I reach up grabbing a thick, rough branch and pull my body up into the concealment of leaves. I set my foot down on the branch beneath my hand, scaling the tree as fast as I can, not caring that my clothes are tearing, wanting the branches to rip my skin, to leave scarlet red pools of blood, to inflict the pain. I want the pain. I deserve it, I deserve all the pain in the world.
My mind whirls in chaos. Thoughts keep bubbling up, every time I try to push them down trying not think about them, but they won’t stop. The more I try the more they come back. I try focusing on climbing but I can’t. It won’t help, not today. Too many thoughts clog my mind.
The leaves became a blur around me, tears roll down my face blurring my sight, It’s so hard to see but I don’t care. Whatever happens to me I deserve. My heart thuds, it is the only noise that I can hear through my thoughts. I climb to its rhythm. My mind is an out of control animal, with the my thoughts only of the fight. I keep climbing trying to escape my mind but I can’t climb fast enough. I am running out of room to climb. The top just an arms length away. I don’t want to stop, I want to keep climbing until my thought are forgotten, but I know if I climb any higher I will fall.
I peek my head out through the branches just enough to see Parker running past. A wave of anger, pain, and sorrow hit me. I want to scream at him and me and at everything else for just being here. I am so confused, mad and miserable. I don’t know whether to be mad at him or myself. I want him to see me and comfort me and say he’s sorry and didn’t mean it but I also want to scream at him for being such a F***ing idiot, for bringing what I was doing back to Hannah. He knows how I feel, yet he used it against me. I can’t believe him.
With no way to escape my mind I let my thoughts take over. Letting myself be dragged into the past.
* * * * * * * * *
The clean cut grass shone bright as Parker and I had chased each other around the lawn. The small yard melted into a thick mass of trees, acting as a fence keeping us in. We ran to the edge of the forest pretending that the dragon was lurking in the shadows of trees. I was a fairy and Parker was a knight we were on an adventure to find the dragon. We were still barely over 5, and our minds still full of magic. We had found the dragon just as my mom had called us in telling Parker to go home. I whispered to him and we both started laughing. My mom came out saying
“what's so funny?” We turned and ran. My mom yelled at us telling us to come back but we kept running. We kept running at first just to get away from my mom so we could keep playing, but soon it turned into a game. Parker would run away, hide and then I would have to find him. We switched off and on until we collapsed into a pile laughing. I looked up and remembered seeing a small river with trees the size of giants towering over us. We played by the river for hours, climbing the trees, splashing in the river, playing hide and seek, and talking about fairies and superheroes and whatever else we could think of. The sun had began to set, the red golden light looked like a painting in the sky. We sat at the top of a tree watching the sunset like it was a cartoon show. As soon as the sun set though, it began to get really cold and dark. We realized we didn’t know which way was home. We couldn’t see a thing, we wandered around freezing cold and tripping and falling over logs and bushes trying to find our way home. I had tripped, but Parker had not realized I had fell continued walking. We got separated and began wandering around yelling each others names, sobbing. My whole body had been numb from cold, my tears stained my cheeks, my voice was hoarse from yelling and I was so tired from playing all day. At one point I had tripped over a fallen tree and being just too exhausted didn’t get up. I lay there sobbing, and whimpering and soon I rocked to sleep by my moans. Letting my dreams come and sweep me away to a better place.
I had waken up to sunlight streaming through the trees, and birds chirping. My eyes were still blurry from sleep and my eyes wandered around the strange sight to wake up to. I had been so confused, but with a sudden jolt I had remembered what I had been doing there. I had began sobbing. My clothes were ripped, and I had been covered in scratches. My hair was so tangled with pine needles, and dirt throughout it. I wandered around looking for Parker, my Mom, or home, whichever came first. After another morning of wandering around aimlessly I had collapsed near a giant tree. The tree had gave me a little comfort, but I had been so terrified, hungry and thirsty. I stayed there crying until I fell asleep again. During that time a police officer had found me. When I woke up I was asleep in my bed with my Mom holding me.
* * * * * * * * *
The air was thick and stuffy, the hum of an air conditioner buzzed in the background, my heart thudded loudly, it raced because I was so nervous and excited. My hand had gripped my mom soft delicate but strong hand, our hands were sweaty from the heat, but we both gripped each others hand so tight. My other hand held Parker’s hand, our hands fit each others. They were both small pink slightly pudgy hands. We walked down a hall that had been so huge at a time, that now seemed small. Parents, and children around my age walked through the halls. Parents held their children's hands hugging, kissing and taking pictures to put in photo albums they would later look at when they old grandparents and say to their grandchildren, pointing to the picture this was me on my first day of school. Parker and I talked about what we thought the teacher would be like. If she would be a really mean nasty old lady, that was really a witch or a kind teacher that was hiding from her evil step mother. We laughed at each scenario. We got to the classroom door. Inside was very cheery looking with bright lights and color everywhere. The rug was bright red, and tables with children filled the room. Just then a young women wearing a sundress came over and introduced herself
“Hi, I’m Miss. Smith, what’s your names?”
With that we came in too our first day of school.
* * * * * * * * *
I had layed in bed burning hot, but frozen as an icicle, I shivered under the thick covers. My lips were slightly purplish, and my head felt like it had been hit by a train. I could barely move my head let alone the rest of my body because it ached so bad. I was miserable until my mom came in saying
“ Parker came to see you.” I looked up at her, you could clearly tell she was worried. I smiled and Parker walked in He smiled and said
“Vivie are you okay? I brought you a card. can we still play?” His hair had stuck up randomly, dirt smeared his face He had just been in the woods I could tell.
“I don’t feel very good but we can play in here.” He walked over to my bed and jumped on. He pulled out little figures made from twigs and leaves and we played with them. He was the only thing that kept me from being miserable during the week I had the flu. He would come every day bringing new toys made in the forest. We would sit and play with the toys until Parker was sent home.
* * * * * * * * *
It had been a normal night, Parker and I were watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets for the fifth time. We sat on the couch eating pizza, nestled inside a thousand blankets and pillows, our eyes glued to the tv it was as if it was the first time we had seen this movie. Harry Potter had just found Mr. Fitch’s cat when Parkers Mom, Robin came in.
“Mom! Move you're blocking the tv.” Parker yelled. She was dancing around the room singing “You're gonna have a sister, I’m gonna have a daughter, pack your things were going to New york City! Come on! Me and you are going to get your sister. Hurry and pack. We leave tomorrow morning.” I jumped up and yelled “Parker you're getting a sister! We can play with her and show her the fort.” Parker jumped up and ran up the stars to pack while yelling “can we get her now?”
“No honey not now, the orphanage is closed right now.” but we will leave first thing tomorrow.” That was when we found out about Hannah.
* * * * * * * * *
I remember all the nights we ate dinner in front of the tv watching our favorite movies. It would be at Parker and Hannah’s house because they had the basement all to themselves with a flat screen tv and xbox. My mom would cook me some bizarre dinner that tasted gross but then I would go next door and their mom would stuff me with pizza and soda. We would sit in the cozy basement and play videogames and watch movies, talking about everything and nothing. On school nights Parker and Hannah would come to my house and we would play and when we were older, study. My mom would make us peppermint tea and we would go to the sunroom that faced the woods and sit in chairs that were stuffed with pillows and blankets and study. When there was no homework to do we would go into the woods and explore.
We would explore the folds and pockets of the forest, roaming the woods and climbing trees, but we always ended up at our hideaway. The way the river sparkled and the trees loomed over the clearing somehow had drawn us back ever since the night Parker and I had gotten lost. Over the years we had built a treehouse on the same tree we had climbed the day we had gotten lost to watch the sunset. Inside it held blankets, pillows, books, and chocolate. When we had finished the treehouse, we stopped studying at my house and spent our time there. It became our little area whenever we wanted to escape from life. It felt like it was part of another world where we could be who ever we wanted. Inside the treehouse our age melted away, we became little children again without a care in the world. Beneath, in the clearing was we would play games that required more space than what the treehouse could offer. One hot summer day when we were still in middle school we had tied a rope to a branch making a makeshift swing, where during the summer we would swing out over the river and jump in. We would swim and splash in the river. Nobody had ever seen the area except me, Hannah, and Parker. We always went there even as we grew older and our friend circle grew, we never showed anyone else this spot.
The first year of highschool was when our first real fight had began. We had fights before but they passed over within a day. Hannah and I had became best friends with this guy named August. We spent most of our time together that year. Parker hadn’t ever liked him. He thought August would get us in trouble. We always just laughed at him and said are you scared of a little adventure. We hadn’t thought we would get in trouble. He had just been so adventurous, so interesting.
It had been that year when Hannah and I had decided to show August the clearing. But when Parker found out that we were going to show August the clearing he went crazy. He had always been so cool and easygoing but this just, got under his skin. He had never been that mad before. He yelled
“I can’t believe you even considered showing him. And of all people, why him. Why do you guys have to be friends with him? He’s too careless, he breaks the rules all the time. He’s going to get you in trouble and you want him to see the clearing, the treehouse where we have spent all our lives playing, where so many memories have taken place, where we swore no one but the three of us would ever see.” He stormed out after that and wouldn’t talk us for days until we finally agreed not to show August the clearing.
* * * * * * * * *
A knocking came at the window. I had thrown down the covers and ran to the window and opened it. It had been hard to make out the figure in the pitch black, but the warm glow from inside cast just enough light to catch the features of the figure. It was August. He had asked us to go bridge jumping. Parker who hated August refused, but I had jumped at the chance. Hannah , oh sweet Hannah was stuck in the middle, she didn’t know if she should go or not, but in the end I had convinced her of going, practically dragging her outside. We had drove down the road a bit to a place where the river passed beneath, from there we had gotten out and walked along the river until we reached a train bridge. When we had finally climbed to the top and gotten on the bridge, Hannah was about to run back to the safety of the woods but I held on to her keeping her from leaving. August had jumped first, before I even reached the middle. I was next. With a leap I was in the air and next thing I knew the frigid water enveloped me. When I came up and saw Hannah still on the bridge I yelled at her, trying to get her to jump. She just stood there. That’s when I realized I could actually see her. Soft yellow light illuminated her face. It hadn’t been right. I knew something was wrong, you can’t see into the dark, by the time I had put the two together, it was too late the train was already there.
The pain and sorrow was hard to bear. It felt like being stabbed over and over again, with each piercing pain the dull hard sorrow built up inside me until the piercing no longer felt like piercing because the blunt, dull sorrow had grown to great. Parker and I stayed in his room looking at pictures and telling stories, sobbing and hugging each other. We wouldn’t move, not at night, not for dinner, lunch, or breakfast. Our crying would rock us to sleep at night, we would sleep sitting, leaning against each and the wall for support. The wall’s freezing cold, rough surface reminded me of the pain, kept me from forgetting the sorrow. We refused move. It felt like the sun had died plunging us into utter darkness. Hannah who had lived with us for 7 years, who had been the best sister and the best friend to us both was gone. Lost to another world, and it was all my fault.
* * * * * * * * *
A tapping woke my from my thoughts. I turn my head ever so slightly. Parker sitting next to me, balancing on the tips of the tree like a bird while I curl myself into the tree. We are two opposites at the moment, him full of courage and an air of grace, me scared, tired , and crumpled. We sit there for several seconds just staring at each other not saying a word, each of us too deep in thought. Our breaths the only noise in the woods that is usually so full of joy, now seems intimidating and dark.
“Viv- Vivie im sorry I didn’t mean what I said. Please listen to me. Hann-Hannah was never your fault. I don’t know why I would say something like that; I don’t know what came over me. Please I would never think it was your fault, not in a million years.” his voice had cracked midway through, he no longer looked strong and courageous, instead he looked crumpled and dead. His face had turned red and blotchy from where the tears had rolled down. I looked just as bad. We were no longer opposites, we were the same. Two crumpled, sad, full of regret little birds waiting for the cat to pounce.
My eyes stay focused on him even though his features blur from the tears that stream in rivers down my face flooding my thoughts. The tears roll down my face and I stare at him, wanting to forgive him but not wanting to. I fight inside, the two sides clashing in war until finally one side too weak and weary gives in and I hug him like I will never let go, allowing my sobs to be muffled by his thick sweater. Just as sweater muffles my sobs it muffles the emotions that whirl inside me so I can almost forget why I had been so mad at him just moments before.