Dorothy and Alice
“It was all sort of odd, you know,” Alice says pensively, balancing the teacup on her saucer. Picnics are all well and good until you’re forced to walk all the way back to school with a rapidly cooling wet patch on the front of your skirt.
“That is, I believe,” Dorothy says, “rather a prerequisite for journeys to other worlds. Of course, I could be wrong.”
Alice sighs heavily. “Must you always be so literal? I didn’t mean the going there, or the being there, or even Wonderland itself. It was only that I felt so queer once I got back.”
Dorothy hums thoughtfully, reaching over to scratch at the top of Toto’s head. (Technically, of course, pets aren’t allowed at school, but they’d hardly let something as little as a rule stop them.) “Like everything was somehow…less, here?” she says. “That’s how I felt, sort of.”
“No,” Alice says, a little surprised. She brushes a stray bit of hair out of her eyes, tucking it back behind her headband and thinking hard. “Not at all, actually. It was like I was somehow more.”
Dorothy reaches over to steal a sip of tea, lifting the cup out of Alice’s hands and setting it down again after making a face. “That’s gone cold, you know,” she says. “You really ought to drink it faster.”
Alice rolls her eyes. “If I did, I wouldn’t have any left for you to take.”
“That’s true,” Dorothy says easily. “Anyway, isn’t it all sort of the same thing?” When Alice frowns at her, she adds, “The world being less or you being more, I mean. I think you sort of end up in the same place either way.”
“Maybe,” Alice says, taking her own sip of—stone cold, it’s true—tea. “But I think there’s something to be said for perspective, don’t you?”
“Probably,” Dorothy admits. “Though I will say, if one more teacher sits me down to have a gentle talk about glasses being half full or empty, I shall scream.”
“And I would support you in that,” Alice says loyally. “I should scream with you, if you wanted me to.”
Dorothy laughs. “Only if you feel a truly desperate urge,” she says. “And I hope you know I would do the same for you.” She sighs. “Still, it’s not my fault if they think I have a bad attitude. I can’t help it if I’m always wondering whether the teachers actually know anything about the things they’re telling us.”
“Well, it’s not as if you can tell them that you’ve been to a country where the man in charge is lying about his qualifications,” Alice says, and giggles. “Only think of the looks on their faces.”
Dorothy laughs too, but she sobers up quickly when they hear a bell ringing in the distance. “Ugh,” she says with feeling. “We’ve History next, and that always makes me feel as if someone’s stuffed wool between my ears.”
“Perhaps they have,” Alice says, finishing off her tea and packing it away. “Come along, Chester,” she coos, picking up her cat while Dorothy grabs the basket.
“I don’t see why you didn’t just call him Cheshire,” Dorothy says as they start off back to the school.
Alice shrugs. “I think it would have made me feel sad, knowing that he wasn’t,” she says, and Dorothy nods in understanding.
“By the way,” she says, “I’ve been meaning to ask. Have you met the new girl?”
Alice frowns. “You mean what’s-her-name? Susan something?”
“Pevensie,” Dorothy says eagerly, nodding. “I think we ought to ask her to lunch with us.”
“Really?” Alice says, surprised. “I wouldn’t have thought it of her.”
“I can’t be sure, of course,” Dorothy says. “But I got a sort of funny feeling off of her. She’s certainly worth a look, at any rate.”
“Well, then,” Alice says, delightedly. “Look we shall.”