Bella sits on the floor, staring out the window. She gazes up at the clear sun, not bothering to watch what her older sister, Rose, is doing. Bella fidgets slightly, but she doesn’t move from her spot. Jonathan enters the living room and immediately spots the difference between his daughters. His eldest daughter, ten years old, is writing in an exercise book. His youngest daughter, seven years old, is staring out the window like she has been since she got up early in the morning.
Jonathan took a deep breath and walked towards Bella. He crouched next to her and plonked himself down on the floor next to her.
‘Beautiful, isn’t it?’ Jonathan tried to engage her in conversation.
‘Daddy?’ Bella asked, looking right at him.
‘Why am I different? The others keep running round the playground, but I just want to read my book. They pick on me for it.’
‘They shouldn’t pick on you for it. It’s wrong. You’re different because if we were all the same, life would be very boring. You have different interests to them, that’s all. There’s a reason we do things a certain way, but it takes time to understand why.’
‘Is that why Rose won’t wave at me at school?’
‘She ignores me at school. Everyone stays away, but I can hear them laughing and looking at me. Am I naughty?’
‘No. They just don’t understand you yet. They’re still learning, like you are.’
Bella looked away, a little disheartened. Jonathan gently pulled her close and sat her on his lap. Both of them looked out the window, but Jonathan kept glancing at Bella, worried sick how much of a situation Bella was in and was hiding from him. He kissed her head, trying to put the worries away.