Exercise: write a story about an act of cruelty from one child to another without giving a lot of biographical background information
A Thorny Rose
Rose’s dress was pretty, but it wasn’t the one that she had really wanted. The one she was wearing was a pretty shade of pink with little yellow and blue flowers embroidered around the waist. The hem had a shiny yellow ribbon around the edge of it. It was a perfectly fine dress for the recital, but Rose still wished she had gotten the lavender one—the one that her mother had said was just too expensive.
“You’re going to be the prettiest little girl in the recital,” Rose’s mother said as she straightened the blue ribbon in Rose’s blonde hair.
Rose shrugged. She would have been prettier in the lavender dress. She and her parents walked through the front doors of Jefferson Elementary School toward Rose’s classroom.
“Well, here we are,” said Rose’s father. “You go join your classmates, and your mom and I are going to go to the auditorium to get good seats.” He kissed Rose on the top of her head. “Break a leg, kiddo.”
“What?” said Rose. Why would he say that to her?
Rose’s mother smiled at her. “Oh, honey, it means good luck. It’s supposed to be bad luck to wish someone good luck in the theater. So, instead, you say, ‘break a leg,’ to wish them good luck.”
“Oh,” said Rose. It didn’t make a lot of sense.
“Bye, Sweetheart,” said Rose’s father as both of her parents waved and headed off toward the auditorium.
Rose went into the classroom. Most of her classmates were already there. Some of them looked so excited that they could burst. A few looked nervous and a little bit sick. Rose’s teacher, Miss Wendell, was in the back of the room, leaning over and trying to console Tommy Benson, who was bawling like a baby.
“Oh, Tommy, don’t you want to show your parents what a good little boy you are and what a beautiful voice you have?” said Miss Wendell.
Tommy tried to answer, but his response was unintelligible through the sobs.
Rose rolled her eyes and plopped down into a chair. “Hi, Rose,” she heard a sing-song voice say from behind her. Rose turned in her chair and saw Chelsea Wagner smiling broadly and wearing the very lavender dress that Rose had wanted so badly! “Isn’t this exciting?” Chelsea said.
“It’s no big deal,” Rose said. She stood up and smoothed out her dress. She shouldn’t have sat down. She’d just get her already so-so dress wrinkled and look even worse.
“Well, I think it’s exciting!” Chelsea said. She bounced up and down a bit when she said it, and her perfect red curls bounced with her. “I’ve never been in a recital before. I’ve been practicing so hard.”
Rose shrugged. Maybe she’d be more excited if she got to wear that dress.
“I like your dress,” Chelsea said to Rose.
Was she just saying that because she knew that Rose wanted the lavender dress? That was mean! It was so obvious that Chelsea had a better dress—she probably just wanted to rub it in. But Chelsea was smiling like she actually meant it. “Thanks,” said Rose. “What’s in there?” she asked as she motioned at the box sitting on the desk next to Chelsea.
Chelsea smiled again and took the cover off the box with a flourish. “They’re for after.”
Rose peered into the box and saw the cutest little cupcakes, perfect and decorated with colorful frosting.
“Oh, Chelsea, those look wonderful!” said Miss Wendell, who had finally gotten Tommy to calm down. “Why don’t you bring those along so we can have them back stage right after the show?”
Chelsea nodded enthusiastically and picked up the box without bothering to put the lid back on.
Miss Wendell clapped her hands, “Alright, children. Let’s line up! It’s time to head backstage.” Rose and the rest of her classmates lined up two-by-two at the door. Chelsea stood next to Rose, grinning during Miss Wendell’s quick head count and as they began to walk toward the auditorium. Rose looked at Chelsea and managed a weak smile. Then she looked at the cupcakes and at Chelsea’s dress. With her next step, she threw out her leg in front of Chelsea’s foot, and down Chelsea went. She squealed as she fell to the floor and landed front-first right on top of the box of cupcakes. The cupcakes and her pretty lavender dress where ruined before the recital had even started!
Rose’s smile grew.
© 2011 Elizabeth Barton