a short story about god

Once, there was a girl born with a heart so full of joy that her feet could never touch the ground.

She spent her early childhood skimming over the world, bouncing easily on a thick cushion of jubilation, laughing heartily at everything she would see: a flower, bending in the breeze; the roll of a kicked pebble; the butcher, trimming the afternoon steaks.

When she went off to school, however, the other children began to poke cruel fun at their floating classmate. Her father, the town blacksmith, fashioned her a pair of iron shoes to help her to better fit in amongst her landlocked peers.

Unfortunately, when the girl began to walk instead of float, pounding waves of joy surged up through her lungs. The girl began to sing — all day and night, humming when she couldn’t think of the words to fit. She sang about breakfast; her teacher’s dress; the funeral director’s horse; the well-bucket; the way the boys would kick each other on the schoolyard. The children at school covered their ears and wailed.

Finally, the teacher put a giant cork in the little girl’s mouth, fastened on her head with a pink silk ribbon. Her parents, exasperated, did not remove it.

Plugged up and grounded, the girl began to draw. She drew, fervently, all the joyful things that she saw in the world around her. First, the girl used every sheet of paper in the house and emptied all the inkwells. After that, she commandeered her mother’s lipstick and painted all of the windows with ferris-wheels and tigers and tall men in kilts. When the teacher turned her back at recess, the little girl covered the back wall of the schoolhouse with exuberant sketches of penny-candy, riding crops, golf shoes, and birds, all lovingly rendered in rich, red mud. Infuriated, the teacher tied the little girl’s hands behind her back.

So then, unreleased joy screaming though her bloodstream at thousands of miles an hour, the little girl exploded.

Two days later, the town forgot all about her.

That was the day God gave up on us.