yeah...updated...finally. So I got a little wordy with the topic. Sue me.
She (think of a name) hugged the tree as she looked down at the ground far below. How did she get in the tree? Why is she there? What happens next?
Sweat soaked Janna from the tips of her shoulder-length brown hair down to the soles of her feet and the smallest of her toes, which she curled and flexed as she thought. It was a time of decisions, some hard decisions, decisions Janna thought she had made long ago--but as it turned out, her decisions were as flighty as the tiny droplet of sweat that tickled her tanned skin as they dribbled down her forehead and soaked her pink tank-top.
"Janna...Janna!" A slightly out-of-breath voice called up to her perch; a precarious perch at that, up on the biggest of the red maple's outstretched branches. Janna swung herself over, the rough bark biting into the backs of her knees as she flipped upside down to face her panting and red-faced friend.
"There you are! It figures you'd do something stupid like this, on a day as hot as today!" Dez said as he flung himself at the lowest of the maple's branches. Short as he was, he always failed to grab it, but that never stopped him trying. Janna tried to restrain her snickers as he sighed loudly and made for the trunk and the old handholds he had carved in it. He climbed with practiced ease until he slung himself over the same branch Janna had claimed.
In danger of becoming lightheaded, Janna pulled herself up and considered the way his orange tanktop clung to his still skinny frame. "Short people have it rough don't they?" Janna baited.
Dez was clinging to the branch with white fingers. Though he claimed heights didn't bother him, he had always been easy to read. He frowned over at her, "Short people only have it rough 'cause tall people have their noses stuck soooooo far up in the thin air, they forget to breathe." Dez started shuffling carefully out onto the branch, one leg hanging on either side. Janna could feel the branch bend he stopped a few feet from where she sat. "But you know what? I'll have the last laugh when we're stuck in a burning building and you die of smoke inhalation."
"I'm glad you can find humour in my death."
Dez leaned in closer. He was still slightly breathless as his dark hazel eyes bit into her own. "You know, I got in trouble from your old man!" Dez scrunched the left side of his face and put a sneer on the right side of his lips. "Boy, what'chu done with mah daughter? If she ain't home fer dinner I'll shot you dead!"
Janna rolled her eyes, "He does not talk like that, asshole."
He shrugged, "Whatever. Listen, why weren't you at the water hole this morning? You promised you'd be there." Dez threw up his hands in mock outrage, "I had to listen to the twins' whining--in stereo, no less--for two hours! Two hours! 'Don't do that, Janna does this, Janna does that. I'm thirsty, I'm hungry.' RAAA!...but it's okay now, I drowned them both" Dez finished up with a brisk nod.
"You know, even if this is hicksville, that is a crime."
"The law obviously never met dweedledumb and dweedledumber, the horrible tweens from christmas past."
"Uh huh? Sorry, I got distracted."
Dez was leaning forwards again. Usually when he was this close, Janna could always feel her heart drumming against her ribcage...sweaty clothes and humid heat was definitely a turn off. Even so, he did manage to look cute the way strand of his wet hair hung over his eyes--he was obviously too scared to take his hands away from the branch to push them away.
"Does it have something to do with that crumpled lettre in your hand?"
Janna shrugged, she had been sitting here dreading this moment all day, but now that it was here... Janna took a deep breath and tried to crack a grin. "Yup! I got accepted to that school in Boston. Full scholarship. I'm going to sail my streams, follow my dreams...or something like that."
Dez snorted his distain. "For a writer, you suck at reciting poetry. Hey, remember that time when you were reciting to the class-"
"I remember." Janna said sternly.
"And you mixed up horse with-"
"I said I remember, midget. Shut up! You were the only one who found it funny."
Dez bit his lip to keep from laughing, but he changed the topic back again. "You should be happy. Why are you moping here? We should throw a party! This is what you wanted isn't it?"
Right...this was exactly what she...wanted.
"Yeah, sorry. I'm going to Boston. I guess it's just a little overwhelming. I've never been to a big city before...and now Boston? Well, anyways" Janna forced confidence into her voice. "I said I was going to Boston, so I'm going to Boston. And I'm going to become the best damn writer on this planet, just you wait."
Dez hummed and raised one of his eyebrows. "Z'at so? You should read about Napoleon. We was pretty confident about taking over the world too, and look what happened to him when he hit the Russian winter!"
"Aside from that being a questionable anecdote, do you unconsciously quote stories about short people, or are you some sort of masochist?"
Dez's grin tightened until it looked strained. "It was a toss up between Napoleon or 'Pinky and the Brain'."
Dez lost his grin completely. "I keep forgetting why we're still friends." He shook himself before he continued, "The poem you so drastically mis-quoted, goes like this:
I'm leaving now to slay the foe-
Fight the battles, high and low.
I'm leaving, Mother, hear me go!
Please wish me luck today.
I've grown my wings, I want to fly,
Seize my victories where they lie.
I'm going, Mom, but please don't cry-
Just let me find my way.
I want to see and touch and hear,
Though there are dangers, there are fears.
I'll smile my smiles and dry my tears-
Please let me speak my say.
I'm off to find my world, my dreams,
Carve my nice, sew my seams.
Remember, as I sail my streams-
I'll love you all the way."
Janna was silent for a long while as she fought back tears. The silence stretched as a slight breath of wind picked up from the west where Janna could see the wobbly dirt road stretch for miles and miles until it vanished into the distance. She realized finally why she had come to sit in this tree. It wasn't that she particularily liked sitting on the rough branches, but she liked to remember all the good times she and Dez and other friends had had over the years in, or around the tree.
"I hope you realize I'm not going to call you mom" She said finally.
Dez stuck out his tongue in reply.
"You'll come visit right?"
"Christ, Janna, don't get all mushy about this. Here, this is why I really wanted to find you." He tentatively lifted the tanktop that was plastered to his frame and pulled an envelope out of the waistband. It was slightly soggy and crumpled, but Janna's eyes widened as she recognized the crest of the front of the envelope, she snatched it out of his hand as he wobbled on the branch unsteadily.
The words were hard to read, blurred as they were from sweat and tears, she let out a sob finally and flung her arms around Dez, and cried into his shoulder. "Why didn't you TELL me you were applying!?"
"You moron! I was worried about you. And to think you got in on a full soccer scholarship as well!? You bastard! Why didn't you tell me!"
"Janna!" Dez said again rather urgently as he lost his balanced, and they both toppled off the branch into the long grass below.
Janna refused to let him go even as she struggled to catch his breath. Dez was just moaning underneath her as he too fought for breath from the fall.
"I love you" Janna said when she regained her breath, and she planted a sweaty tear soaked kiss on his cheek.
Dez just moaned, "I think...I think I broke something."
The poem is written by Brooke Mueller, in case you're wondering.