'I died last winter...' Elsie Summers reflects on the past.
|The beginning of a story still in progress. It sounds slightly distorted and out of context still, so apologies for that at the moment! Any comments/ advice is welcome.|
'Look at the world with the child's eye - it is very beautiful' - Kailash Satyarthi
I died last winter.
It was a cold winter. One where every morning you would wake to a sparkling frost that covered the earth. It would crunch as you made your way across the farmer's fields and over the hills. Then, at school, there would be puddles of water in the cloakrooms a clear reflection of little bobble hats in rows.
And when it snowed, soft fat flakes that danced across the night sky, the earth was buried in a blanket of white and the air was still and serene - as if the whole world had been hushed into a deep sleep.
At school, from my seat by the window, I would watch the seasons change. The dazzling sun of summer would fade to darkening oranges and reds, and, finally, murky browns: the colours of autumn. Then in winter, I would sit shivering, the cold draught from the window sweeping in. The snow would bask the classroom, with its large windows, in a startlingly white yellowy glow. Here, I would write and I would read and I would dream.
My pencil drew, one cold December break time, a tree. It was an oak, I think, with sweeping branches and an abundance of fresh leaves. It was a strong tree, its boughs held the weight of its world well. The Oak was beautiful. And on one branch sat a bird, a fledgling, about to emerge and fly off into the beautiful world.
I died last winter.
My name is Elsie Summers.
Those were the words I scratched out in crumbling white, one quiet spring afternoon. The words were soft, barely formed on my writing stone of asphalt.
I dropped my piece of chalk in a rusting tin and rolled over onto the grass. It was damp and covered my dress with wet patches: but I didn't care. The sky was a pale blue, the colour of mummy's hydrangea, dotted with wisps like white candy floss.
I sat up suddenly and shuffled back to rest against the nearest tree: a silver birch. Its bark was cool and smooth behind me, quietly contrasting with the bright sunlight filtering through the branches warming my grass-stained knees. I closed my eyes. Breathed in the distinct smell of freshly clipped grass.
A distant tolling, quiet at first, but then insistent, woke me from my dreams. Church Bells. The ringers always practised on Tuesday afternoons. A breeze and the laughter of other children swept across the park.
Sitting up, I grabbed my tin of chalk and began to walk along the path home.
When I skipped back I passed my chalk drawings again and crossed my fingers and toes. I hoped part of me was etched into the world forever.