Prompt: Trees


During the sweet frog summer of 1984 things got complicated for me.  I was nine years old and truly, miserably in love.  His name was Geoffrey, my neighbor 3 houses down, and 10 years later he would grow up to a legend of jacking cars, tapping just about every other girl in his class, and being semi-literate and halfway bald.  But, at nine years old, the only thing that mattered was his sweet blue eyes.  I look back now and think about how we almost had it all, true love without any of the trappings of romance or marriage, something pure.  I didn’t deal back then in the trade of racial consciousness, class warfare.  Naw, back then, it was me, Geoff, and a timeless tale of unrequited longing.
My sister and I were swinging around in the backyard tree wearing tees and our oshkosh trousers, lost in the handiwork of our bare hands and wild legs.  She was a mature maple, sitting with a certain airy grace and lengthy limbs near the side of our front yard.  Autumn would shake her leaves down to the annoyance of raking, littering the world with orange and mahoghany.  From my perch, up in the tree, I’d use it to spy on passerbys, the crown of the tree framing me, a silhouette, unnoticeable unless you chose to look up.  Every single person in the block would pass by our tree.  And we’d sit there, munching on apples.  One time, I saw Geoffrey.  His mom was grabbing him by the elbow, dragging him through the street.  He was screaming wordlessly, and his eyes were bottomed out with pain.  He looked at me, and from my perch, I remember falling down.  Big blue eyes.  I wondered then why eyes like those haunted me.

I remembered the crunch of Maple leaves when I saw Geoffrey 10 years later, smoking a cigarette, dark circles under his eyes, hunched over and staring through me, a lump of coal in my throat as I wondered what he would say.

    “Hey, Kid, you want some shit?”  His voice was raspy.
I wanted to say something.  I nodded because I was shy, and us Asianz didn’t talk to whites on the block now.  People had moved out, so we didn’t have to be close together.  Like back then.
He looked at me, as if he was going to say something.
A maple tree shed some leaves.
I understood that frog summer something about families.  They screw you up, and you never get better.
Geoffrey listened to me say yes, and then he couldn’t do it anymore.  He saw me nod, but I think some part of him chose not to listen.
“I always knew you were better than that.”  That’s what I imagine him saying.
But instead, he scrunched up the hood of his sweatshirt, and he loped away, gracefully, like a foreign animal.
I watched him until he grew smaller and smaller in the distance.
Life seems so sweet, from the perch of a tree.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Sabalones
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 05:37:17

    Gorgeous. I saw everything.



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