|She was a young teen, full of promise, excited with the world, a free thinker, as she thought so herself. She grew up with a mother, whose religious beliefs became a daily reminder, to her. She loved her mother but as she became older she realized her mother did not love her.
"Don't climb a tree, Jessica."
"No, Mom, I will not climb a tree."
Off she went, running toward the mountain, where her friends were waiting for her.
It was the mountain she learned to love, just about 500 feet high, and there were pathways that lead up to the top. She and her friends climb the mountain as often as they can, during school holidays.
"Well, finally, you got here." Echoed her friends as she approached them.
"Sorry, guys, but I woke up a bit late."
"Shall we start our climb now?" Lita said, her best friend among the three girls. The other two were Jo and Ana. They were all in the same grade at school.
"Let's!" Jessica led the way. The others followed behind her.
"What are we going to do today?" Lita came abreast with Jessica.
"Actually, I wanted to climb that grape tree that we found yesterday."
"Oh, no, but your Mom did forbid you to climb a tree." Lita was aghast.
"Yes, you must not disobey your Mom, Jess." Jo put in as she followed close to Jessica and Lita.
"I don't want your Mom to scold me if anything happens to you when you climb a tree." Ana echoed as she mentally counted her steps.
"Okay, okay, I hear you all. I will not climb a tree today." Jessica laughed out.
"Here we are. That didn't take us long to get to the top today, eh?" Jessica panted. She found a tree branch and sat on it. The other three found their dead branches, and exhaled loudly.
Jessica looked up and gasped.
"Look at those bunches of grapes up that tree. Bunches of them, and they look like they're ready to be eaten."
"Please, don't do it, please." Lita went white.
"You're not going to, are you, Jess?" Jo and Ana got off their branch and stared at Jessica.
Jessica just laughed, ran to the seven-foot tree, and began to climb it. Lita ran after her and grabbed at her right leg. Jo and Ana followed and grabbed at her left leg.
"Let go of me, you brutes." Jessica laughed as she slid off the tree.
Lita, Jo and Ana let go as they all fell to the ground.
"Well, don't blame me if you cannot have those bunches of grapes. Just look at them. They are ready to be eaten." Jessica got off the grass and started to walk away from the tree.
"We brought some drinks and some sandwiches, just in case we get hungry." Lita said.
"That's right, here, you can have some peanut butter sandwich." Ana took out a sandwich from her bag.
"Thanks, Ana, but I'm not hungry with a sandwich. I really would like to have some of those grapes."
"Please, Jess, don't climb the tree." Lita pleaded.
"We don't want you to get hurt if you fall. That is quite a high tree." Jo said.
"Please, Jess, try not to look at that tree. Why don't we find a better place to eat our picnic?" Lita suggested.
"Yes, why don't we? Look at that mango tree up there. It is shady, and probably we can reach up to pluck some of those mangoes that are just hanging low to the ground. We don't need to climb that tree." Jo added.
"All right, all right." Jessica agreed as she began to walk toward the mango tree.
The other three clapped their hands as they followed Jessica.