I dashed in the front door slamming the screen door behind me. I paused in the hallway looking at my reflection in the gold edged mirror. Who was that stranger with short curly hair? It wasn’t fair that Mom had said my hair had to be cut. I had begged her not to but she insisted. I glimpsed Mom coming up the walk so ran down the hallway and clattered up the uncarpeted stairs. I closed my bedroom door behind me and leaned against it taking deep breaths trying to control the tears that threatened to escape.
I sat at my desk and looked at the open copy of “Anne of Greene Gables’ but the words were blurred. My fingers touched the edge as I laid my head on the smooth surface of the white Queen Anne desk.
I gazed around feeling bewildered. Where am I? How did I get here? The air was filled with the sound of a babbling brook. My curiosity overcame me as I walked along smooth sandstones partially hidden by clumps of water ferns. Which way to go? One way lead to a small log bridge while in the opposite direction the path disappeared in the dense undergrowth of an old orchard. Is this how Alice felt when she disappeared down the rabbit hole?
Coming towards me was a girl in an old fashioned dress that almost reached the top of her high topped boots. We stared at each other for a few minutes before either of us spoke.
“Who are you? Where did you come from? You aren’t from around here. The boys around here don’t dress like that.” She held her hand out in friendship.
I grinned and accepted the offered hand. Am I imagining it? Is this Anne Shirley? It’s not possible or is it? “I’m not a boy, My name is Jane. Just plain old Jane, which isn’t as pretty as Anne.” I grinned and accepted the offered hand.
“Oh, you think my name is pretty? I never thought so. Why have you been crying?” Anne asked. “Girls don’t dress like that either. Why is your hair so short? Did you try to dye it? That was an awful experience when my hair turned green instead of black but Marilla understood how I felt.”
“No, didn’t dye it. I had head lice from sharing someone else’s hat at school.” I paused as I looked around me trying to take in the scenery. “The shampoo Mom used smelled terrible and the small toothed comb hurt. She didn’t think the eggs were gone so she took me to the hairdresser. It was upsetting to see the curls all over the floor. It’s beautiful here.”
“How awful. I’d just die if my hair had to be cut so short but Marilla always says I shouldn’t be so vain about my looks.” Anne leaned over and ran her fingers in the cool clear water. “This is one of my favorite spots especially in the evening. It’s so peaceful. I have never heard of head lice but it must have been devastating to say the least.”
“Wavy hair used to cascade down the middle of my back,” I answered. “You have a pretty name but mine is plain just like me. My hair was my only pretty thing. There were times I didn’t like the color, but it was wavy all the time and hide my face. My bucked front teeth are horrible and have to wear these awful braces. I hate them.”
“Gilbert, a student in my school, teased me about my hair, and it made me so mad that I broke a slate over his head. I wouldn’t speak to him for the longest time. Now I am starting to wish we could be friends like he wanted,” Anne answered.
“I am constantly getting into scrapes and have a bad temper which seems uncontrollable at times,” I said. “Kids constantly tease but Granny says to ignore them.”
Anne laughed saying, “Know what you mean. Some of my ideas lead to trouble as well. We are defiantly kindred spirits that are from a different time and place.”
“I get to emotional sometimes and Mom doesn’t understand. There are times I feel no one understands,” I answered.
“Yes, it can be devastating, especially when you are in the depth of despair. Those are things Marilla doesn’t understand either. She just doesn’t have any imagination. There always has to be scoop for the imagination, don’t you think?” Anne answered. “You have a Mother and Grandmother or are you adopted like me?”
“No, I’m not adopted but my Dad left when I was little. He went to the store and never came back. That was when I was eight months old. We moved into Granny’s house shortly afterwards. I don’t remember my Dad. Mom works all the time but Granny is always there.” I dipped my fingers in the cold water and splashed some on my tear-stained face.
“I lived in foster homes for as long as I can remember and then finally a foundling home, which is where I was when they told me someone wanted a young girl. I was overcome with joy but imagine my disappointment, when I was told they wanted a boy not a girl. Mathew always wanted me from the first day, but it took Marilla a little longer to decide that I was just what they needed. You are lucky to have your own Mother and Grandmother,” Anne said.
“It would be awfully dull without any imagination,” I answered. “Yes, I am glad I have Mom and Granny. Granny understands how I feel most of the time. She makes the best cookies. A few kids like coming over at least for the cookies and milk. Granny milks a goat and the milk is delicious.”
“Would you like to come up to the house for some Raspberry cordial? Marilla also makes currant wine. I have learned the difference now. You would like Diana,” Anne said.
“I’d love to,” I answered, standing up.
At that moment a gentle touch on the shoulder roused me. Mom’s gentle voice blended into my dream. “Wake up. Come help make pizza.”
I sat up and grinned displaying a mouthfull of braces.”Okay. Be right down. Mom, we’re kindred spirits. Did you know that?” I asked. ” I had a most unusual dream. I dreamt I was talking to Anne Shirley.”
” That was my favorite book at your age. Don’t be long. Everything is out on the counter. You can pick your own toppings,” Mom said, as she kissed me on the forehead before leaving the room.
Written by M. E. Hembroff