She laid there, helpless. She couldn’t change a thing and now it was too late. She wasn’t supposed to be like this: a freak, alone in a crowd, a defect.
Lying on the ground, looking up at the bright blue sky, she wondered how she had let this happen to her – how had she allowed herself to be this?
The wettened soil beneath her stuck in clumps, dirtying her, adding insult to her visible injury.
Why had this happened to her? Why?
She had fallen here and couldn’t move any more. Bracing herself, she waited for the inevitable boot to stamp on her. Maybe they would go away and she would be left alone?
A hand reached down and pulled her up through the air.
‘Mummy! Look! A red one!’
More footsteps, quicker. ‘Oh isn’t it pretty?’
‘It’s the only red one! Look Mummy! All the other leaves that have fallen are yellow or green. This is the only red one!’
‘You’re right. Well, aren’t you a lucky girl?’
‘I know what I’m going to do with this red leaf, Mummy! I’m going to stick it in the middle of my picture.’
‘The picture you’ve been working on, sweatheart?’
‘Yes! Mummy, I’ve been waiting for the best thing I could find to put in the middle of my picture and finish it.’
‘And this red leaf is the perfect finishing touch?’
‘Yes. And then I’m going to hang the picture on the wall above my bed.’
She heard what they were saying about her, and grew redder. Held up above the others, she looked back down at the other leaves and she felt sorry for them all, gathered together, seeing at last that their normality had made them unnecessary.
I wrote this piece after going walking and climbing in a local park. As I was climbing, I looked down and saw one red oak leaf among yellow and green leaves. I had to write about this leaf.