Amy wipes her sweaty hands on her dress just a second before it was her turn to spell "aardvark" in the class spelling bee.
Taking a breath, she closes her eyes and sees the word in her mind.
"A D V A R K", sounding out each letter slowly, she rushes through the
"Wrong. Isabelle, it's your turn."
"A A R D V A R K", Isabelle chants proudly and Amy looks down at her shoes.
"Correct! Very good Isabelle. Sit down now. Amy."
The bell rang. Time for recess.
Amy just sat at her seat, her eyes clamped shut. Tears fell to her cheeks. "I study so hard and I can't spell when I need to! Isabelle wins everything."
Isabelle and the rest of the class were already outside for recess. Amy drags her feet over to the prize counter and once again touches the grand prize, a check for fifty dollars!
Her heart just sank.
"Go on now, Amy. It's recess. Take your hand off that check. It isn't yours."
"Oh, I know. Just looking.", Amy sighs and heads out to the hallway.
The hallway is deserted and Amy takes one more look at the check on the table. She closes her eyes, criss crosses her fingers behind her back and chants, "I wish I could be Isabelle for just one day ."
The very thought lightens her spirits and she joins the others in the playground.
It is a bright sunny day and as usual, the boys are on one side and the girls on the other. Boys, playing soccer and every once in a while the ball goes over to the girls side.
Thinking of her tiny wish, Amy isn't paying much attention to where she is going. Suddenly, the soccer ball hits her on top of the head.
"Hey, watch where you're going, Isabelle.", one of the boys shouted.
Amy looks around. "Isabelle? Why is he looking at me and calling me Isabelle?"
"I'm Amy, silly. Open your eyes. A M Y. See I even spelled it for you!",she shouts at the boy.
"Ah, cut it out, Isabelle. I know your pretty blue eyes anywhere."
"I am Amy."
"Okay, A M Y, spelled backwards is Y M A and I S A B E L L E spelled backwards is E L L E B A S I...so that makes you YMASELLEBASI!!", the boy teases...
"So, if I am Isabelle, I get the money right?"
"Yeah, you get the cash prize. Lucky!"
"I think I like being Isabelle today."
Amy smiles and puts her fingers behind her back...
I wish I was Isabelle for another day...
After recess it is time for Science class. Amy's worst subject.
The teacher passed out the quiz for today. Amy didn't study but Isabelle studied.
Amy answers every question quickly knowing all the answers.
She is the first to pass in her paper.
"I am the best.", she thinks.
"It's me, Amy/Isabelle. I am better than Amy."
She looks around the class and for the first time she notices that no one seems to care how smart she is because Isabelle is not nice.
Amy is nice. Amy cares.
Sally raises her hand.
"What happened to Amy. She was here this morning. I didn't see her leave. She should have had another chance at spelling before you give the prize to Isabelle. It is always Isabelle. She wins all the time.
What about the rest of us?"
The whole class is mad at Isabelle.
They want a spelling contest without her.
"Without me? Without me? How can you even think this?", Amy/Isabelle
"I am the winner. I studied and I am better than Amy.", she shouts loudly.
"Oh, sit down, Isabelle." , the teacher says.
"You are not better than Amy, or Sally or anyone. You were just lucky with your spelling. One day you won't be so lucky. You might make a mistake. And you know what, Isabelle. It is okay to be less than perfect because this is life. And life sometimes is not fair, and you don't always win the prize, and you have to watch someone like you act like a fool for winning."
Amy/Isabelle thought a minute.She stomped her foot.
She did not understand what the teacher was trying to say.
"I won the prize. Me. Me. Me."
"Oh, right, Isabelle. You are the prize. But did you notice, no one else cares that you won. You are acting foolish. Stop this please. It is only a spellng bee. Amy did not win and she went out to recess and got over losing."
"You can't seem to get over winning. Is winning so very important to you? Why?", the teacher asks Isabelle.
"I need to win because I am better than Amy. I need to be better because she has more friends than I do. I wish I was Amy and had her smile.
Amy wishes she was Amy again.