A Different Life


“Kayla, dinner’s ready!” My mom says.

“Okay, be there in a sec,” I reply. I love dinner. It’s my favorite meal of the day. After a long and hard day of school and then a walk to my favorite neighbor, Margaret’s house, I get to come home to a yummy plate of mac ’n cheese, or mashed potatoes with some fried chicken, maybe even lasagna!

I race downstairs after finishing my last problem of my algebra homework to find on the table vegetables with potatoes that are not mashed! “Uh, what’s this?!”

“Well, your stepdad told me that the foods we were eating were not the healthiest, and he said we should try something new and healthier.”

“WHAT!?” I say with attitude.

“Be respectful to your mother Kayla,” My stepdad Eric says.

“Uh, great.” I murmur angrily. We sit down at the table. I grab some potatoes and try to mash them with my fork so they would at least look a little like the perfect meals I used to have. I take a bite. “YUCK! What is this? Where’s the salt?!” I say while chewing this disgusting piece of unsalted potato.

“Eric said salt is way too bad for you and can cause life problems when you are older,” my mother says.

“Well, I can’t eat this without salt,” I reply angrily.

“Eric says-”

“Enough with Eric already!” I storm up the stairs and stomp into my room. I slam the door behind me. Tears start to fill my eyes. I can no longer hold them in. I turn to my pillow and let the tears stream down my face and absorb into the pillow.

After my face is completely dry, I think to myself, Everything was fine before Eric. I used to come to dinner with a smile on my face and with a mouth full of delicious food. Everything is changing and I hate it. With those last few words, I get into my pajamas and hop into bed. I dream that my dad is still alive, and Eric never met my mother.

BEEP BEEP! I hear my alarm go off. I get up and change into my uniform, which is a beige shirt with a logo that says, “Williams Charter School” or WCS for short. I also slip on my black skirt with buttons on the side. I run down the stairs and get myself some Chex Mix and milk. I sit down at the shiny brown table and eat my breakfast. When I’m done, I skip to the bathroom and brush my hair and my teeth. Then, I grab my pink bookbag with sparkles on it and walk to the curb to wait for the school bus.

When the bus arrives I am about to step on when I hear Eric scream, “Kayla! You forgot your lunch. I made some sandwiches. Here’s your lunch.” He hands me my lunch bag.

Oh no! He gave me my old lunch bag from first grade that has Barbies on it! I’m now in sixth grade and hate Barbies! When I get on the bus I try to hide my lunchbox but it falls on to the floor and everyone sees the Barbies on it. I get so much laughter. IT WAS HORRIBLE. I walk to the seat I share with my best friend Melanie and sit down.

“You like Barbies?!” she asks.

“No. Eric packed my lunch in the wrong lunchbox. I’m telling you, he’s ruining everything!” I say with anger.

“It’s not that bad. I have a stepdad and once you get to know them, they are fine. Believe me, I was exactly like you when I first met my stepdad. It takes time,” she says.

“I sure hope you’re right, but nothing can replace my old dad. He was PERFECT.”

For an hour and a half people keep on asking me if I like Barbies. I always tell them, “NO!”

But they always say, “OKAY!” or “SURE.”

Finally, we arrive at school. I first have drama with the most annoying teacher in the universe, Ms. Den. All we do is warming up exercises. When I walk into the classroom I see all of the kids have already sat down at their tables and they have their idea journals out. I sit down next to my other friend, not best friend, Layla.

“Now class, today we are going to perform a play for each other. You can do it solo or in pairs of no more than three.” Ms. Den says in her annoying accent.

Everyone pairs up and I turn around to ask Layla if she wants to be my partner and I see Layla has already partnered up with her best friends Alexis, Carly and Kyle, so of course, I am all alone. I decide to go solo.

“Choose a topic to act about now and then start writing your script down.” Ms.Den says.

I write about my life. After twenty minutes, Ms. Den says it’s time to perform. I decide to go first to get it over with.  

“Make sure everything is appropriate and respectful,” she says.

I start to perform. “My life was great. I had amazing meal every night for dinner and I was so happy. But then, an evil monster named Eric came into my life and ruined everything!” I notice Ms. Den’s face goes from a smile to a frown as I keep on performing.

In the middle of one of my sentences, Ms. Den says, “Okay Kayla, that’s enough. I would like to have a talk with you outside please.” We walk outside and chat.

“You wanted to see me,” I say.

“Yes, I said to perform something respectful, and that was not respectful at all! Now I need you to apologize to the class for that disrespectful piece, please.”

“What! I’m not doing that. That is my play, and I’m not apologizing for doing it. I said what I had to say and it’s true. Eric is ruining my life!”

“If you don’t apologize I will have to email your parents.” Ms. Den says.

“Parent,” I remind her. “Eric is not my father and never will be!” With that, I storm back into the class and sit down. As I sit down, I see Ms. Den walk angrily to the principal’s office right across the hallway. I think to myself, Maybe I should have just apologized. But whatever. I said what I had to say.

At the end of the class, I go to lunch. After I have my sandwich, I throw away my Barbie lunch bag. After lunch I have two more classes, which are math and English. At the end of the day, I walk out the door, glad I finally get some peace and quiet while walking home.

“Honk Honk!”

I turn to see my mom and Eric in our car. GREAT! I hop in and put my seatbelt on.

“We got an email from Ms. Den saying you had a disrespectful play in drama about Eric. Would you like to explain?” My mom says impatiently.

“I’ll pass,” I say sarcastically.

“Kayla Rose Smith!” my mom says.

“Fine. All I said was that I hate my life now ever since Eric arrived. That’s it,” I say, annoyed that I have to explain everything I do.

“Well, when you get home you are punished, so no television even though it’s a Friday, and no snacks,” My mom says furiously.

After that, there is silence for the whole ride back home. When we arrive at home, I get out of the car and slam the door. I walk up to the house and unlock the door with my emergency pair of house keys. I stomp upstairs to my room and stand there. While I am up there, I write all about Eric in my diary.

I miss my dad more than anything. It was a year ago. I wish he wouldn’t have smoked. I wish he didn’t get lung cancer. I wish he never had died. After writing about Eric and thinking about my dad, I sit down on my bed and cry. I miss my dad so much, and I can’t believe mom could even try to replace him.

“Kayla, dinner’s ready!” My mom says. I wipe the tears in my face away, walk down the stairs, and sit at the dinner table. I grab a plate and put some of the strawberries from the salad onto my plate. There is silence.

Finally, my mom says, “Listen Kayla, I know getting a new dad is tough, but you at least have to give it a try.” I ignore her and continue eating the strawberries that are sitting in front of me. My mom lets out a sigh. After I finish my strawberries, I put my plate in the sink and walk back upstairs without saying anything.

I start to do my English homework, which is to read chapter ten of A Mango Shaped Space. After ten minutes, I finally finish the eight page chapter. After reading, I get out my algebra homework and finish all of my homework for the weekend.

Tomorrow, I’m getting out of the house to have some alone time and think about what has happened. With that, I hop into my pajamas that have hearts on them and I go to sleep.

The next morning, I wake up and I check the clock. It’s 10:30! I’ve never slept in for that long. I get into a pink top and some jeans, and I run down the stairs. I grab some frozen waffles and put them into the toaster. Then, I grab some syrup and eat my warm, crusty waffles. After I eat, I run down the hall to the bathroom and brush my hair and teeth.

As I am walking out the door my mom says, “Honey,” “Where are you going?”

“For a long walk.” With those words I race down the block and stop at a red light. When the light is green, I walk all around the neighborhood.

Then Margaret, my neighbor, walks up to me and says, “Hi Kayla.”

“Hi Margaret.”

“Last night you looked pretty angry when you slammed your car door and stomped up to your house. I wanted to ask you something.”

“Like?” I say curiously.

“Well, I have a ton of spells and you look like you are unhappy with your life, and I happen to have a potion to change someone’s life. Would you like it?” she asks.


“Follow me.” We walk down the block and into her house. In her house, she has tons of potions. She grabs one and gives it to me. She tells me to say what I want my life to be like and then, I have to take a sip of the potion.

“I wish my life was all different right now and none of this happened.” I say. As I sip the potion, I see everything disappear.

Then I wake up on the sidewalk. I walk back to the house and walk through the open door.

“Awww look at you! Eric check her out.”

I wonder what they are talking about.

“Adorable! Let’s keep her.” I am so confused. I walk up to my room and it is so weird. It is like I am crawling on the floor. My face was so low to the ground. I also am not feeling so good. I go to the bathroom in my room, and I am smaller than the toilet! Then I walk to the mirror on my room floor and I take peek. I am a Yorkie with a bow! I freak out and scream. But when I scream, all I really do is bark!

I wanted to change my life, but I didn’t mean like this! All I wanted was Eric to not have met my mom and my dad was still alive and we got him cured! I didn’t want to be a dog!

I have to fix this. I run back down the stairs and to the door. I can’t reach the doorknob so I start scratching the door.

“Aww, you want to go out and play? Alright,” my mom says as she opens the door for me.

I sprint out and race to Margaret’s house. I bark at the door until Margaret opens it.

“Oh, hi. I have something to tell you about the spell, Kayla.” She says in her raspy voice.

“Bark! Bark.” I try to say, “Look what you did to me,” but all that comes out is “Bark.”

“Um, I can’t really understand you. How about we play Charades, and I can figure out what you are saying. Okay?”

“Bark! Bark!” I wag my tail, and that’s how she knows I say “Yes.”

We walk to her living room and start to play. I start to act. I pretend I am walking just like yesterday, and I get stopped because of Margaret.

“Oh. You were walking and looking for a place to do your business.” I put my tail down so she knows that she guessed wrong. “Uh, you were walking down the street when, uh..” I wag my tail showing her she is going in the right direction. “Oh, and then you stopped to talk to me yesterday!”

I jump in the air with happiness filling my heart, and I start to bark.

“What’s next?”

I start to pretend we are talking, so I start to bark and wag my tail.

“Um, Oh! That’s us talking, isn’t it?” I bark and wag my tail again. Next I walk all the way to the door and finally pretend like I’m walking inside.

“I get it! You are talking about yesterday and how I gave you the potion. Yeah, um about that, I remembered about three years ago I had a mean friend, so I mixed the dog potion with the life potion so she would turn into a dog forever. I forgot to make a new life potion! I’m sorry.” She says with a frown.

My tail droops down and I whine. “Oh! But I do know how you can become a human again! By tomorrow morning, you have to convince your parents that you are Kayla, or you will turn into a dog forever.” I bark at her to try to tell her that she can tell them.

“Oh, but the trick is, I can’t tell them, only you can. I can help but I can’t directly tell them. Oh Kayla, I’m so sorry.” Magaret says with tears filling her eyes and a frown on her face. My tail goes between my legs and I walk slowly home.

When I get there, I bark at the door until someone opens it, and I walk slowly up to my room. “Where’s Kayla?” I hear Eric say.

“I don’t know, but she should be back by this time. It’s almost dinner.” I hear mom say. She sounds really worried. I walk back down the stairs and go up to my mom and start to bark.

“Quiet, Lily.” My mother says. They already came up with a name for me?! I give up. I slowly walk to a bowl that is lying on the floor, and I pick it up and show it to Eric. He drops some of the chicken that he is cutting up for dinner, and I eat it. After I’m done I go up to my room and lay on my bed.

I think to myself, what will convince my mom that I am Kayla and not Lily? Tomorrow I better come up with a way, or I will be stuck in this short and furry body forever!  After a moment of silence I hear my mom crying in the other room.

“It’s okay, she can handle herself. I bet tomorrow morning she will be here and waiting for breakfast.” Eric says. That doesn’t help.  She keeps on crying. I go into her room and sit beside her and rest my head on her lap. After thirty minutes or so, she finally stops crying and goes to bed. I start to whine but after ten minutes, I go to my bed and go to sleep on my pillow.

In the morning, I wake up and see that my mom inserted a dog door, so I go out of the dog door and go to Margaret’s house.

“Bark, bark.” I scream at the top of my lungs.

“Coming,” Magaret says. When she opens the door she says, “Oh Kayla, it’s so nice to see you. Is there anything I could do for you?”

I try to do Charades. I pretend I am Margaret and I slip Margaret’s business card into my house to give my mom and Eric a note that I’m Kayla. Margaret does not understand. I try twelve more times and she still doesn’t get it.

On my thirteenth time Margaret says, “I can’t understand what you are doing, but I have an idea. How about today in the afternoon, I go by your house and slip in my business card. It says that I can turn people into dogs or change their lives or something like that. They might get the idea that I changed you into a dog!” I drop onto the floor and then get back up and show her I agree by wagging my tail. I walk back home and go to my room and wait for my parents to get a business card. Hours pass, and I am getting worried, but then I hear something.

“What’s this? A business card? It says, ‘Try my potions like a dog, changing life, or love potions. They really do work!’ Oh, it’s from Margaret, our crazy magical neighbor. Kayla always likes to go over there to check out or even try her potions. I can’t believe she’s still not home. What if a bad guy took her or something?” Mom says in a worried voice.

“Wait a sec. You said Kayla likes to try her potions, right? So maybe she tried her potion and now she is something else.” They sit at the dinner table and think for over thirty minutes until Eric says, “Maybe she drank a potion and now something happened to her.” I walk down to grab the card out of mom’s hand and sit it down next to me. I pray that she will notice that Eric’s completely right and that she should listen to him. “No, that’s probably not it.”

“I don’t know, let’s see. If she doesn’t show up by dinner, we will start thinking that idea, okay?” My mom says.

“Alright.” Eric says.

I slowly walk back up to my room with my tail between my legs. Once I get to my room, I sit on my pillow. I think, what could I possibly do to convince mom that I’m Kayla?

It is noon, and my mom gave up. I can’t give up. I run down the stairs and bark at my mom.

“What is it, Lily?” She asks. I grab her sleeve and go out the door. She comes out the real door. Then I race down to Margaret’s house and bark at the door. After five minutes, Magaret comes. She was making tea, she explains. I bark and bark.

“Hi Margaret.” My mom says.

“Hi, is there a reason you came to visit?” Margaret asks.

“Uh,no.” My mom replies. This conversation is not working out, so I run inside, go to the potions, grab the dog potion and put it in front of my mom. Then I grab the life change potion and put it in front of her also.

“Wait a minute,” my mom says. “Lily, are you Kayla? No, that’s crazy. But Eric said something like this could happen, and now I kind of believe it.” Mom says to Margaret.

“Follow what you believe in.” Magaret says. My mom bends down and says.

“Kayla, is that you?” With those words yellow dust starts sparkling around me and before I know it, I am human again!

“Mom!” I say happily.

“Oh Kayla! I missed you so much. Eric was right! Oh my goodness.” My mom says with tears streaming down her face.

We walk home and when I get home, I go to Eric and give him a big hug and say, “Thank you.” My mom joins the hug and we live happily ever after.


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