I screamed and I cried. I stamped my foot. I couldn't believe it and I wanted to burst.
It was gone – the round brass plate that had my name on it. I couldn't stop crying that whole day.
Tessray. Tess Ray. "Tesserae". Mrs Kavanagh our teacher had said that was what is was called. Tiny blocks of stone, tile and glass for us to use for mosaics in the style of the ancient Greeks and Romans. We were going to cover the bollards that blocked the quiet streets where we could play from the big, busy Great Western Road with this work in our own designs. I was very excited. My design was called 'Peace and Love'. I had drawn a huge red heart and a man and a woman figure holding hands.
It was just before Christmas two years ago and Mrs Kavanagh said that my design had been selected. I was so happy and I couldn't wait to get home to tell Mum and Dad.
All the schools in our area had entered the competition. Only some were chosen and then in the week that I was going to have my birthday, Mrs Kavanagh told us that the work would begin and we would be allowed to go and help the students from the Art School who make my design on the concrete block. It was fun and it took all of the day to press the square mosaic pieces onto the soft wet, putty. The colours were bright and shiny and sparkled in the sunshine. I thought they looked like the fancy jewellery stones that I had seen in the big shops in the special diamond arcade in the town! Or maybe they glittered like the stars at night that I had seen when we went on holiday once to Portugal. Red, blue, green, white gold – when they were all carefully arranged – it all looked so beautiful. Now I thought people would see something special to remind them that they couldn't leave their cars there anymore and that this was a play area now.
Like jewels or stars fallen down on the busy street. That is what it looked like now.
Smashed and lying on the road. But the most horrid part was that the round brass plaque was no longer there. "It's gone for the money." I heard that woman from down the road say. Stolen! I wanted it. Surely if anyone was to have it – it should have been our class! My name was on it: Claire Johnston of Willowbank School.
"You're an artist now Claire." My dad had said. My whole family had been very pleased and happy. My mum said that maybe next year we could go and visit that city in Spain with a famous unfinished cathedral and houses and even park which had mosaics and was very famous for that work. It was sunny there all the time and I just new that those squares would sparkle and shine even brighter than jewels!
We had to go home now. The policeman said: "We will hunt for the thieves but brass is valuable and they sell it for cash." I cried. I just knew that the bollards would be that way now – with no plaques forever!