Within society, I’ve always been the awkward redundant fringe dweller. The outlying presence, just craving and desperately desiring some form of positive recognition. Why was I forced to be this polluted version of myself? The sky bleed fingers of orange as the sun crept over the horizon, glinting streaks of light reflecting of my stark white skin. The dirt around me was rich and plentiful, earthy flecks shimmering across the vast brown expanse. I slowly picked up a handful of soil and began longingly massaging it into my arms, praying that my pores would devour the dark tinge whole, concealing my unseemly mutation.
I don’t remember the first time I truly felt different. Maybe it was when I was excluded from all the games, my watery pink eyes looking on as the other children squealed with delight as they dodged in and out of the swinging gangly rope. Maybe it was when I saw everyone, including my own kin looking on, disappointment and pity radiating from them. Since then, I never really attempted to be accepted, I knew my prospects. I concluded that any pursuit of approval would be futile, and yet again I would be forced to deal with the harsh and grim reality of rejection.
I sat in the shade of the oak, with its dense foliage unique aroma circling my nostrils. I truly was a solitary person, however this extreme lack of social interaction made my existence feel superficial. Why was I even here? Watching the other children’s hectic lives whorl past, while mine seemed to be stuck at an eternal halt? I spent many days in the shade of that perfectly crafted gnarly wood structure, preventing my highly oversensitive skin from burning. I would lie there until late into the night, watching as the clouds hung oppressively low, shrouding the moon in their black drapes. This was the time I liked best, with only natures music to disturb my thoughts.
As the days turned into weeks which turned into months, I began to routinely clamber up my tree and perch on the highest spindly branches, straining my eyes to observe the other children playing soccer. I was intrigued by how the players craftily manoeuvred the ball around their opposition, before swiftly kicking it between the sticks, scoring a goal. The star player was blatantly obvious. Joshua was his name and he dominated the playing field, twisting and dodging every challenge that crossed his path. The game was intensifying, and Joshua possessed the ball, a sheer sense of strength and determination radiating from his lean frame. His foot made contact with the scruffy ball, and it soared through the crisp air, flying through the goals, causing the crowd to erupt into wonky grins and resounding applause. As his exhilarated team mates sprinted towards him, cheering and patting him on the back, he looked up. He looked up into the spindly branches of the oak tree, grinned, and winked.
My heart was pounding, shockwaves reverberating through my body. I was stunned into silence, my body frozen in a state of bewilderment. I was not used to attention, the sheer depth of the vast emotions within me was overwhelming. The minute hairs on the back of my neck sprung to life…