“I wish I could dance under a bright light for all the world to see,” she said.
“You know you can’t do that. You were born to the lower branch of life,” he said softly.
“But I wish to be twirled, the way a drifting cobweb traps, then delicately holds and sways wind-blown leaves. There’s beauty in that.”
“That cannot be,” he said, “for you were born into a lower class of life.”
“I would just like to dance, like the higher class.”
“They would only see you for what you are.”
“I don’t want to change what class I was born into, I just want to experience the dance.”
“It would be difficult to leave this low caste system to become a dancing queen,” he said.
She hung her head low and refused to look the others of her class in the eye.
Spring came and went.
“Birds have more freedom than I,” she thought. “Even they are considered of a higher class.”
“You must drink, this summer heat will scorch you alive,” her friend said.
“I refuse,” she said.
When dehydration finally prevailed, she fell and hit the ground. The lack of water, the hard hit, and the sun beating down sent a strange euphoria through her limbs. Before she could enjoy this new sensation, a gang of teenagers on skateboards began to pass.
“This is how the skateboard move is done,” said one kid and kicked her as he passed. All his friends cheered and laughed.
It was until evening that she had enough strength to move. She let the wind do the majority of the work. It pushed her this way and that way. And she noticed, the more she let go of all those comments about being born into the lower class of life, the lighter she felt.
She began to do somersaults through the streets and improvised pirouettes with anyone passing by. She never felt so free. She felt like a dancing queen. Some brushed her off, others pretended not to see her at all.
For the first time she touched the soil that gave her life and decided to lie down on a soft lawn of a stranger’s home. She fell fast asleep staring up at the stars. As daylight approached, she allowed her back to soak up the morning dew around her. She let ants crawl on her and passing dogs sniff her. Those of the higher branches of life looked down on her and shook their heads that she had wasted her youth. They figured she had gone mad.
The caretaker of the lawn approached and batted her with his broom, pushing her out into the street, as if she was useless garbage.
She spent the new day alone in a corner, until a mighty wind shook her skin and forced her out. She decided not to go with the wind, but to ride the wind.
“Take me wherever,” she commanded.
A few nights later, her friend was still in his same old spot, reminding others of their lower level of life. Then he thought he saw her out of the corner of his eye. He stretched his neck to see if it was her. And indeed, it was. A long web twirled her, delicately held her and swayed her. She glowed under the moonlight. She looked like a dancing queen. She had done it: she was experiencing the dance of life while staying true to exactly what she was, a simple leaf.
He just stared at her. It was all that he could do, as he, too, was only just a leaf, living his life on a lower branch of a Japanese Maple tree.
She was right, there was beauty in watching cobwebs gently trap, hold and sway a wind-blown leaf.