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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Why Can't I Be Happy?

Gordon woke up one morning feeling sad. He didn't know why, but his heart felt heavy and nothing would make him smile. "I don't want to go to school today. I want to stay in bed. I feel sad." When his mum came through to get him up and ready, Gordon rolled over onto his tummy and buried his head under the pillow. "I don't want to go, Mum. Leave me alone."

His mum left the room and went to talk to Gordon's dad. "I'm not sure what's wrong with Gordon. He's not happy at all today. I wonder if he's sick. Should I take him to the doctor?"

"Let me go and talk to him," Dad said. He went into Gordon's room. "What's the matter, son? Are you feeling sick?"

"I don't know what's wrong, Dad. I feel sad today. I feel like I want to cry." Gordon felt tears building up behind his eyes.

"I'm sorry to hear that. I think it will be all right if you stay home today with  your mum. Maybe you can go for a walk or help her bake a cake." Dad leaned over and kissed Gordon on the forehead. "I'm off to work, but call me if you want to talk."

Gordon's mum let him lie in bed for a while. She tried to think of why Gordon would be feeling sad today. Nothing came to her mind. After she'd written in her journal, she went to wake Gordon up. "Come on, sleepy head. We're going for a walk."

Gordon didn't want to get up, but his mum didn't give him a choice. He took a few bites of his cereal and then they left.

As they walked down the street, his mum pointed some things out to him. "Gordon, do you see the roses in Mr. Butler's garden? Aren't they lovely. Would you like to smell them?"

"No." Gordon hung his head.

"I want to. Come with me." His mum sniffed the flowers. "Oh, these are lovely smelling. I love roses. They are my favorite flower. Are you sure you don't want to sniff them?" Gordon shook his head no. They walked on.

"Look, Gordon. See the bluebirds. Their feathers are different from every other bird. It looks like some of the sky fell on their feathers." Gordon glanced up, but didn't smile. They walked on.

"Gordon! There are Billy's puppies. Oh, they're adorable." His mum opened the gate and pulled Gordon inside. The puppies ran up to him and licked his legs. "They want you to pet them, Gordon." She sat in the grass and the puppies licked her face. She giggled and the puppies barked tiny barks. "Their fur is so soft and fluffy. Maybe we should get a puppy." When Gordon didn't react, they walked on.

"Doesn't an ice cream cone sound good? I love ice cream. My favorite is chocolate banana walnut caramel peanut butter marmalade mustard ice cream. What's yours?"

A smile in the corner of Gordon's mouth brought joy to his mother's heart.

"Maybe I'd rather have a pickle vanilla blueberry onion pistachio raspberry orange lemon mud ice cream cone." She saw the smile again; this time it was bigger.

"No! I've got it. I want a rubber duckie, dinosaur, cheesecake ripple, coconut shell, sea shell, dirty socks, plum ice cream cone." She looked over at Gordon. "Doesn't that sound good?"

Gordon burst out laughing. "Don't be so silly, Mum. That sounds horrible. You can't have that kind of ice cream cone."

"Oh yeah? Who says so? Let's go into the store and see what sort of ice cream there is." They went inside. His mum looked at the menu. She said to the girl behind the counter, "Where's your dirty sock ice cream?"

Gordon grinned. "Where's your mustard ice cream?"

"No, no, no, Gordon. Where is your double fudge, triple garlic, sesame seed, curry ice cream with pizza topping?"

Gordon laughed and laughed.

The girl behind the counter looked at them like they were crazy.

"All right. I'll settle for a peach ice cream in a bowl with lots of caramel and hot fudge sauce," Mum said.

"I'll have a chocolate swirl ice cream with whipping cream and a cherry on top." Gordon licked his lips.

They sat at the table and ate their ice cream. On the way home, Gordon wanted to stop and play with Billy's puppies. He let them lick his ears and cheeks. They stopped to sniff Mr. Butler's roses. Gordon took ten sniffs. When they got home, Gordon and his mum played games and watched a movie on television. When Gordon's dad pulled up in the driveway, Gordon ran out to tell him about their day and how much fun he had. "That's great, Gordon. Now you and I can play a game of football."

Gordon's mum stood at the window watching them play. She felt much happier now that Gordon was happier.

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