by Sherry Morris
When she was still a little girl, adults asked her what she wanted to be.
‘A frog,’ she always replied. If someone asked why, she’d lie, say she liked jumping and swimming, wanted a tongue that could lick eyes and catch flies.
She didn’t say she’d memorised The Frog Prince by heart.
At school, she drew green-eyed princesses kissing blue-eyed frogs.
‘How sweet,’ her teacher said. ‘Already looking for your prince.’
She’d frown, outraged heart thumping in protest, but she kept her mouth shut.
Leaning in, looking closer, it was the teacher’s turn to frown.
‘Sweetie, you’re Toni with an ‘i’, not a ‘y’.
She knew who she was.
Her best friend, Amy, stared at the pictures, then her, disdain and disgust overflowing from those green eyes, leaving her clinging to the tear-soaked pages of her tale.
Sitting alone on the dock on summer evenings, listening to the throaty croaks of frog love, she’d mouth her truth: to be the frog turned prince, forever receiving the sweetness of a girl’s kiss. Living happily ever after. Somewhere it must be true.
All around her fireflies blinked their acceptance, their light assured.↑