This is barely flash fiction, I know…but I was struggling for story ideas and this one was sitting in the back burner…even if it is mostly an ode to my daughter.
This is a story about Ollie. Of course, her real name wasn’t Ollie, but rather, Olivia. She liked being called Ollie, though. Perhaps it was because her parents had started calling her by the shortened moniker at birth. Maybe it was due to how she shared the name with a certain archery obsessed superhero. Or maybe, and most likely, it was because it made her different.
She knew many Olivias. She’d meet them almost everywhere she went. And although it was exciting to meet someone with whom she shared a name, it also had the distinct detraction of making her feel less special somehow, like she had been given a rubber stamp name instead of one picked out especially for her. Yet Ollie, she knew so few. And of the ones she knew, they were all in stories, not people she met in real life. If anything, the fact that she shared her nickname with that of characters that other people were aware of from books and television and movies make the nickname that much better…even if most would think it a boy’s name.
But that’s the thing about Olivia, she wasn’t just not afraid to be different, she strove to be her own person. Sure, she might get caught up in trends and get excited about certain queens with mystical ice powers or other such popular items. But in the end, she would take them and make them her own, constantly changing her interests based on new information, always finding new things about the world to get her excited, and never as interested in watching something a second time when there was something new to enjoy.
You see, Ollie loved the world. And, in turn, the world loved her…at least most of it. At the young age of five, she already would learn how quickly others can judge you based on such silly things as the way you dress and the things you talk about. And Ollie, at the age of five, would still take these rejections as any five year old would…which is to say, poorly. She’d come home, sad and dejected, and cry on her parents’ shoulders as she relayed her failures of the day. She’d take these things hard, knowing in her heart that they weren’t personal attacks, but the silliness of childhood, but ultimately knowing that knowledge didn’t change how it made her feel inside.
Yet, the need to conform never completely overtook her. She would still get excited to try out new clothing combinations, to show off her creative ideas to her friends, no matter how completely odd and different they were. And she would take on each new day with the positive attitude that she could make it her own, even if the previous one didn’t work out as hoped.
Ollie was not only a trailblazer, but she was an optimist, a strong, defiant little girl who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to make sure it happened. She was dedicated to the friends she found and almost always willing to help those who were less fortunate than she.
And sure, she might get excited about presents and toys and games and things, but in the end, she would much rather prefer spending time with people than stuff.
Ollie was and is an inspiration, if not to anyone else, to her father, because of her kind heart and her constant willingness to love. And he found himself always struggling to be more like her in his own daily interactions…and failing quite miserably.