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The Pink Slippers
"In a couple of weeks you're going to be a bridesmaid at cousin Lisa's wedding" said Jessie's mom shaking her head over the disheveled state of her ten year old daughter."We're going to have to clean you up and dress you up and hope you pass for a girl."
Jessie Jones was no girlie girl. The only female on her soccer team she was respected by the boys since she could out run, out shoot and out play the lot of them; and she did give Bobby Grimes a fat lip for that crack he made about lace panties. Jessica Elizabeth Jones could throw a ball, climb a tree and get into trouble as well as any boy. She talked, dressed and acted like a boy. All of her friends were boys and if she had her way she would have been a boy herself. She was what was called in an earlier age a Tom Boy.
Life in general was good for Jessie. She had her friends and she had her soccer. She played hard all day and she should have slept like a brick at night and would have except for a nagging and recurring dream that was robbing her of her rest. The dream was basically the same and occurred several times a week.
She was in her room dressing for a soccer game or practice. She was half in her uniform, long white socks, green shorts and her green jersey with the big white number eleven on the back. She was sitting on her bed looking for her soccer shoes but all she could find was a pair of pink slippers. She couldn't wear those. She'd be laughed off the team if she showed up in them. Growing increasingly desperate she looked under the bed, nothing. She looked in the closet where her sneakers were piled, nothing there either. No shoes, only the pink slippers and it was almost game time. She sure as heck couldn't play in stockinged feet so, reluctantly, she put the slippers on.
The instant her feet are in the slippers the dream turns dark and scary. She's no longer in her room but on a jungle path. Dense underbrush all around and strange noises--growls and snorts sometimes the hissing of large snakes. And she's running. Running away from what she is sure is coming after her--wolves, snakes, tigers. She runs as hard and as fast as she can but as hard as she tries she can barely move forward. It's like trying to run through thick syrup and the menacing sounds are getting closer. And just before the snakes or wolves can get her she awakes sweating and panting, heart racing, in her bed in the dark before dawn. This same frightening dream plays several nights a week in the theater in Jessie's head.
This situation continues for several weeks right up through the preparations for Cousin Lisa's wedding. As a member of the wedding party she has to wear a special dress which has to be shopped for, tried on and purchased. Her hair has to be cut, cleaned and styled and, even though she protests mightily, her nails are painted and make-up applied. Eventually she gives in to all the primping and gets in to playing dress up.
The day of the wedding is a happy blur. Everyone remarks how beautiful she looks which embarrasses her greatly. She dances and laughs and, in spite of her misgivings, has a great time. That night, totally exhausted, she falls asleep only to have the regular bad dream at the regular time. As usual she is dressing for the game but finds only pink slippers. She puts them on and is in the jungle, The wolves prowl and the tigers roar but this time she doesn't run. This time she walks calmly into the dream down the jungle path kicking the soccer ball ahead of her.
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