Clever Dog, Toto

6 June 2019

I clutched the bedpost as my house hurled through the sky. Opening my eyes for only a fraction of a second to see my dog, Toto, paws on the window sill, enjoying the view. “Crazy dog,” I thought, squeezing my eyes back shut.
Peering through the crooked doorway after the crash, it was clear: we weren’t in Indiana anymore. An hour later, I was walking down a yellow brick road, sent on an obscure mission by a blonde witch who’d arrived and departed by bubble. My sneakers had been swapped for ruby studded heels at some point. The blonde stressed that I never take them off, for if I lost them, I’d have nothing. I was terrified. Toto was several feet ahead, fearlessly leading the way. “Heedless dog,” I thought.
We met a scarecrow along the road. He was always afraid to speak his mind for fear of saying anything unintelligent. I could relate; at home I often kept silent, afraid others would judge me harshly.
We discovered a tin man sitting beside the road. He was a cold soul, spoke little, trusted none. I lived similarly, rarely opening up to others because I had been hurt before. So, why bother? So far it’d been a lonesome life, but it’d worked.

We came upon a lion so afraid it took an hour to coax him down from a tree. The beast feared everything, therefore, did nothing. Clever creature, I mused. He shared my fear of anything uncertain. Any scrap of doubt, and I’d throw in the towel.
The green witch’s monkeys often appeared, feigning glamorous lifestyles to convince me that happiness didn’t come from following the yellow brick road, but instead from expensive makeup, skinny legs, and poppy highs.
The road was often uneven, and sometimes the shoes made it difficult to walk.
The green witch had no mercy, shouting insults every morning, pointing out my imperfections as I looked in the mirror. She was ruthless. She’d do anything to get the shoes… to end my journey.
We met a great wizard. He was also far from home. I spent hours talking with him. He promised me that soon we’d find an easy way home. I later discovered that he was nothing but an ordinary man behind a curtain; he disappeared, along with his promises.
The blonde arrived in her bubble as I was lying curled up on the ground. “You haven’t finished your journey,” she said, “Why?” “I don’t know where to go. The green witch is right: I’m not special,” I responded. “Yet, here you are,” the blonde said, “I don’t see anyone else wearing those heels” and disappeared into soapy air.
She was right. Here I was, no one to take my place. No one else to wear these heels. I didn’t want to be like the witch’s monkeys: shallow and unfulfilled. Nor like the wizard: unfaithful and false. All these people offered me easy ways to exist, yet none of them seemed genuinely happy. The green witch howled in fury, a small voice in the back of my mind, fading fast. I stood up, clicked my heels, and journeyed forth, Toto beside me. Toto had it right the entire time. A passionate and fearless life was the only way to live. “Clever dog.” I said.

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