Theresa Awkward

David JoliffeTheresa Awkward
By David Joliffe

Once, there were 2 trees in a huge forest, ELMo and OAKley. During the summer, both trees were lush, green and big. Over the years while they were growing up they saw all the other trees losing their leaves and re-growing them, losing their leaves and re-growing them every single year.

One year when they were old enough, Oakley said to Elmo “I’m not going to lose my leaves when it’s cold… I’m going to wear my leaves proudly like a winter coat just like the Fir family over there”. Elmo laughed thinking that Oakley was just fantasising again like he always does.

When Autumn came, Elmo’s leaves turned yellow, then slightly orange, then a reddy brown, turned dry and crisp and then fell at the foot of the tree just like all the other trees. The forest floor looked like a painter’s workshop of colour… all except in one patch of the forest. At the foot of Oakley! His leaves were still bright green and all his branches were lush and full. He had done what he said he was going to and kept all of his leaves! Oakley laughed. “I told you I was going to keep all the leaves… look how skinny and bare the rest of you are, HA HA HA!”

Everything was going well for Oakley at the beginning of winter. The grass stopped growing in preparation, the temperature started slowly dropping and the dark night started creeping over the horizon earlier and earlier. Oakley was still laughing. He was stood there proud and tall and still green. When it started to get to mid winter the temperature got to its lowest point. The rain, wind and snow set in thick and heavy yet Oakley still refused to let go of his leaves.

The cold freezing rain battered the trees in the forest. Oakley braved the rain and kept hold of all of his leaves. He had little icicles hanging from his branches where the rain had frozen and they looked like tiny fairy lights in the moonlight. As pretty as they looked, the icicles were heavy. They made the branches bow a little towards the end but Oakley still stood strong. The rest of the trees just stood there and allowed the rain to roll off their bare empty branches. They didn’t have a care in the world! Elmo tried to convince Oakley to see some sense and let go of his leaves. “Let the leaves go and the rain will wash off in no time… you’re just keeping hold of the freezing rain with all those leaves Oakley”. But Oakley didn’t listen. Oakley refused to let go of his leaves.

After the rain, the winds came. The wind was fast, freezing and forceful, travelling as if it was late for a dentist appointment. The wind howled and whistled through all the trees… until it got to Oakley… When the wind got to Oakley it was as if the wind was made of Velcro trying to pull every leaf from Oakley’s branches. Oakley resisted though. He made sure he kept every single leaf on those branches. Elmo said “Come on Oakley, just let the leaves go! The wind would pass on by like you wasn’t even there if it wasn’t for those leaves!” Oakley snapped “Mind your own business Elmo… I’ll keep all these leaves even if it kills me!!” So Elmo let him get on with it.

After the wind, the snow came… This was a bad year for the snow. It came in thick and heavy in one relentless white curtain covering all the trees. The rest of the trees had snow covering their feet and covering the bits of branches that they had. Oakley stood still, slightly drooped over with the weight of the snow over his canopy of leaves. He looked like one massive white cloud hovering on a tiny brown stick in the forest. Elmo said “Oakley! You have to lose the leaves and then you’ll be able to stand up straight again!”. Oakley didn’t respond… The weight was too much for him to be able to try to stand AND talk. He concentrated on keeping all of his leaves just like the Fir family… No matter what…

After months of the constant battles with the winter, the temperature finally got warmer, the green grass started to grow again and wake up in the morning covered in dew, the days became longer and the trees began to grow their leaves again. As Elmo began to turn green again from his tiny leaf sprouts Oakley wheezed “See… I told you I could keep my leaves” and slowly the leaves began to fall, floating and twisting to the ground around Oakley’s feet. As the other trees got greener, Oakley got browner. In trying to keep his leaves, Oakley had exhausted himself.

The following winter, when the temperature dropped, and the wind, rain and snow set in… Oakley lost his leaves along with the rest of the forest…