no one said anything bad to her. In fact, they only talked about how well she played soccer. What about her big, big toe?
The next morning Delores stopped by to walk to school with Maria and soon they were joined by three other girls and a boy from her class. When she got to her desk she sat with both of her feet firmly on the floor. She didn’t need to hide her big clown-foot stocking anymore. Maybe it wasn’t a clown-foot after all?
She now knew what her grandpa was talking about. She was special. And, she had a gift, a very rare gift.
©2009 by Bob Rockwell