The small sliver of sun that was just beginning to peak over the East cast a pale yellow light over the small park, making the drops of dew clinging to each blade of grass sparkle like a thousand diamonds. Two figures sat on the edge of the park on an old bench that once, many years ago, might have been painted green, but now had worn away to the bare, weathered wood.
The day had begun.
The figure in white took a deep breath, her short summer dress fluttering around her. She closed her eyes and began to count in her head. She wouldn't be staying long, just a minute in the frigid morning air before it would be back inside for her studies. The childhood of a future top grade private lawyer didn't have time for lazing around.
60, 59, 58, not much time. She only had a minute in the morning to ready her mind, then it would be time to go to her morning classes, followed by the day at her expensive private school, followed by more classes with professional tutors, all paid for by her parents of course, "A student, even one like you, cannot expect to get top results from school alone, and you're going to need them to get into a good law school." After that would come the three hours she spent each night doing homework, then another hour going over her notes and reviewing everything she had learned that day, "If you do not revise you could unconsciously forget everything you've learned, and you wouldn't want that would you?" Even on weekends she had no free time, those days she spent volunteering at the local nursing home or the war memorial "I'm sure you're generous enough to give up your time, and just think how good it would look on your resume!"
The girl in white tilted her head back, staring fixedly at the sky to cut out the distracting sights around her and clearing her mind in the way she had been taught would best prepare it for the day's learning. She didn't have much longer before she had to start getting ready for her first class.
The figure in black sucked in a breath and exhaled slowly, her thick winter coat flapping slightly in the morning breeze around her unmoving body. But while her body was still, her eyes were not. Instead they were travelling, roaming around the park, taking in everything, from the pink flower buds poking through the mass of leaves on a large tangled bush, to the small red birds hopping along the grass in search for the first worms to show their heads. The beauty of the scene amazed her, and probably always would no matter how many times she saw it. She could spend a whole day just sitting here, watching everything and letting her imagination run wild.
She let her eyes drift to the few yellow rays that were barely making it over the horizon. Beautiful. Her parents didn't appreciate it like she did, didn't see what she saw. "Now why would a girl want to sit around and ogle things?" They couldn't understand how her creative mind exploded with possibilities as she watched the small movements of nature around her, how she her thoughts wondered, trying to imagine what life would be like for that bee buzzing around the flowering tree, or that small insect skimming the surface of the small pond. They didn't know why she would dream of one day coming down with a paintbrush, or a marker, or a sketchpad, to capture the splendour of this simple park. "There's no money or brains in art, it's nothing more than a waste of time." But she did dream. She would always dream.
The girl in black tilted her head upwards, looking upwards through the dark green leaves of the tree she sat under, to the star-speckled sky that was just beginning to be illuminated by the light of the rising sun. The sky at dawn was always the highlight of the morning. She sighed. She didn't have much longer before the stars disappeared from view.
32, 31, 30, the minute was half gone. The girl in white stood up slowly, moving her head to look in front of her, but keeping her eyes unfocused. She began to walk, pacing aimlessly around the park as she mapped out her timetable for the day in her head. Not that her days ever changed, but it was a standard organisational process, "You must always know what you are doing, each morning think over your day, that way you'll grow with the necessary organisational skills for being a good lawyer." Tutor, school, tutor, homework, revision; tutor, school, tutor, homework, revision; tutor, school, tutor, homework...
About half of the sun was visible over the horizon now, lighting the world in its orange glow. The girl in black stood, looking around her and feeling the corners of her mouth twitch upwards as she surveyed the loveliness of nature in the morning. She took a step forward over the shining grass, making her way over to the shallow pond in the middle of the park. She gazed down into the murky water tinged green with algae, imagining what it would be like under the surface. It was odd, she knew, but still she let her mind wonder, "What are you looking at girl, what so interesting about the water?" The pond, though small to her, would hold a whole world of tiny creatures, with insect eggs littering the moss covered bottom, hatched larvae wriggling around the debris fallen in from the above world, and even a few tadpoles scattered in the water, feeding off the green on the walls. Eating, swimming, living...
13, 12, 11, the minute was almost over. The girl in white stopped near the middle of the park, letting her eyes drift shut. Not long now before she had to go back.
The dawn was just about complete, the sun on the edge of the clear blue sky. The girl in black closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of the early morning rays on her skin. Not long now before the day would be completely unveiled.
8, 7, 6, only a little longer now, the sun was just detaching itself from the green line of the horizon,
3,2, 1, as the sun rose over the world, spreading its light across the land,
I opened my eyes.
The world was alive around me as I turned to head back home, but that wasn't important now. I clutched my grey jacket to my body as I absentmindedly stepped around the pond, step by step, moving away from the park until I had reached my front door. I opened it to walk inside, then stopped, just as I did every day. And every day, I always needed one last look.
The figure in black was still at the pond, a lone shape silhouetted against the bright orb of the steadily rising sun.
One blink and she was gone.
I sighed, a twinge of sadness pulling at my heart as I turned away, walking into the house and pulling the door shut behind me.
"I will not have my daughter wasting her life scribbling away at a sheet of paper, you will study at law school, and get a job at a good firm."
I barely noticed the white clothed figure shadowing my every move
"If you try hard I'm sure you'll be just as rich and successful as your parents."
There's only room for one in this life.