Tree Leaves

            A sudden wind gust blew Evan’s shirt above his belly.  He fidgeted a bit from the cool and adjusted his sun glasses.  Leaves again bloomed from sturdy branches, livening up the landscape as they do each spring in Cosica.

            Stretching, Evan caught the bark of a low hanging branch and swung off of the ground.  His body rocked in and out and in and out of the slowing wind gusts.  The sun was finally beginning to sneak its rays from behind the unending clouds above.

            The thoughts in his head never ceased to amaze others.  At 18, he was still learning the affect he could have on not only his peers, but adults.  Swinging forward he landed solidly like the gold medalists he had watched in the most recent Olympics.  He remembered clapping when the American women received their silver medallions.  His father clasped his hands on Evan’s shoulder and told him, “Son, never applaud second.”

            When he arrived back home, his taste buds were awakened by the scent of apple pie just removed from the oven.

            “Is that you Evan?”  his mother called.  She called spoiling her only son a necessity of motherhood.

            “Who else would it be,” he replied, “a burglar?”  As he entered the kitchen, he removed his black beanie and placed it on the dinner table.

            “Is it cool enough for that hat out there still?”

            “I told you, I use it to block the sun.”

            She returned, “But you have such beautiful hair.”  She thought he was insecure about his hair for no reason other than he “hid” it behind cloth.  Fool’s fashion she thought.  She continued, “One day you’ll have a wife and a job that won’t let you wear that silly thing all day.  When’s the last time you cleaned it anyway?  Here, let me put it in the wash.”

            Evan, unaffected by his mother’s small talk, plowed face first into the apple pie she had planted on the table.  Mid-chew he spoke up in a monstrous voice, “If this were a pie eating contest,” he paused to swallow, “I’d beat everybody in my weight class hands down.  Hey maw, you got something to chase this down with?”

            Speaking of chasers, she could use a drink.  “There’s milk in the fridge, you’re a big boy, get it yourself,” she said while wondering if her husband would be working late tonight.

            “I’m having a girlfriend over tonight maw.  It’s just Betha, so no big deal.” said Evan.

            “When you learn to ask, maybe I’ll learn to say yes.”

            Betha had thus far been a bad influence on Evan, but like he says I make my own decisions, or sometimes I can think for myself.

They were friends more so than anything else, but every girl is a girlfriend, whether they were aware or not.

 

“You remember when you smoked your first joint?” Betha said in a whimsical voice.

“It was with you,” Evan replied, “it was ok I guess.”

“You looked so goofy.  And remember you kept coughing for like thirty seconds!  I thought you were about to die, you – couldn’t – breathe!”  She said animatedly while puffing out laughter between words.

“Shut it.”  Evan looked out into the distance as the two enjoyed the view from their favorite tree, two blocks from Betha’s house.  Betha was always the faster climber and could scale to a height of twenty-five feet before Evan could climb halfway to her.  He methodically made his way up and would sit right next to her.

They looked like two, brown-skinned black birds.  Soon though, the tree would fill and they would have to find a new kick-it-spot for the warmer months.

“Carmen wants me to be her boyfriend.”

“So,” snapped Betha, “why don’t you?”

“I don’t know, I might still, but I thought you should know first.”

“She’s a hoe.  And you are too, fool.”

“What are you talking about?” questioned Evan.

“I just thought you should know,” Betha said while dismounting from the branch and climbing down the limbs toward the earth.  “You’re a loser,” her voice carried in Evan’s ear like an echo.

His fingers stroked his beanie, sliming along the intricately woven patterns.  To Evan’s credit, he knew how to end a relationship.

 

– Eric McCarty (5/1/2012)

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