“Tag! Your it!” a neighbor boy yelped as he slapped my arm. I proceed by running at my body’s top speed to catch up with my brother. Running threw our yard held many obstacles; jumping over branches, running thru un-manicured grass, whizzing in and out of the trees, just to name a few.
“Gotcha!” I proclaimed as I successfully tagged my brother while he struggled to make his way thru the tall grass.
“That’s not fair,” he protested, “you cheated!”
My brother did not play very well when the thought he was losing at a game. Although, these games were not really games to the neighborhood children, my siblings, and I, these games were more of an obligation to prove our abilities to one another. We would run relays up and down the loose asphalt road. We would pretend to rule a kingdom in the cluster of trees, which their habitation is the spare lot next to my house. At times, my siblings and I would acquire our mother’s kitchen utensils to dig holes. My sister and I would fill a hole with water and take some twigs from a tree to make little trees around the newly dug lake for our Barbie dolls to swim. Each day, our imaginations and the freedom provided the perfect ingredients to infinite playtime scenarios’.
Out of all of the trees, hiding spots, and the unlimited toys provided by mother nature to accompany my time with, there was one place in particular that brought a sense of tranquility.
Most of the trees in my yard were clustered together, but on one side of the yard, all by itself, stood “the” apple tree. This apple tree forked in different directions at the perfect height. I am not very tall, but I am able to stretch my body just enough for my shoe to grip the smooth trunk of the tree. I grunt as I hold my breath to pull myself to a more balanced place of the tree. As I look up, I spot the board I nailed to two of the branches; just enough space on the board to fit one person on. As I sit on my airborne chair, I take a couple moments to soak in my surroundings.
The leaves on the branches rub together as if it is natures own wind chime. “purrrtybird,” a bird sings. As the chirping and singing continues, I search the branches to see a glimpse of this “pretty bird”. I take a deep breath, feeling the cold twinge to the air fill my lungs; I blow out the air as if I am releasing all of my problems. The smell of the freshly stopped rain lingers in my nose. This is my place, this is my tree, although I have no legal ownership of this particular asset, I wanted it to be mine, forever.
A few weeks later, my brother reveled his bad day at school. How he felt that no one likes him. I thought it was time to share my special place with him. I told him he wasn’t to speak of this place to anyone, for it will be ours. As we approach the tree I see his eyes widen, his face started to glow with excitement.
“When did you do this sis?” he questioned.
“A while a go, I come here to get away from everything,” I answered with delight.
Due to there not being enough room for both of us to sit on my seat, we decided it was time to put a board up there for him as well. Since it was nice out, we didn’t think our dog would miss a couple of nails out of his house, I mean, he does have a lot of nails in his doghouse. We snuck into our stepfather’s toolbox and acquired a hammer; we also acquired a piece of wood lying lifeless under a pile of branches. It was then time to make the tree for one, a tree for two.
As time went buy, we used a branch as a pulley to pull a bright orange toy bucket up and down the tree with ease. The rope held on to the bucket while we pulled the other end. This allowed us to bring drinks and snacks up to us faster.
One day, I invited my friend Shanay to come over. Because she was my best friend, I wanted to share something that brings such great peace to me, with her. I am so excited to share my secret area with her. As we get closer to the tree her face showed no expression. I climb the tree; she looked at me as if I was crazy.
“You want me to go up there?” Shanay asked as she reluctantly stepped back.
“Come on, its fun!” I answered hoping to give her the encouragement to comply with my demand.
Shanay struggled slightly as she clinched the branches with her pale white hands. She reaches for the board where my brother usually would be occupying. At last, she took a seat upon my secret area. After a few minuets Shanay started looking bored.
“I love this place, I can get away from everyone and everything up here,” I preached as if I was trying to sell her my place.
“What’s so special about it?” Shanay questioned.
At that moment, I realized she did not see the same tranquil place as I did. She did not see what I see. She seen some boards nailed in a tree, which in no way were within safety regulations. She just seen a tree, whereas I seen a place of safety and happiness.
“Do you want to go to the park?” she questioned as her reaction to my tree sent a shiver of disappointment through my body.
“Yeah, Let me go ask my mom if we can go,” I quietly replied. I then climb out of my tree and helped Shanay down from the tree. After successfully obtaining my mother’s approval to venture off to the city park, which lay less than a block away, we quickly scurried off. As we step towards the park, I looked back to the tree. Noticing how lonely it looked I whispered,” I will see you when I get back, I promise.”