When Jemima, the younger sister of the school superstar, joined the school, everyone expected the same, maybe more. But what they got was a quiet, but strong minded girl who was independent, and just different. If she hadn’t been Kate’s sister, then people probably would have envied her for her aloof attitude and air of demure coolness. But she wasn’t like Kate, not at all, and there was disappointment all round.
Jemima was clever, and did well, but she didn’t have the spark like Kate. She didn’t follow trends, she had her own individual style, that was really cool, but just not like Kate. Jemima became shunned, ignored.
Secretly, some people preferred her to Kate, the loud flashy one, and felt that a calm, quiet alternative may be nice. But, Jemima showed no interest in people. She read books, but boy’s eyes still followed her wherever she went. They were too scared to approach her; she wasn’t the approachable type.
Jemima put her head in her hands and sighed. She loved just escaping the world. Nature loved her more than people. She was too different to be totally accepted. Sure, she wasn’t bullied or deliberately ignored anymore, she just glided past smoothly, and they accepted that. No one thought to make friends.
Picking up the book again and pushing her glasses back up her nose, Jemima continued to read.
She set off on a fine spring afternoon along the cart road that leads over the hill. She was wearing a shawl and a poke bonnet. When she reached the top of the hill, she saw a wood in the distance. She thought that it looked a safe quiet spot.
Like where I’m sitting now, Jemima thought, amused. A secluded spot in the trees, half a mile walk from home, on a soft bed of leaves surrounded by flowers and a soft, green dappled light. She savoured the fresh breeze on her face and the sound of birdsong for a moment. Beautiful, she decided.
Jemima Puddle-duck was not much in the habit of flying. She ran downhill a few yards flapping her shawl, and then she jumped off into the air. She flew beautifully when she had got a good start.
For a second time, Jemima laid down her book. Just the thought of open skies and free flying birds made her want to stand on the cliffs by the sea and look out over the huge expanse of water, that looked endless. Freedom….
Jemima stood, and folded up the blanket she had been sitting on. She put it in her denim rucksack with the book and a packet of un-eaten crisps and an apple. There were some roses in there too, that she was going to give to her mum for her birthday.
It was about an hours walk to the sea from where she was in the woods. It really was a lovely day, and there were people out walking dogs or for picnics. Dandelions blew on the breeze, and water splashed through sparkling streams.
When Jemima reached the shoreline, she turned to the right and continued along the coast until she reached a small outcrop, shaded by trees with soft green grass. There were no picnickers here, however, because where the outcrop ended, it plummeted vertically down into what was usually a stormy grey sea, a seething mass of waves that scared off people.
Jemima strode right to the edge, and the bright sun prompted her to don her latest pair of sunglasses. She surveyed the sea lovingly. It was a beautiful blue today, more like the sea in hot, exotic places rather than in Cornwall. The surface was smooth and flat like a polished table, and the breezes inland seemed to have all died down.
The unique smell of the ocean tingled in her nose, and she rose onto her tiptoes, and flung her arms out to her sides as she embraced the pure freshness, the freedom of the ocean.