Written for Prompted Link Up: The Voice of a Child | Tipsy Lit. For background to the characters see my previous story: A misunderstood gift.
‘But Mama, it doesn’t matter what I look like.’
‘Of course it matters! A lady must always look her best, even when those around her do not appreciate the effort she makes to do so.’
‘Nala says it is more important for me to be kind. Nala says that if I dress up too much then the other children will think I don’t want to play, that I think I am better than them.’
‘Well you are better than them. Most of their rowdy games are silly anyway, you don’t want to get your hair and pretty dress all mussed up do you?’
‘I thought the reason I had to go was to play with them.’
‘Yes it is, but you don’t have to join in with everything they do. You can watch and talk nicely. Tell them about your trip to Disney, they will like that. All children want to go to Disney.’
‘Nala didn’t think I should mention that, not when they won’t ever get to go. Their parents don’t have as much money as we do.’
‘Will you please listen to me rather than your imaginary friend? Who is putting these ideas into your head anyway? Of course they don’t have as much money as we do, that is why Papa’s company is sponsoring their new centre. The money is tax deductible of course.’
Charlotte didn’t like it when Mama got cross but she knew better than to say more now, especially as she had mentioned Nala. Mama didn’t seem to like it when she mentioned Nala. Her elephant had become her confidante; the advice she gave had helped Charlotte to fit in at school for the first time ever, and her grades were no longer a worry.
The only person Nala couldn’t help her with was Mama. Nala said unkind things about Mama and Charlotte felt terribly guilty when she realised that she agreed with a lot of her observations.
Later that day she went to her room and told Nala what had happened. As usual, Nala knew exactly what to do for the best.
‘I cannot thank you enough for your generosity, we never expected you to provide goodie bags for the opening party, and the children just adore everything to do with Frozen.’
Mama smiled beatifically, her eyes seeking out Charlotte amongst the throng of animated youngsters admiring their new toys. She had been as surprised as anyone when the young man from the Disney Store had turned up with his box of gifts and a photographer from the local paper. At Charlotte’s request he had stayed to help organise the themed games and songs she had obviously planned beforehand. No doubt he would expect payment for his time.
Mama did not understand why her daughter had not chosen to wear her Elsa dress, specially made when the stores at Disney sold out. Charlotte looked to be enjoying herself amongst these little urchins in their cheap, mismatched party wear far more than when she was with her nicely dressed friends.
The drive home was awkward with silence.
‘Did Papa tell you that he had contacted the Disney Store?’
‘No Mama, I rang him up and suggested it. You did say that I should talk about my trip, and all your parties are themed.’
‘Have you any idea young lady how much that little stunt will have cost?’
‘But Mama, Papa didn’t seem to mind. He said it was good publicity for him and the Disney Store, that it was charitable giving. And he said what you said, that it was all tax deductible. What does that mean?’