She stares out her window. Blankly assessing the landscape. And lets her eyes trail here and there. Only seeing the blur of brown on white. Somewhat like herself, her skin as pale as the snow, and her tree brown hair cut so short it's pixie-like.
Coughing, her body violently shakes, waking her from the dreamy stupor. And after the coughs coming from the depths of her chest subside, she notices a leaf on the tree. The largest tree she's ever seen. It's seventy feet tall, and too wide for even her burly father to put his arms around.
She presses her pale features against the glass, fogging up one small window in the large Victorian house. She gets too excited it seems, for the cough starts again. It doesn't stop and her mother rushes in and pulls her out of the room. Tucks her into bed and feeds her a thick, bitter, syrupy concoction that puts her to sleep. At night the little girl dreams of the little leaf, hanging on in the depths of February.
Outside the little leaf is tugged by wind. The wind pulls at the leaf, trying to convince it that its wait for spring is futile. That it will not survive for the spring when the air will become fresh and it can grow again.
Waking up the little girl finds it's warmer, and her parents bundle her into a multitude of dresses, sweaters, jackets, coats, tights, socks, hats, and mittens. But the heavy garments don't dampen her spirits, she walks around gazing at the few birds singing and touching the naked trees.
Finally arriving at the tree, she tilts her head up and searches for the leaf. After finding it she lays her blue-mittened hands on the tree. She gets excited and starts coughing, her knees collapse and she falls against the tree.
She looks up in time to see the leaf plucked off of the tree. As if it had never been holding on, the wind pulling it this way and that. Then it floats as softly as a feather to mar the perfection of the white snow. And she silently cries in the still moments of the innocents leaf's death.
After the proper mourning period, she sobs. Tries to run back to the depths of her warm house, into her covers and parents' arms where she is safe from reality. A place where she can wait until spring for the fresh air that will cure her. Tripping over the threshold, nose red, tears freezing on her face, she slams the door closed. The exercise too much she coughs, but doesn't stop.
Her parents find her, bent over her small frame coughing. Her father picks her up and carries her to bed, and her mother feeds her the medicine. She doesn't stop coughing, even when they lay her in bed. Not when they call the doctor. Not when he lays his hand on her forehead. Not when she thinks of the leaf.
But she does stop when she sleeps. She sleeps to forget the leaf, only sees her parents' smiling faces. She stops coughing when she is pulled into the depths of a land where she isn't sick. A land where everything is so perfectly working, she doesn't even have to breathe.
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