Imagine That

Everyone at Columbine Elementary knew Teya. She was the kid with the red-rimmed glasses and big curly hair, with skin the color of brightly polished copper. There weren’t many girls at this school who looked like her.

But the main reason everyone knew Teya was because of her wild imagination.

Last year, this fifth-grader won first place in the district-wide art contest. The theme was “Anything is Possible,” and students were invited to send in drawings and paintings illustrating that theme. Teya’s drawing showed a group of fish standing around a fishbowl, feeding the humans inside.

That’s so Teya! She saw the world differently through those red-rimmed glasses. In fact, her parents gave her that name, short for Teyana, because they believed their child was one-of-a-kind, and they wanted her name to be unique, too.

Teya’s new BFF was Kimberly, who had just moved to Colorado. Kimberly had hazel eyes and blond braids that she always tied neatly with colorful ribbons. Every day, Teya and Kimberly ate lunch together, worked on art projects together, and played games together. So, when Kimberly invited Teya to a sleepover at her home, Teya was thrilled.

“And when you come over, we can play in my new dollhouse,” Kimberly said.

“That sounds great!” replied Teya.

On Saturday, Teya’s dad drove her to Kimberly’s home on the other side of town.

“Hi, Teya!” Kimberly called out, running from the front porch. “I’m so glad you’re here!”

Teya’s dad grabbed her overnight bag out of the trunk, gave it to his daughter, and kissed her cheek. “You two have fun,” he said. “Don’t stay up too late.”

Kimberly took Teya’s hand and guided her to the backyard. “Come see my new dollhouse!”

“Wow,” Teya thought when she saw it, her eyes widening behind those red-rimmed glasses. “OMG, your dollhouse is huge,” she blurted out. “I’ll bet we can sit inside it!”

“Yeah! Take a look!” Kimberly gushed. She pointed to the house’s fancy little furniture, its tiny neon pink tea set, and its lime-green walls. As she looked around, Teya said, “wow” a lot, which seemed to make Kimberly very happy.

But when Teya opened the shutters and glanced through the windows, she spotted a giant, empty box by the trash can. Suddenly, her imagination was fired up.

“You know what this place is missing?” she asked.

“What?” Kimberly’s hazel eyes lit up with curiosity.

“Wait here. I have an idea.”

Teya got up, ran to the box, and dragged it to the dollhouse. Dumping the contents of her overnight bag onto the grass, she picked up her colored markers, a half stick of glue, and a bottle of blue glitter.

“What are you going to do?” Kimberly wondered.

“We are going to do something. We are going to create a car to go with your amazing dollhouse.”

Teya began to draw doors on the side of the box in her favorite color, red. Kimberly spread the glue stick all over the front of the box and sprinkled the blue glitter on top. When the wind blew, it made the stray glitter fly all over the yard.

“Cool! Looks like magic,” Teya commented.

“It is!”

Next, Teya picked up the paper plates with sandwiches and chips that Kimberly’s mom had made for them. She carefully put the food onto the backyard table, then glued the paper plate to a stick and jammed the stick into the front of the box. “There we go! That’s our steering wheel,” Teya announced. “We’re ready to take a drive!”

“But don’t we need seatbelts?” Kimberly protested. “Wait!” she added. “Now I have an idea.”

Kimberly took a long purple ribbon from one of her braids and handed it to Teya. Placing the ribbon over her shoulder, Teya buckled in. Kimberly did the same.

Now, with her legs positioned crisscross applesauce, Teya started the car with the push of a button she had drawn moments before.

Teya called, “Kim, hooold on!” Turning the steering wheel, Teya made vroom noises. Then she stood up and, with Kimberly, began pushing their deluxe box car across the yard.

And with the wind in their hair, the friends took off on an imaginary journey across the Rocky Mountains.