I sat on the chair opposite my daughter, Eliza, a closed book in one hand and a drawing of my daughters in the other. She’d just spent the last twenty minutes drawing it and had just given it to me, it was well done given the fact she was only six. I studied the paper, quickly realising it was the park down the road that she’d decided to draw, a dusty orange ground with a lonely swing set in the middle of it. There wasn’t much else to draw with that park in mind, I smiled and passed it back to her before learning back on my chair again.
“How is it daddy?” Eliza questioned, leaning forwards towards me anxiously.
“Well if it’s meant to be the park down the road then we’ve got an artist in this house!” I laughed.
Eliza beamed and let a toothy grin onto her face. She looked at the picture herself for a little while, glaring at it intently as though trying to find something that wasn’t there. Then she looked up above my head, before turning her gaze back to her picture.
“That looks like the same park daddy!” she told me matter of factly as she pointed above me.
I sighed and lifted myself from my chair, walking over to where Eliza sat and turned to look at the painting that had so quickly captured my daughters attention. It was an extremely old painting, a family heirloom that was painted by my grandfathers mothers father. I’d never noticed it before but it did look remarkably similar to Eliza’s favourite park now that she mentioned it. It was almost unrecognisable compared to its current state, there were dozens of kids there and they were all out in the daylight, the ground was coated in tiny green plants and there was even a tree to the right of the swing set which provided shade from the sun for a woman who sat beneath it reading a book. It seemed almost fictional, if I hadn’t paid attention in history I probably would have thought of it as being so. The park now was just red dust with a swing set in the middle of it. There were never any kids there either, you could stay there all night and sometimes maybe one kid might turn up but usually it was far to hot for anyone to want to be outside at all.
“What’s this daddy?” she asked, climbing on my chair and pointing to the tree in the painting.
“That’s a tree sweetheart, they have huge clusters of them up where they can shelter them from the sun. They make fresh air for us I think.” I told her.
“Whoa” she said mouth agape, as she stared at the tree in the picture “That’s awesome!”
“They used to be all over the place.” I told her as she climbed down from my chair “But when the ozone layer gave way the sun killed most of them off, it’s hard to grow them now.”
“Let’s go to the park right now dad!” Eliza said excitedly and ran over to me.
“Can’t right now, not until night, you know that Eliza” I said to her “We can go later tonight”
“But the kids in that picture are in the sun.” Eliza said, evidently disappointed “Why can’t we?”
“The sun was a lot weaker back then, it’s dangerous now.” I told her “Why not draw some more?”
Eliza dragged herself back to her papers and crayons and began drawing while pouting. I looked at the painting for a few minutes before sinking back down into my chair. What a world that’d be to live in, I opened my book up but just as I turned to my page Eliza came back over with a new drawing. Unlike the last one most of this sheet of paper was still blank. It was completely white save for one lonesome object situated in the middle of it.
“How’s this daddy?” she asked me.
I looked at it and smiled “It’s a beautifully drawn tree Eliza. The real thing probably looks exactly like it.”