Lorelei was shy.
And that’s putting it mildly.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. She was full of personality…in fact, she was overflowing with it. The trouble was…she didn’t let anyone see it. She was just too afraid to let her inner self show because…well…what if someone made fun of her?
So Lorelei was shy.
But Lorelei was also quirky. On a normal day…well, a normal day for you or me…you might just find her wearing a polka dot sock on one foot…and a rainbow sock on the other foot. And as if that weren’t enough…she might also wear shoes that didn’t match, too. The way she saw it…matching socks and shoes showed a lack of imagination.
And Lorelei did not lack imagination.
She could see animals in rocks. And fishes in clouds. She could see butterflies in stars. And birds in swirling Autumn leaves. And she could see herself soaring in circles above this fancy world. With a wave of her magic, star-shaped wand she’d create beautiful flower gardens in the sky. Then maybe she’d add a golden swan…and a smiling crescent moon.
Just thinking about it made Lorelei smile.
One day she was soaring extra high in the clouds with her magic, star-shaped wand. Out of nowhere a parakeet landed on her shoulder. He had a blue and green body and crystal clear wings.
“Hey, I didn’t make you up,” said Lorelei. “Where did you come from?”
“No you didn’t,” the parakeet answered. “I come from a special place you’ve never visited.”
“Well, I can see just about everywhere from up here,” said Lorelei. “I don’t see how I could have missed any place.”
“Silly girl,” squeaked the parakeet. “You can’t see it by looking down. You have to look up…way, way up.”
So Lorelei landed on a feathery, soft cloud and looked up.
“Where?” she asked the parakeet.
“Up…way, way up…and over to the right,” said the parakeet.
Lorelei put her right hand above her eyebrows and squinted her eyes. Sure enough, way way up above and to the right was…hmm…could it be a door?
“Do you see the purple door?” asked the parakeet.
“Well, yes I do. But why is there a purple door in the middle of the sky?”
“Silly girl. It’s not in the middle of the sky. It’s way, way up and over to the right. And I thought you, of all people, wouldn’t question why a purple door is there,” the parakeet smiled. “I think you, of all people, should go open the door and see what’s inside.”
And with that the parakeet flew off Lorelei’s shoulder.
“Wait,” she called after him. “Where does it go?”
“Fandango Street…go tap your feet,” the parakeet squeaked over his right wing, and he disappeared in the clouds.
“Fandango Street? Tap my feet?” Lorelei whispered to herself. “Well now, that sounds like a place where imagination lives. I’m going right now.”
So, she waved her magic, star-shaped wand, and way, way up she went. Then she soared to the right and over to the purple door. As she landed the first thing she noticed was her upside down reflection in the big, shiny, brass doorknob. She smiled to herself. This was already her kind of place.
“Should I knock…or just go in?” she thought. “Hmm…most people would knock…so, I’m just going in.”
With her left hand she turned the big, shiny brass doorknob to the right. The door catch clicked a loud, echoing click, and she quietly opened the door. The first thing she saw was a street that came right up to the door. She took three steps and realized the street was made of glass. She could see her own reflection so clearly it looked like her identical twin.
Then she looked up…and saw floating flower gardens and flying fish. She saw a giant marble lion and millions of singing birds. Every color of the rainbow could be seen in every creature. She wanted to walk down the whole street and see it all.
Lorelei expected the street to be slippery. But to her surprise her feet seemed gently magnetized. She took seven quick steps and heard clickety-clicks from each shoe. And she saw sparks…the same kind she loved on Fourth of July sparklers. Wow…this was truly a magical street. She was just about to move again when a tall, silver street light bent over, shined its light in her eyes, and said…
“Be very careful how you move your feet Lorelei.”
“What? How do you know my name? And why does it matter how I move my feet?”
“We’ve been expecting you. This is Fandango Street. You should tap your feet,” the street light replied. “Of course, you could stomp your feet, wiggle your feet, kick your feet, or jiggle your feet. But…as I said…you should tap your feet.”
“Tap my feet?” Lorelei asked. “You mean like this?” And she tapped the toe of her right foot on the glass street. It made a tiny, tiny tapping sound.
The street light stood up straight and laughed so hard its light bulb almost fell out.
“You call that tapping your feet?”
Lorelei stared down at the street and her shoes. “Well…um…yes. I guess.”
The street light saw her head hanging low and said…
“Oh…you’re one of the shy ones aren’t you? Well, here on Fandango Street, we say “why be shy, when you can fly high?” In fact, we found out a long time ago…shy doesn’t fly. And flying is the only way home.”
“Uh oh,” Lorelei thought to herself. “This is a very pretty place. But I don’t wanna be here forever. I know I’d miss everyone at home.”
So…she tapped the toe of her right foot again, a little harder, and then tapped the toe of her left foot.
“How’s that?” she asked the street light.
“Well…maybe just a tee-ninecy bit better,” was the answer. “But that kind of tapping won’t get you off the ground. You gotta really put your heart in it.”
Lorelei noticed the creatures and flowers and even the marble lion had gathered to watch. Now, she was really stuck. If she tapped her feet the way the street light told her to, they would probably all make fun of her. But if she didn’t really put her heart into, she might never see home again. Oh, this was not good. And as she was looking down at her feet and worrying she heard a whispered chant…
“Tap…tap…tap…tap…” All the creatures on Fandango street were saying it together.
“Tap…tap…tap…tap…” This time they said it a little louder. Then, they repeated it even a little louder. And they kept getting louder.
Lorelei felt like a giant patchwork quilt was being thrown over her head, and she could hardly breathe. There was only one thing to do…tap her feet. And tap them like she had never tapped them before. She tapped her toes…and her heels…and then her toes again. And she stretched out her arms and made circles in the air. And the circles swirled into tiny, round see-through rainbows. And music began to play in her head.
Suddenly she was tapping and dancing and clicking and sparking down Fandango Street with a big, happy smile on her face. And all the animals and fishes and birds and butterflies and trees and clouds…and even the marble lion started cheering and clapping. They clapped and cheered so hard and loud a strong wind began to blow. Lorelei leaped face first into the wind and swooped high into the air.
She had never flown so high before. She looked down and all the creatures of Fandango Street began to look like tiny, little ants. Still she flew higher and higher until she could see something pink and yellow and red. It looked just like her bed…you know what? It was her bed. Lorelei stopped swirling her arms and fell right into bed just in time to hear her Mom’s voice…
“Lorelei…get outta bed you sleepy head. And you’d better really tap your feet or you’ll be late for school.”
Lorelei smiled to herself and turned over on her right side.
“It’s so nice to be home again,” she thought. “But I think I’ll visit Fandango Street every night.”
And somewhere deep inside her pillow she was almost sure she heard…