Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Real Girl

With the 'Big Thaw' underway, her rigidness melted with it. As her flesh defrosted, her limbs became more flexible. Her face more 'English Rose', than as white as snow, and her button nose no longer an icicle. She was a 'real girl' again. A girl who could rub noses in an Eskimo kiss, flutter her eyes like the wings of butterflies, and splash puddles in her wellies.
As the temperatures crept up, the rain came and the ice turned into floods of water. The Real Girl grew bolder. She used her limbs to run around and find the biggest pool to wade in. In her back garden, a new lake had formed, which was by far the largest; its muddy waters flowed from the weeping willow to the patio. Her red mackintosh flapped as her Mum tucked her trousers into her socks and helped her pull on her matching boots. Zipped into her rainproof coat, the hood is flipped over her head and its toggles fastened under her chin too tightly.
Be careful.” Her Mum says and gives her a hug.
You're squashing me!” She bites back. She dislikes these public displays of sentimentality.
Her Mum makes a worried frown, sighs, and walks through the back door into the utility room. From the patio, the Real Girl surveys the lake like a hardy fisherman and doesn't flinch when she hears the squelch of her Dad's boots coming to join her.
Aye, aye Captain.” He says in his ol'-sea-dog-with-a-pipe-in-his-mouth dialect, “What are we thinking?”
The Real Girl fixes him with a steely stare and decisively answers, “We must build an Ark like Noah's, but on a smaller scale and with a sail.”
But what'll we use Captain?” Her Dad, now employed in the role of first-mate, stutters.
She points to a pile of old floorboards, which had been ripped from the house and forgotten about, “Those wooden planks and a bed-sheet of course.”
They both jump to the job immediately. The Real Girl Captain shouting commands at First Mate Dad as he does all the work. The morning rings with the sounds of sawing and hammering, and only one break is allowed to share a flask of tea and a Kit-Kat. Finally, First Mate Dad steps back, wipes the sweat from his brow, and gazes at his work. The Real Girl Captain grins as she climbs aboard with her toy parrot and trusty sea-dog, “Well, what are we waiting for? Let's set sail!”
First Mate Dad pushes her off, before wading in and clambering on to hoist the sail. The Real Girl Captain positions herself at the helm with both hands on the striped rubber ring. That day and the next they have many adventures together: they discover unknown islands and battle pirates for treasure, before the Ark runs aground on the earth's bed, and has to be dismantled.
The direction of the wind was changing...
Spring came and the Real Girl wore cotton frocks and danced in her socks, and held plastic tea parties. In the Summer months, she ran barefoot through sprinklers, and in Autumn made rich, mud pies. But as Winter approached, she began to freeze again. Her limbs grew stiff as she turned to ice once more. She mourned as she knew the day would come when she would not thaw. As more and more parents said it was too dangerous to play she would not become a 'real girl'. Her frozen statue would stand to remind people not to steal childhood innocence.