She saw her sitting in the orchard under an apple tree. The child was sitting with her back against the medium sized stem, her knees drawn to her chest. She had both her arms wrapped around her knees and her chin was leaning on her legs. As she walked closer she saw that her brows were frowning. ‘A five-year-old should not be this unhappy,’ she thought to herself.
“Hey there,” she called out to her, letting the child know her presence. “Why are you here? You should be having fun with the other children,” she said to her and she moved closer, hoping not to alarm the girl.
“I hate them!” The girl said, her frown deepening even more.
“That is a bit harsh, are you sure you know them that well?” the woman said as she sat down next to the girl. She plucked a stem of grass and twiddled with it in her hands.
“You’re the actress, aren’t you?” the girl said, cocking her head towards the tall, slender woman.
“Yes, I am,” Eva said. “I am the actress, Eva is my name.”
“Why should I talk to you? I don’t know you. My Mom said never to talk to strangers,” the girl said defiantly.
“That is very wise advice. Your Mom is obviously a very clever woman. But you know, sometimes it is good to talk to a stranger. Sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger about your problems than to do so with somebody you know.” Eva looked at the little girl. “I hope you have realised that I am not going to kidnap you or hurt you. Look at all the people on the veranda; they can all see us. You are safe.” And Eva looked away from the girl again, giving her time to process the situation.
“They call me Ginny,” the girl finally said.
“Nice to meet you, Ginny,” Eva replied.
“My name is actually Georgia, but everybody calls me Ginny, because of my ginger hair.” Ginny made a heavy sigh. Eva looked at the girl and understood what the problem was.
“You have beautiful red locks, I must say,” she said with admiration and twirled a finger through one of Ginny’s locks.
“I hate it!” Ginny said angrily as she pulled her head away from Eva and her lock out of Eva’s hand. “They call me all sorts of names for it; carrot top, Fanta head, fire beacon, and, worst of all, ginger nut.” Ginny put her chin on her knees again. A tear was rolling from her eye.
“I hope you know they’re just jealous. Even I am jealous! Such beautiful red hair, I always wished I had red hair,” and she made an extra heavy sigh whilst looking into the distance. She could feel Ginny’s eyes on her. “Beautiful red locks flowing in the wind, making my skin look extra pale and beautiful… I would be an even more famous actress if I had red hair!” she smiled at Ginny.
“You think so?” Ginny asked, looking uncertain.
“I know so! My agent even asked me to dye my hair red one day!” Eva said.
“Did you?” the girl asked wide-eyed.
“I tried, but my hair didn’t want to take the dye. It is very hard to become a red-head, you know. Not everyone can do it. That’s why it’s so special.”
Ginny put her chin on her knees again, but this time she was looking intrigued. Being aware that she had accomplished her task, Eva took her earrings out and gave them to Ginny.
“Here,” she said, “why don’t you show your friends these. They are made from real fossils which lived millions of years ago.”
The girl was astounded and gasped at the earrings in her hand. “Thanks!” she said as she jumped up and ran to her friends. Eva smiled and after she saw the girl being the centre of attention of her friends she got up and walked back to the house.
“I see you have managed to cheer up Ginny,” Eva’s host Michael said. He handed Eva a glass of champagne and they both looked at the group of youngsters.
“Yes, I told her I always wanted to have red hair and that people who call red-head names are just jealous people,” Eva explained.
Michael looked at Eva and frowned. “You really want to be a red-head?” he asked.
“Over my dead body!” Eva whispered over her glass and took another sip before turning around and walking away.
Copyrighted by Jacky Dahlhaus