She wasn’t trespassing. Sadly, these houses were no longer homes. The smell of damp plaster wasn’t pleasant nor was gashing her knees as she clambered over the debris, but to a London child, a bombsite was an adventure playground. The war had taken many things but never a child’s imagination.
Running home, she couldn’t wait to immerse herself in warm soapy water. Mum would have the tin bath ready, in front of the fire.
She’d heard the shrieks as she’d climbed the stairs to the three rooms her family occupied in the dilapidated old house. She’d never seen her parents so excited.
Spotting her in the doorway, they’d grabbed her hands, swirling her around.
“We’re moving to a brand-new town!” her mum exclaimed. “Our very own house!”
It was a lovely little terraced house… with a bathroom! A pretty garden at the back, complete with an apple tree. Overnight, her concrete playground had transformed into nature’s own.
But it was on a tree-lined street, while walking to school, that the true beauty of nature was revealed to her. And it took her breath away.
The cloudless blue sky was ablaze with an infusion of pink and the sweetest aroma filled the air. What was once an ordinary street had suddenly become wonderland. She wanted to reach up and grasp a piece of cherry heaven but the blossoms were too perfect to touch.
They reminded her of the words of a popular song.
It’s Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White
When Your True Lover Comes Your Way
And she imagined a time when she’d meet her true love and, on their wedding day, she’d adorn her hair with apple blossom and carry a cherry blossom bouquet.
But the joys of life are fleeting and a few short weeks later, reminiscent of a snowflake flurry, she watched the delicate petals begin to fall. Spring would give way to summer, autumn and winter before the cherry tree would bloom again. Until then, a cloudless blue sky and a glimpse of cherry heaven would be hers alone. Such is a child’s imagination.