Everyone told Hanna that she was the best at doing handstands. So, Hanna decided to do everything topsy-turvey.
She walked to school on her hands.
She went up stairs on her hands.
She skipped rope on her hands.
“Hanna, you are definitely ‘the Queen of Upside Down’,” said her teacher, Mr. Kennebunk.
Hanna liked the sound of that. She liked the idea of being royalty. She thought it might be nice to wear a tasteful crown atop her head. But the silly thing just wouldn’t stay on.
It wasn’t easy being ‘the Queen of Upside Down.’ When Hanna talked to her friends she couldn’t look them in the eye, she had to settle for their knees. And then there was the time at recess she got gum stuck to her hand so she had to start wearing gloves. She always had to make sure her shirt was tucked in and that she wasn’t wearing a big floppy collar. Walking on hands all the time could be quite tiring, too, especially in gym class when Mr. Kennebunk had the class do jumping jacks.
Still, everyone in her class was impressed by her talent.
Her best friend Frieda said, “Wow, Hanna, you are the best hand-stander in the world!”
“I bet you could get into the Book of World Records,” said Clayton, who was always borrowing the world record books from the library.
Secretly, Hanna began to wish she could go back to walking on her feet. But everyone expected her to be the Queen of Upside Down. She would become the “Queen of Letting Everyone Down,” if she stopped now.
So, Hanna played hopscotch on her hands.
She ran the bases on her hands.
She hip-hopped on her hands.
At recess one day, her friend Frieda sat on the swing with her head hung low and let her feet drag in the dust. She didn’t even try to swing.
“What’s wrong, Frieda?” asked Hanna.
“I can’t go see Papa this weekend,” said Frieda.
Hanna knew this was sad news for Frieda.
“Every Saturday Papa and I go to the library together to find books for me to read at bedtime,” said Frieda. “Now I won’t get to see him and I won’t have any good stories to read all next week.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Hanna. Hanna shuffled from one hand to the other. She didn’t know what else to say. Hanna knew how much Frieda missed her Papa after he and Frieda’s daddy broke up.
Frieda looked like she was about to cry. Hanna wanted to give her friend a hug, but it isn’t an easy thing to do when you are standing on your hands. She tried to give her friend a leg-hug, but it just wasn’t the same.
“I need a real hug,” said Frieda.
Hanna looked at her friend. If she went right-side up, she would no longer be “the Queen of Upside Down,” just “The Sometimes Queen of Upside-Down.”
“Please?” asked Frieda.
Hanna didn’t have to think about it long. She flipped herself upright and although it was strange, it was okay not to be “the Queen of Upside-Down.” She gave Frieda a big hug and said, “Maybe we can go to the library together this weekend.”
“Hanna, you are the best! You are a royal and loyal friend,” said Frieda.
Hanna liked the sound of that even better.