Once upon a time, there was a boy named Zane who woke up feeling very ill. He hadn’t really eaten anything unusual the night before, nor did he have any signs of a cold. He just knew something wasn’t quite right. It was a strange feeling to wake up with; he knew his name, he knew that he was still “him” but he didn’t feel like doing any of the things that he usually enjoyed doing. He thought about playing with his remote-controlled car as that usually cheered him up, but, today, that thought just made him feel tired. He thought about the characters and meanings in his favourite stories but even the thought of lying down and reading a book created less excitement than he had ever thought possible.
To check if she might have some answers, he called his mother into his bedroom, who checked his temperature and, although it was normal, she allowed him to stay home as long as he agreed not to disturb her. This sounded like a fair deal to Zane and he agreed to let her be and to stay in bed for as long as he could. Which wasn’t very long at all.
Feeling restless, Zane got out of bed and went into the hallway of the house which appeared much longer than it had ever appeared to him before. He could clearly see the light of the lounge room at the end so he shrugged it off as tiredness and started to make his way down the hallway. After walking for several minutes, Zane could see something leaning against the wall of the hallway. Curious, he walked up to the object to examine it closer and realized it was his bike. Well, not the bike he used to ride to school now, but the bike that he had learned to ride on when he was younger; training wheels and all. There was a tag on the handlebars of the bike which read, For Sale: Make your trip down the hallway much easier by using this bike! Zane knew he would feel a bit odd riding down the hallway on a bike that was much too small for him, so he left it alone and continued down the hallway.
The light of the lounge felt like it was getting at least a little closer when he saw another object in the distance. When he got closer, he could see it was the school uniform he had worn on his first day of school. Zane thought that this was a very strange place for the shirt to be hanging before reading the tag hanging off the bottom of the shirt: Wear me to learn everything you need to know for a speedy trip down the hallway! Zane caught himself chuckling at the thought of him trying to squeeze in to his old school uniform and then waddling his way down the rest of the hallway, so he decided it would be best to leave it alone and get to the end of the hallway by his own means.
By now, the light was close enough for him to step into it and out of the hallway. The room should have been his loungeroom, but instead it looked more like a study from one of the books was reading. In front of him was a man in a top hat, wearing a pair of reading glasses.
“Not feeling well, my Dear Boy?” the man asked.
Hesitant at first, Zane replied, “I do feel a bit lost, yes,” he started. “I’ve woken up not really feeling like doing the things I used to enjoy so I’m a bit confused as to who I am.”
“I see I see,” said the stranger. “Luckily, I have the answer, Dear Boy!”
“You do?” asked Zane.
“Yes, yes, of course! You’ve just grown up overnight, my Dear Boy! This usually happens very, very slowly but, for you, you’ve woken up and left all of those childish things behind you! All you need to do is purchase one of the many things I have on sale behind me and you’ll feel as right as rain!”
Zane could make out some of the items on the shelf behind the stranger; Car was one. House was another. University Degree was also for sale. None of these items really appealed to Zane and, at once, he felt very appreciative of all the joy every item he had been interested in had brought him over the years. Zane was no longer feeling very ill but was feeling rather quite excited at the thought of returning to his remote-controlled car and his kids’ storybooks.
Zane thanked the man in the top-hat and said that he might return one day to buy some of his gifts. On the walk back along the hallway, Zane realised it was important to take some time to enjoy the things he has now, as one day they might seem childish and without purpose. He opened the door to his bedroom and lay down to take a long nap.
When he woke up, he looked around his bedroom and smiled. “There’s no hurry,” he said out loud before taking a deep breath and feeling grateful that he felt like himself again.