by Sidney D.
A snapshot from my early childhood
|I am sure the day was hot, but we never seemed to feel it. Now, I can’t stand outside in June for more than 10 minutes. Then, I languished when the streetlamp came on and we had to go inside. The day in question was unquestionably mid-summer, when the days were long and we were too young to relish it properly. I don't remember the act of Jessica losing her footing and falling, of her cutting a long backwards J across her chest. J for Jessica she would say.
I remember right before. I remember her trying to prove that she was as strong and un-girly as I was. We had conquered all the available trees in my backyard by that time in my youth, but not this one. This one had been struck and felled by lightning sometime before we moved into that cookie cutter house on Laurel Oaks Lane. However, it did not land on its side to begin its slow rot and decay, instead it propped against some nearby living trees at a 70 degree angle. Jessica didn’t know it was dead. She merely thought it grew crooked and, in her foolishness, resolved to climb it.
I remember after, rushing her home before the adrenaline from the fall wore off and she began to realize her pain. I remember Jessica proudly showing off the fading mark of it, calmly saying, “It's gonna scar.” It didn't, it was gone by the time a softball left her hand and collided with my face at the end of the summer. It's odd that I can't remember her mother's reaction to the injury. She probably knew better than us that it was nothing more than a scratch, but she must have been furious that we had been attempting to climb that old dead thing to begin with. Not a week later my dad took to the backyard with a chainsaw and dismantled the thing, along with several others that he determined dead or dying. I was so mad. I still don’t know if he was caught in the euphoria of chainsaw usage, or if the trees he cut were really diseased. I argued that, “they still have green leaves and aren’t even leaking bright orange goo like the one over there, wait, no, don’t cut down that one its too much fun to climb and anyways the one Jessica fell off of was stuck by lighting not killed by an invisible tree disease you seem to think is killing these ones!” But they were cut down anyways and my backyard was cleared and fresh. Half my kingdom was taken from me and it didn’t even scar.