by June Webber
Tina adjusted her tiara and scowled into the full-length mirror. A petite figure in a pastel pink tutu with diaphanous wings, pink tights, and sparkly ballet shoes, looked back. Tina wrinkled up her nose. A young man in a Lincoln green belted tunic, with matching tights and jaunty hat peered over her shoulder.
‘Wave your magic wand and make my lottery numbers come up,’ joked Peter Pan.
‘Stop pestering me,’ she retorted.
‘Magic me a tall, dark, handsome man,’ added Wendy.
‘Find your own,’ snapped Tina tetchily.
Tina would love to be principal boy in the pantomime, but at 4 foot 11 she was the shortest in the company. Last year she had been a dwarf in Snow White, and the year before a mouse in Cinderella. ‘I suppose Tinker Bell is a step up,’ she thought, but she still hated the costume.
‘All the best presents come in small packets,’ her grandmother, shrunken with age, had told her. This was little consolation when she could not see over heads in a crowd and could not reach the top shelf in the supermarket. She waved her magic wand, wishing she could grow another 6 inches or so, but knew she was stuck at being ‘cute, sweet and dainty.’
‘We’ve got to put on an especially good performance this afternoon,’ reminded Wendy. ‘The kids from the hospice are coming.’
‘Yes, poor kids, they don’t have much joy in their lives. I only wish we could make them better,’ added Tina feeling guilty about being absorbed in her own problems when she was fit and healthy. Their lives were a painful struggle with rounds of hospital visits and operations, and never being able to run around, play football or dance, as other children did.
The carers were wheeling the children to the front of the theatre and helping those on crutches to their seats. The children were all flushed with excitement and chattering away before the orchestra started playing.
Tina attached her flying harness over her costume. She had been very nervous the first time she had flown and was quite dizzy, but now she enjoyed floating in the air above the stage, and out over the audience, arms outstretched. When she made her entrance, there were gasps of delight from the children. Pale faces, often racked with pain, broke into smiles, and eyes opened wide as Tinker Bell flew above their heads scattering magic dust from her hollow wand. The silver dust sparkled in the spotlights, and the children reached up to catch some. When she was safely on the ground, the children clapped loudly and cheered.
At the finale, Tinker Bell received the biggest applause of all, as she curtsied, smiled, and blew kisses. Peter Pan squeezed her hand affectionately, and whispered, ‘Well done.’
She had brought some magic into the lives of children whose lives were a daily struggle and who, like Peter Pan, would never grow up. At that moment she felt ten feet tall.
About the author
June Webber is retired, lives in Dorset, and writes short stories and poetry.