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 Cinderella, Ella Hyland, The Girl with a Shoe


Jul 21 2017, 10:48 PM Quote

Ella Hyland

Jenna Coleman

PM for contact info/Central Time
A dream is a wish your heart makes…

There are a lot of things I would wish for if I could. I used to try and stop myself from dreaming about a life I wasn’t given; I thought it could only make my situation feel worse if I imagined other ways things could go. But, little by little, I’ve started to view dreaming and wishing in a different light. It’s just about the only thing I can claim to be mine and no one else’s, made up of beauty and triviality instead of just something practical. And… that’s nice. I like having one thing that’s mine, even if it’s just a fantasy. That’s why, even if it might not do any good, I keep wishing.

When you're feeling small…

I would wish for my mother. Before anything else, I would wish for her. I know you can’t wish to stop or reverse death but… if I could, she would be here. I never really got to know her, she died when I was so young. She’s more of a concept in my head, this embodiment of comfort and love. I know that Father loved her more than anything in all of existence. He used to say that, “It was the greatest honor to be loved by her.” After she passed away, he changed, turned inward, stony, and cold. I did my best to love as greatly and fiercely as Mother had, but, I don’t think I could ever fill those shoes. Having her here to follow by example would make everything far easier. Having her here would be a wish well spent.

Alone, in the night you whisper…

I would wish to have known how to help Father. Like I said, when Mother passed away, it was all a bit much for him. I know he loved me—that was never disputed—but he struggled under the weight of grief, and it ate up a lot of the warmth in him. He was hurt, but also under a great deal of pressure. He had me, a child who was too young to help with anything, and debt that kept building. A lot of money had been spent trying to keep my mother healthy, and it had sliced into our fortune with a deep cut.

Father became a businessman with the world on his shoulders. He went from a local who sold unique, refurbished antiques, to one who travelled, trying to reach even more people and more money. He hated travelling. I could see it every time he came home, exhausted and bitter.

I tried to be everything I could think of that might help. I worked, doing odd jobs for the rest of the village while he was away, trying to earn money. I always kept the house clean and comfortable, so that whenever he’d come back, it would be to a home instead of to some dingy cottage that couldn’t measure up when you had seen the whole world. And I tried to be warm. I tried to be happy enough and loving enough for both of us. Anything I could do to shoulder the burden, I tried to do.

It wasn’t enough.

One day, he came home and told me that there simply wasn’t enough money. He had taken drastic measures, marrying a rich widow in another, more cosmopolitan village. She needed the security and protection of a husband, we needed money. It was done. I wasn’t happy about leaving the village and house that I’d always called home, but I tried to be positive. I thought, “Maybe he loves this woman, maybe this is what he needs to be happy.”

I lived with her and her two daughters who were just a bit older than me while Father went out again. For a few weeks I tried, I really did, to keep being positive, to love them and see the good in them, to see that, obviously they were all making Father happy. But that wasn’t the case. The marriage had been a desperate grab for money, for security, and it had been done in misery. He saw it as an ultimatum—have your daughter be cast out onto the streets, or have your daughter live with horrible people in a home with a roof. He chose the second.

He chose the second, and then barely ever came home. It was like he couldn’t stomach the decision, couldn’t face me living with such cruel people. I wish I could have done something to help before it got to that point. Because after the decision was made, we were both trapped with it.

Thinking no one can hear you at all…

I would wish… for this new family of mine to have love in their hearts and lives. I believe all people, at their cores, are good and redeemable. The same goes for my step-mother and sisters. They can be cruel, harsh, and abusive, but somewhere, there must be good. I try, despite everything, to love them, because I hope that it might change something in them, maybe show them that breaking me down won’t help. You have to love to get love back. I would wish for that for them.

…I would also wish that I wasn’t so incredibly terrified of them.

You wake with the morning sunlight…

I would wish to know, for sure, what happened to Father. I wish I could know what’s happening in the rest of the world. He went out, months ago, saying that this trip would be a long one. Caelum, Dokrayth... he was going to see it all. But even after he got married, he always came back. Always.

Granted, that was all before the Blight.

I don’t know where he was at the time. I don’t know where he is now. I don’t know if he is alive, dead, or in-between. I don’t know. And it kills me. I try so hard every day to imagine positively, to think that one day, he’s going to slide in through the door like always.

But, deep down, I don’t think that’s going to happen. The hope hurts. Anytime someone comes to the door I jump. My heart races and I find myself praying so hard, and then I’m let down. Every time I’m let down, it’s like I crash harder. I just wish I could know for certain. I’d like that closure.

To find fortune that is smiling on you…

A few months ago, everything boiled over. I hit a breaking point. I felt smaller and lonelier than I ever have before and I wanted to change my life with all the desperation of someone who has nothing going for them. I wanted the life I wasn’t given.

I wished for one night. Just one night. I wanted one night where I could feel beautiful and confident, just a few hours to feel in command of things. I wanted to be looked at, not with pity as the probable orphan girl or disgust as the cinder girl, but just as myself. I promise, I didn't ask for the dress, or the ball, or even the prince. I just wanted a feeling. Comfort. Control. Abstract concepts I couldn't put into words but that my fairy godmother understood. I wanted to feel alive, and she made it happen.

I got one wish granted.

Don't let your heart be filled with sorrow…

Maybe I should have picked a different wish, but I didn’t. I picked that one. I picked one for myself. And... even though it all wore off at midnight… it was worth it. I promise, it was. Because it isn’t all gone. It’s like that night showed me something inside of myself, taught me to look people in the eye instead of just down at my feet. I don’t know, it seems silly but… that night gave me exactly what I needed, at exactly the right time. I have that left over, even after the magic wore off, and it makes me feel like it was a wish well spent.

For all you know tomorrow…

…I also have a shoe.

The dream that you wish will come true…
It had been almost eight months since her father had left. It was his longest trip by far, and each day made things seem bleaker and bleaker.

Ella didn’t know exactly how her stepmother was processing her husband’s long disappearance, all she knew was that the workload and berating had dramatically increased over the months. She tried to give her stepmother the benefit of the doubt, assuming it was her coping mechanism to deal with her own worries… but that wasn’t always simple.

It was one of the more difficult days. After several scathing remarks on how useless, ugly, and deplorable she was, Ella’s stepfamily had left her with a long list of chores to complete, including her least favorite—cleaning the fireplace.

Ella’s nickname was no secret. The whole town knew. Cinderella. Her stepsisters had come up with it, of course, with all of their infinite cleverness. Ella was only glad they weren’t currently around to laugh at her as she got climbed into the fireplace and got dirty, earning the nickname once again.

She scooted her way into the fireplace opening, her small, skinny body barely taking up half of the space. The burnt smell filled her nose, and she could already feel the ash starting to stick to her before she even brought her brush to the stones. As much as she wanted to undermine her step family, Ella couldn’t deny the satisfaction that filled her when she did a job well.

She had nearly finished when there was a knock at the door. Within just a moment, hope had taken over, swelling up in her chest. What if it was him? Finally home. Images of hugs and tears and a wonderful reunion played in her head as she leapt from the fireplace. She raced to the door, wishing hard as she threw the door open in a grand gesture.

It wasn’t him.

Her heart plummeted into her stomach. Maybe from the disappointment, or the ash, or all of it together, she suddenly felt sick. The man at the door who was not her father stared at her with a bemused expression, holding a package in his hands. Ella recognized him as the tailor’s apprentice, and began to put things together. He must have been dropping off the dress her stepmother had commissioned. Yet, instead of speaking, he just continued to stare with a gawky smile.


Ella looked down at herself, covered in soot from head to toe. Months ago, the sadness and embarrassment would have eaten her up inside, but not now. She looked the man in the eye, her jaw set, and tried to make herself seem taller and more imposing than she really was. Wordlessly and bitterly, she grabbed the package from him and slammed the door shut once more.

It had been a very long eight months.

When all of the beauty turns to pain When all of the madness falls like rain As long as we crash and we collide We will be gorgeous, you and I.

The Bard
Jul 27 2017, 10:01 AM Quote

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