So what you are about to read is a true story, mostly. I was struggling for ideas (as I usually am) and also being very bored and jittery. So my friend told me “hey do a short story about climbing and/or falling out of a tree” so I was like “cool I can do zat”
So I started writing this, and then I thought, “You know what I should probably actually try this out.”
The story went much differently than I first planned after I actually tried it.
So here you go, the nearly word-for-word accurate retelling of Me In A Tree Being A Coward.
The windows were open. The sun was out. The wind was a soft breeze barely rippling the grass. The air smelled like autumn, fairly tingling with energy, excitement, making anyone who breathed it crave adventure and action and the thrill of running through the woods, creating something out of the overwhelming imagination in one’s head.
I said create something out of the overwhelming imagination in one’s head.
I smack my head against the wall before going back to pacing in circles. Restless, that’s what I am. Restless and bored. I’ve a million bajillion things to do, I shouldn’t be bored. But I am and the restless boredom is fairly paralyzing. So here I am, pacing in circles in the kitchen, on the loveliest day you ever did see, filled with energy that has nowhere to go, wasting time.
Mom sighs too, but in a different tone. Frustrated. “Why don’t you do something productive? Like the laundry?”
“I’ve done WAY too much math today.”
A bird of some sort screams like a baby kitten outside, making me jump.
“Well,” Mom says, sliding past me and the trench I’m wearing in the floor, “you could go outside. Climb a tree or something.”
“Climb a tree?”
She looks up. “Uh . . . maybe not actually.”
I blow my bangs out of my eyes. Need to trim those. “What, you worried I’m gonna fall? C’mon, it’s me!”
She gives me a look.
“Right, perhaps unfortunate choice of words. It’s cool, really! I’ve never fallen out of a tree yet.” Yes, tree. Climbing. Probably closest to an adventure I’ll get. Still wasting time but hey, maybe I’ll figure out what in the world I’m doing in that stupid book while I’m up there.
I stop my pacing, tilting slightly from dizziness, and go looking for some socks. Then my tennis shoes, which for some unknown reason are in the laundry room. The soles are worn smooth, which probably isn’t great for trying to climb, but whatever. Then outside.
The breeze lifts my hair and caresses my cheek like a cool, soft hand. I grin and push the sleeves of my hoodie up to my elbows, taking off across the yard for the Climbing Tree.
It’s huge, bigger around than probably four adults could reach. It’s split down the middle so technically it’s hollow, and several of the branches are completely dead. There’s always been a swing hanging from the leftmost branch, and there’s always been part of a rusty old gardening hoe embedded in the bark on the right side. It looks a lot like the Home tree from Tinkerbell. We climb it all the time, and there’s a very specific way to do it. Wedge your foot in the crack, leverage your other foot up onto the cut-off knothole, get your foot un-wedged and up onto the side of the main branch, and from there either go up to the Y-shaped part or out onto the swing branch.
But none of us really go farther than that.
I’m gonna try.
It starts out okay. I get up to the place where all three main branches split. I’ve never noticed before that one limb from the swing branch sorta curves over the third branch and swoops down. It looks like a seat.
I don’t move for a while, considering. I could make it. Or I could slip and fall and die. Or I could make it and it’d be AWESOME.
Sitting astride the branch, I carefully edge my way up. Too scary. I turn around and push with my feet, going up backwards. Somehow less scary. Until my hand touches a piece of rope and slips.
I gasp, feeling a rush of panic go through my body. But it’s fine. I’m not falling. I look behind me. There’s a little branch on the big one that curves over, within reach of my hand. I stare at it for a minute, then carefully CAREFULLY reach for it. Slowly, I turn around. Oh gosh oh gosh if I fall I’ll hit my head and die oh gosh oh gosh.
Now comes the really terrifying bit. To get to the seat thing, I have to step over the curvy branch. Which involves standing up. On a tree branch. In completely tractionless shoes.
Why am I doing this?
I let out a deep breath, and stand up. I wobble, the most scariest wobble, but don’t fall. I straighten, and my head plunges directly into a cluster of branches. I can’t see anything but leaves, and there’s sticks all up in my hair. I try to move back but there’s another branch caught on my hoodie pocket.
I stand like that for a while, trying not to panic. Then, so slowly it’s almost worse than falling, I duck down, let go of one of the branches and unhook my pocket, then my hair, and then swing my leg over the branch. I don’t slip. Then my other leg. Still alive. I slide one foot carefully CAREFULLY down the curved branch, holding my breath. Still clutching the little branch, I lower myself onto the oddly-shaped limb and shift until I’m balanced.
Now that I can breathe, it’s peaceful. All I can see is leaves, light filtering through them and casting strange shadows on the ground. The ground . . . . oh gosh don’t look down there. Just look at the leaves, the way they sway in the breeze. The breeze that’s making the tree branches creak . . . . okay maybe I should get down.
How am I gonna get down?
Going back the way I came is . . . . no. Bad. No. But it’s not like I can jump down, I’m like twelve feet up.
Well, no, I’m not. I could probably jump down.
I look down and another wave of panic makes my stomach hurt. Nope. Just hard, packed, stick-and-pine-needle strewn dirt down there. I’d break my legs.
I wouldn’t break my legs, it’d just hurt.
Yeah, it’d hurt a lot.
But think of if I jumped down! That would be so epic! I’d be like a ninja or Fawn or something. I lean forward and immediately grip the branch again. NO.
“This is so stupid,” I say out loud. I’m not sure whether I mean my cowardice or the predicament I’ve gotten myself into.
I sit like that for what feels like half an hour, might even be nearly that long. Trying to make myself quit being scared and jump down, but nearly throwing up if I ever get close. Soon I’m shaking and sweating, terrified by the empty space between my dangling feet and the hard ground.
“I am so stupid.”
Just do it, I think, just do it and be done. But I can’t, I physically cannot make myself.
“Nope, nope, I’m done with this, aaaaaaaaaaaagh.” I pull myself up and start climbing back the way I came up, doing it fast enough that I don’t panic. While I’m standing on the cut-off knothole, I screw up what’s left of my wounded courage and jump the three or four feet down. And squawk in pain. Stupid knee, twisted last month and still messed up. I like to joke about ‘being an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow to the knee’. As one does. Good thing no one’s watching though because jumping three feet should NOT hurt.
But think how much it would hurt if I’d jumped from the branch . . . .
I walk back to the house, still shaking. As I open the door, Mom looks up.
“Did you fall?” she asks, in that voice that moms do when they think you’ve been hurt.
“Or did you let go?” my sister adds with a smirk.
I roll my eyes. “Ha, very funny. No I didn’t fall.”
Never doing that again.
And . . . . I’m really bored.
haha crazy brain go brrrr
Anyway, yeah, that’s exactly what happened, except for me talking to my mom. I made that bit up. Also I found a Japanese beetle in my hair immediately afterward and screamed.
Hope you enjoyed.