Emily knows best.
Emily lived in her own pre-Raphaelite world, totally apart from other humans, serenely content.
In summer she would cavort naked through the wildflower meadows, tendrils of her red wavy tresses trailing in the warm breeze like fingers of fire. Adorning herself with daisy chains she would sit cross-legged on the grass immersed in the buzzing activity of insects; a gigantic queen overseeing the industry of her subjects – the bees collecting nectar and pollen, the ants herding their aphids, the long-legged, spindly daddy longlegs, the bugs, beetles and flies, scuttling and feeding. She made herself small, slipping down an invisible microscope, falling into their world; a great metropolis of activity; a busy complex latticework of commerce and exchange, completely losing herself. Short hours would pass as Emily absorbed herself in the miracles unfolding before her.
Sometimes she lay on her stomach, engrossed within this miniscule universe, feeling the rays of the hot sun piercing her skin, jiggling the molecules, warming her spirit, charging her batteries with its golden electricity, turning her nut brown. Then, when the warmth became too much, she would drag herself away, rush to the brook and slide into the deliciously cool waters of the rock pool among the trees, hold out handfuls of sparkly water and allow them to stream in diamond drops from her fingers as they fell back through the dappled air into the stream.
Emily watched with dismay as the poor butterfly became trapped in the spider’s web, felt its terror and the desperation of its efforts as it tried to free itself. Tears stung her eyes. But she also felt the great need of the spider consumed by hunger. It broke her heart but she made no attempt to free the distressed creature and save it from its horrendous fate, intuitively understanding the way nature worked.
In winter, safe within the soft warm cocoon of her rich brocade and sensuous velvet, she would shut her eyes and turn her face to the cruel north wind and delight as its icy fingers pricked her nose and numbed her cheeks. Emily would lift her chin and smile as the jabs of a thousand tiny swords of driven rain tingled on her skin. Every sensation was there to be savoured. Nothing was wasted.
The other children teased her unmercifully, calling her dappy, pinching, kicking and punching her, but no matter the torment, Emily did not react. She endured without so much as a whimper.
Her teachers and parents despaired of her. They could not engage her with their lessons or entreaties. She stared blankly at books and responded like an automaton as they enticed and cajoled. They called in experts who declared her in need of medication and cited great tomes as they pronounced long Latin names to describe her condition.
Emily cared not a jot. Everything in her world was alive with colour, beauty and meaning. She understood it all and knew exactly how she fitted into the jig-saw puzzle of its amazing flow.