Out for Publication... but here's the beginning of the story...
I shivered despite the sunlight that filtered through the canopy of the trees. I was stretched out on a limb as wide as my waist, my feet crossed at the ankles as if I sat on a chaise instead of in the crook of a tree fifteen feet above a trampled path running through the wood. I had sat in this spot so many times in the last two years that the bark was smooth both under me and behind my back. A book filled with Shakespeare’s sonnets lay open on my lap but I wasn’t really reading. I had memorized most of the lyrical text some time ago and instead, I was enjoying the sound of the breeze as it shook the limbs around me and created a swishing symphony in the shadows of the leaves that shushed against each other.
Up here, I could swear the songs of the birds were crisper, their calls louder and lasting longer, perhaps amplified by the hardness of the branches instead of swallowed up by foliage, but it was probably just my imagination at work. My imagination often got me into trouble though at this height, there were few tribulations that concerned me. Falling asleep and plummeting to the ground below was about the worst that could happen and sleeping at this time was the furthest thought from my mind.
I checked my watch. Two minutes. Timeliness was next to godliness in my book. Not the book in my lap, but the book of my life, and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. The hum of a motorcycle at least a full mile away reached my ears and I smiled. Right on time.
I could picture each turn and hillock through the woods by the drop and whine of the engine and I could smell the sweet scent of gasoline as it roared to a stop below my tree. The driver, dressed in padded clothing and a shiny black helmet, switched off the motor and it immediately started to cool off and tick.
He leaned back against the tree and reached into his shirt, extracting a book. I couldn’t read what it was but I knew it wouldn’t matter. He always read aloud and he always explained why he was going to read whatever he had on his agenda. Today was no exception.
“Hi, Lee-Lee. How was your day?”
I wished for the millionth time that my name was Leah. I wished he was asking me. I would have bared my soul to him. I would have told him how I thought about him all day, how I lost patience watching the hands on the clock at school, how I ran through the woods so that I would be here in time to watch him shake his hair out when he took his helmet off as he was doing right now.
“I’m fine, Matthew.” I whispered so softly not even the wind would hear.
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