Monday, 22 October 2012
06:23:31 PM (GMT)
"Mummy, why's that little boy got a stick thing?" The short blonde girl tugged at
the hem of her mother's sundress, pointing at a family of three by the picnic
"Darling, don't point, that's not very nice." She smiled kindly, lowering Celeste's
hand, "He has that stick because he's blind. He's Felix, and he lives just around
the corner from us. I've spoken to his mummy before at the shops."
Celeste pouted at the boy, "Well, I've never ever seen him before!"
"Maybe you need to look harder? Do his looking for him."
There was a moment of silence as the four year old considered her question, "What's
The woman laughed softly, crouching down next to her daughter and taking her hands,
"It means that he can't see, Celeste."
"How does he know what things are, then?"
"Well, I expect he recognises them by touch, or sound or smell."
"When will he see again Mummy?"
"I don't think he will..."
Celeste's expression softened after closing her eyes for a moment and deciding that
it was far too dark a place to live in, especially for someone who couldn’t sleep
without her sun-shaped nightlight. “I think he looks sad, Mummy… I think he
should be able to see.” She waited for her mother to reply, though she didn’t,
so the girl continued, “He’s on his own. He should have a friend. Can I be his
“Of course you can, Celeste, but make sure you’re kind, okay? Do you mind if I
go home and make dinner and pick you up later? I’ll ask Felix’s parents to look
“I don’t need looking after Mummy! I’m four!” She crossed her arms
indignantly. As if she needed looking after! The very thought!
“Alright, alright! Come on, then, let’s say hello…” Mrs Brooke took
Celeste’s hand and led her over, both mother and daughter smiling warmly, although
Celeste’s was directed at Felix, having already forgotten that he couldn’t see
“Hello Mrs and Mr Felix’s Mummy and Daddy…” The girl said, smiling widely up
at them. The dark brown haired boy turned his head curiously, lips slightly parted
as he struggled to place the voice. His fingers trailed to a stop on his toy train
as he concentrated on this new voice. “Can I pretty please with pink ballerinas
play with Felix? I want to be his friend!” Friend? Felix frowned, his attention
switching back to his train. Nobody ever wanted to be his friend. It was another
mean trick, like when Rupert had thrown his tractor onto the playground and no one
would tell him where it was. Or when Eddie had asked to look at his cane, and not
given it back, even after Felix had asked nicely with a please and a thank you for
Mrs Clarke looked at the young girl first with surprise, then with the warmth only a
mother could give, “Oh, of course you can! You’d like that, wouldn’t you,
Felix dear?” She laughed lightly as he shook his head, and gave his shoulder an
encouraging squeeze, “Be nice, Felix.”
“That’s what Mummy just told me too…”
Mrs Brooke came back an hour later, frowning in concern as she saw Mrs Clarke in
silent tears with her husband’s arm around her shoulders, who was grinning to
himself, gaze settled in amongst a small cluster of trees. “Oh, Heavens! What’s
wrong? She hasn’t said something, has-“ Mrs Brooke was cut off by a finger to
the lips from Mr Clarke. She frowned, watching as he moved his hand slowly,
silently, to point where he was looking. Celeste’s mother raised an eyebrow, still
worried that her daughter may have insulted the poor boy in some way. She stepped
forwards, however, cautiously looking where he had indicated.
A red train left abandoned a few meters away from them- a boy and a girl, sitting
cross-legged in the mud, both with eyes closed, both with grins to challenge the
“The light’s all speckly in here. Like… A birdy’s wing. Or like when I
splash in a puddle and it’s muddy and the mud goes everywhere!”
“Oh, ‘cause the big trees make shadows… And the little trees want to see the
sun because the sun’s big and prettiful, so they look though the gaps that the big
trees make. But where the wind’s all blowy, the little trees and the big trees
move and sometimes, if we’re really lucky,” Celeste had lowered her voice to a
whisper to make it match the sound of the wind. She lifted their hands so that their
palms were touching between them, and continued, “If we’re really really lucky…
The magic works just right, and we can feel the sun instead of seeing it.”
“It’s working, Celeste! I can feel it!”
“Where? On your head?” She asked, excitedly, taking a peek to see his smile,
and smile back.
“No… My hands. That’s what the sun feels like, isn’t it? Can you feel it
too? On your hands?”
Celeste cocked her head to the side a fraction, looking at them inquisitively,
“Mhmm… Yeah, I think so… It feels warm and safe and happy. That’s what the
sun should feel like.”