Once upon a time, in a world where being happy should have happened with ease, there lived a six-year-old girl named Sally Parker. Sally was mostly just like the other boys and girls she played with. However there was one significant difference separating her from her friends, and that was the tiny cloud that followed her around wherever she went. For this reason, Sally was known by everyone as Little Cloud Sally. Little Cloud Sally had grown used to her nickname and mostly enjoyed having something that made her unique. She didn’t wear glasses like her friend Lucy, she very rarely owned the latest toys like Sam and she was yet to discover if she had any particular hidden talent such as Jessica’s ability to memorise song lyrics she had only heard once. The cloud was hers, and it had mostly brought a smile to her face. Until, that is, the cloud started growing.
Little Cloud Sally’s parents told her that the cloud had been following her for a very long time. She wasn’t born with it, they said, but it had appeared one morning when she was three years old. Sally loved her cot, but her parents thought it best to buy her a “big girl’s” bed and experimented with letting her sleep in there. Though upset for much of the night, Sally eventually went to sleep and woke up to discover that a cloud had appeared above her overnight. The cloud looked as though someone may have been using fishing line to dangle a small clump of cotton wool from the ceiling and her parents attempted to get rid of the cloud by shooing it away or pushing it out of the house with a broomstick. Nothing worked, and the cloud didn’t seem to be bothersome at all, so her parents reasoned with Sally that this was her reward for sleeping in her big bed for the first time. It never occurred to Little Cloud Sally to question the fact that that no-one else she met had their own cloud, she just learned to accept it has her personal special gift.
The cloud was regularly a source of joy, with people enjoying the fact they were able to examine a-real-life cloud from up close. When her parents collected from her classroom on her first day of school, however, they were shocked to find Little Cloud Sally hadn’t really enjoyed class all that much and that the cloud had grown substantially. They again made the connection to the fact that Little Cloud Sally had just achieved another critical event in her life, which must have led to the increase in the cloud’s size. Her teachers explained that they were having trouble trying to find ways to accommodate the cloud in their classroom and that other students were finding it distracting, but that hopefully, it was something that might change in the future.
It didn’t. But, Little Cloud Sally was lucky enough to find some friends that said that the cloud didn’t bother them at all and that they liked the way it seemed to have a personality of its own, always following her around like her very own pet. What did bother them, though, was when the cloud seemed to get angry. It got worse as Little Cloud Sally got older, with the cloud getting darker more frequently and occasionally emitting a flash of lightning, frightening both her and her friends. If it got particularly bad, Little Cloud Sally would be asked to leave the sleepover or party she was attending, leading to fewer and fewer invites and making her cloud grow larger and darker at a much faster pace than when she was younger.
Overwhelmed, Little Cloud Sally decided to try and get rid of her cloud once and for all. She would talk to it of a nighttime, asking it to leave and telling it that she thought they had spent enough time together. She even tried to outrun it on a few occasions, but it always caught up with her, appearing significantly darker than before she left. Following many failed attempts and feeling very upset, Little Cloud Sally spoke with her father and mother about the cloud and asked them for advice.
“We have always seen the cloud as part of you, Sally,” her mother told her, “You may need to do try and do the same.” From that moment, Little Cloud Sally tried to become friends with the cloud and see what it might have to offer. She started taking notice of when the cloud appeared happier. Moments such as when she was playing in the park, getting stories read to her by her parents before bed, or just being silly by herself or with her friends. The cloud was still there, but it felt lighter and almost a joy to be around during these moments.
Walking home from school one afternoon with her cloud hovering nearby, Little Cloud Sally was about to enter her house when she noticed something strange coming from under the house’s front door. A significant amount of water was gushing out from under the door and down the front steps, making their driveway and yard extremely soggy. As she opened the door to her house, she was shocked to find her mother and father sitting on the couch with enormous, dark clouds hovering above their heads, rain pouring out of them, flooding their house. Soaked from head to toe, her parents looked at each other before turning back to their daughter.
“Take a seat, Little Cloud Sally,” her father said. “There’s something we need to tell you.”
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