By Jemma Leech
I remember in London the winters were warm and wet. No snow or ice, just rainy gumboot-puddled walks in Brockwell Park, while the summer-packed paddling pool filled of its own accord with rainwater, autumn leaves and rainbows of crisp bags.
We disappeared in the secret garden underneath palisades of sleeping creeping clematis and wisteria, swapping the dry dark with the wet light as we trailed the paving maze to the fishpond at its heart.
Blackbirds waded in patches of newly dug earth, taking worms from the mud as an avocet might from a turning tide-bare beach. A robin called to me from the crumbling wall, saying 'spring will be here soon, believe me, believe me.' His red chest puffed out with pride as he sang me a song of love and fidelity. Flattery became him as I cried at his song, and he flew off knowing I'd believed in his truth. From the far end of the garden, I heard him begin his flirtation again with another open heart.
From the top of the hill in the park we had watched fireworks break out all across the city that Fifth of November, as if in domino from common to common. But on that Christmas Day the mist had come down, the park was an island and we were cut off from the mass of humanity beyond the mist. It was just me, my brother and sister, and our weary parents inhaling the fog like perfume on a cloud of silage steam grateful for the relief it brought from the stench of London. That mist-bound land was our kingdom that day, and I was its princess, adorned with a crown of diamond drips and drops, soon dried by the warmth of our terraced palace on Hawarden Grove.
Jemma Leech is a ten year old girl from Wales via London, who moved to Houston with her family. She wrote this essay for a contest and won, beating 1600 other kids for the grand prize.Even more amazing is that Jemma has cerebral palsy and writes on a computer with a xylophone stick.
Tomorrow I'll post her autobiography, written when she was only eight.I was feeling kind of cheated out of life today. Until I saw this little girl with her mom on the news tonight. She is the embodiment of hope. I haven't stopped smiling since I started reading about her.