One With The Forest

A girl lives in the woods behind my house.


3. A,B,C

Spring was creeping, stealthily  into the woods. I even saw patches of daffodils yellow as the sun and stashes of pure white snow drops as I trekked through the trees. At the moment though they hid in the bushes and behind logs, as f saving themselves for the full performance when they would invade the forest which from then, until Autumn hit,  on would live under the reign of the sun's colorful army.

When I arrived at the opening, the girl, Valentina, was sat cross-legged on the floor, staring intensely at something she held in her hands.

"What you got there?" 

She twisted her back to face me and flung the object behind her. "Oh nothing." 

I placed my rucksack on the log and began to unpack the contents. "Right, so today I'll teach you some of the alphabet. But first, lunch."

I unwrapped a bread roll from it's foil and threw it to Valentina. For a moment she wasn't sure, looking at the roll, holding it in both hands at a distance, as if it were a bomb. I unwrapped my own and took a large bite. Seeing this as her cue she delved into it, taking huge bites and licking her lips as she went - I realized that this must be a rare treat for her. I wanted to ask where she lived? What she did during the day?...When was the last time she had a hot meal? 

I held my tongue though, worried that questions might scare her away. I had to be gentle and cautious with her. She was a wild deer; one sudden movement and she'd run. I made a mental note to bring more food next time.

"Right, umm, I'm going to show you A, B and C."

She came over and sat next to me on the log. I took out some paper and a couple of pencils. I handed her a pencil, but she was even unsure of how to hold it. 10 minutes later I had shown her. We stayed for about two hours. I would show her the letters one by one. Demonstrate how to pronounce them. Show her the capital and the lowercase. I would draw a dot to dot outline of the letters and let her trace over them, again and again until she could do them solely. My teaching skills were far from great; I had no idea what I was doing. However, by the end she could write all letters without help and form them with her lips.

She turned to me and gave me the biggest smile. "Same again tomorrow?"

"Sorry Valentina, I have school," Her smile faded slightly, "next weekend though?" Turning away from me, she nodded. "Here, you keep those." I handed her the papers and the pencils. 

"Thank you."

"I should really go now, see you next weekend."


"Promise." I galloped off into the rest of the forest, bounding over logs and stumbling on roots. When I arrived home I flung myself through the door, hung up my coat and bag and trounced into the kitchen. The kitchen smelt warm and delicious, like cookies.

"Where on earth have you been?" My mother queried, but her voice wasn't angry, it was smooth and welcoming. "I haven't seen you all day!" 

I flashed her a bright smile "Oh, just in the forest."

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