From what she had seen of lockdown so far, Lucy didn't think it was that bad really. She was getting to spend a lot more time with her mum and dad. Her mum worked in an insurance firm (very boring) and her dad was a CEO of something or other. Their jobs meant they worked often and late and dinner was usually absent of one of them. Because of these well paid jobs though, Lucy wanted for nothing. A comfortable life with a lovely big home and frankly too many toys.
The weather for the last few weeks had been tantalisingly lovely. Lucy's mum often complained about this.
"Honestly, before we were all stuck inside, rain! Rain everyday, non stop, and now! Just look at it Lucy!"
Lucy would smile in lieu of agreeing. She wondered why on earth a woman that on most days spent a hour on a packed train, eight more in a stuffy office staring at a computer and then another hour on a similarly packed train home would really think that rain made any difference to her at all. Lucy had seen that office once last summer when her dad had been away and her mum couldn't find anyone to look after her. She had no choice but to bring her into work with her. Lucy heard her mum begging her boss on the phone that morning, promising it would only be this once. He had agreed and Lucy had got to see where her mum spent the vast majority of her life. The place was so dull it made the train journey seem thrilling but the people there were nice, if a bit overwhelming. They had all crowded around her and acted like they had never seen a seven year old before.
Contrary to her mum's annoyance at the sun. Lucy felt it was the best timed weather ever. She spent as much of her day as she could in their pristinely landscaped back garden. It wasn't the biggest garden in the world but she had enough space to run around with her dad and to lay on the beautifully soft springy grass. She even started to bring her toys out to play with. Her dad did get annoyed when she forgot to bring them back in when she got distracted elsewhere though.
It had been about a week since the stay at home order when Lucy ran happily into the garden to find a bright blue ball right in the middle of the lawn. Scooping it up she looked around at the high fences surrounding the garden. Where on earth had this come from? Lucy threw the ball as high in the air as she could, and let it hit the ground. With a small 'thwack' the ball squashed against the cushiony grass and bounced back up. 'Brilliant!' she thought and was about to do it again when suddenly, from the other side of the fence on her right, she heard something. Stopping dead and looking towards a large leafy bush with red flowers she heard it again.
"Hey! You there, with the ball".
Lucy hesitated, thinking she was going mad. Was the bush talking to her? Slowly and cautiously she crept towards it. Pushing through the vines she caught sight of a pair of eyes looking back at her. She yelled and jumped backwards dropping the ball in fright.
"Lucy, is that you?" The voice spoke again. "It's me, Sam".
"Sam? What are you doing in the bush?"
"I'm not in the bush silly. I'm behind it, on the other side of the fence. There's a hole".
Lucy tentatively searched through the bush until she caught sight of the eyes again. On closer inspection, she saw that he was telling the truth. Behind the bush was a small gap in the fence that looked like it had been hacked and pulled at, and behind that hole was Sam's face peering thought the gap. Lucy knew Sam from around the neighborhood but she had no idea he lived next door. Occasionally their parents stopped to talk to each other about the weather and gossip about people they didn't like. Lucy and Sam would generally avoid each other though. Lucy thought Sam was stuck up and boastful and Sam thought Lucy was childish and had too much energy.
"Sam did you make this hole?" Lucy asked wondering not only how, but why he would. The gap definitely wasn't big enough for either of them to get through.
"No, I just found it. I think it was maybe a fox or something. Anyway. Can I have my ball back please".
It was a command not a question and immediately Sam's tone annoyed Lucy. Shelving her surprise at the hole, and the novelty of seeing someone who wasn't her parents for the first time in a week Lucy grabbed the ball and wiggled backwards out of the bush. Boys acted like this all the time and Lucy didn't like it. They acted like they were in charge just because they were boys. Who cares if it was his ball. It was in her garden now and he couldn't get it, so there.
"Too bad, It's mine now!" Lucy yelled as she ran around the garden throwing the ball around and laughing.
"No fair!" Sam yelled back. "I'll tell my dad, he will make you give it back, you can't just keep it you silly girl".
Hearing Sam get annoyed made Lucy happy. Silly was she? She would show him. Sam continued to yell, powerless, frustrated shouting that soon drew adult attention.
Lucy's dad was the first one to arrive. walking down the steps he approached Lucy who knew exactly how this was about to play out. Adults were so disgustingly moral.
"Lucy, where did you get that?"
Lucy could hear that Sam's dad had arrived on the other side of the fence too.
"Dad she's got my ball. It went over the fence, she won't give it back".
Sam whined innocently. That kind of sickly, sucking up tone boys use just before getting their own way then sticking their tongue out at you. Lucy couldn't stand it. She scooped up the ball and ran to the other end of the garden.
"Hey Matt, How's it going?"
Sam's dad spotted Lucy's dad over the fence and waved.
"Alright Tom, I think Lucy might have Sam's ball here". Sam's dad leaned over the fence and spotted Lucy sitting at the other end of the garden protectively hugging the ball.
"Ah yeah, that's his, must have gone over the fence".
Lucy's dad approached her. She knew it was useless to run away from him, she would probably get in trouble if she didn't give it back but she was determined to keep it as long as possible. She couldn't stop thinking about Sam's stupid gloating face as she attempted to stop her dad removing the ball from her grip. There was no fight to be had and he carried it back across the garden, Lucy at his heels.
'But dad, it was in our garden, finders keepers!"
As he tossed the ball back over the fence Lucy tramped back into the house moodily and jumped on the sofa, curling up in a sulk. After her dad had finished talking over the fence he came back in and joined her on the sofa.
"Aww I'm sorry honey, But that wasn't yours. You have loads of toys here to play with though, how about later we take a walk around the block and we can play fetch".
Lucy perked up at the words 'walk' and 'fetch'. She wagged her tail and rolled over to let her dad scratch her belly. This wasn't such a bad day after all.