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Freshly Mowed Lawn
My bare feet plowed through the freshly mowed grass surrounded by a chestnut colored picket fence. My eyes peeked through the rough edges of wooden boards. I stuck my arm through and got stuck at my elbow. My fingers brushed against the moist grass and I slid back to search the ground for the spot of dirt next to the fences. I crawled over and patted the moist, brown earth. Then I curled my fingers and began to scoop out clumps of dirt. It felt cool underneath my fingernails. It gathered in the creases of my hands. The dirt grew softer as I dug deeper. I grabbed clumps of it and rubbed it on my face. It felt cool. I leaned over and fit my head through the fence, skimming the freshly dug up earth with my chin. My head emerged on the other side of the fence, and I flattened the rest of my body and slithered through.
I emerged into the field of tall grass. It tickled my knees. My hands were covered with dirt. I didn’t wipe them off on my dirt covered shorts. My feet had a brown tint. I took off; running through the soft grass. I spread my arms like a plane and ran from side to side, tilted and spinning in circles.
The field stretched on until my house became a dot on a hill. The grass became thinner until it turned into just patches dotted in dirt. The late day sun began to disappear. I found myself under a canopy of ferns, some low enough to brush my cheeks. My hand felt the rough bark. I looked up. Dozens of leaves were fluttering on branches that resembled arms coming in for a hug.
I jumped up to grab the first branch, swinging my legs up to walk up the trunk. My bare feet scraped against the bark until I swung on to the tallest branch that swayed without snapping. I perched on the top, gazing out at a shimmering green blanket.
The leaves of the tree fluttered under the wind, but the branches remained firm. I leaned my head back against the bark. On top of the tree I felt like I never had to come down. My hands folded across my chest. I would build a huge house and live up here. And I would never have to come back down. I let my eyelids close. I could stay right up here forever. The leaves turned a rich shade of green as the sun set. I heard a faint calling in the distance. I opened my eyes. I heard a call again.
I quickly scampered down, scrapings emerged on my knees and toes. My feet slid onto the cool, packed dirt with a thump. I ran back towards my house, the tiny dot growing larger. My legs leaped through the tall field of grass. I stopped at the chestnut colored fence and crawled into the ditch to slip under to the side with fresh mowed lawn.
“Bobby where have you been?” my mother called from inside the terra-cotta house surrounded by the fence. She saw me through the back window. I scampered into the house.
“Bobby, you’re filthy,” my mother glared at me.
I looked at my toes
“I was playing.”
“Where did you run off to?”
“I just ran over there,” I said, quickly pointing.
Her eyes were able to dart over to where I pointed, although I whipped my finger away.
“Why were you all the way out there?”
“I was playing.”
“Well, you better stay out of there. It’s private property.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means you’re not allowed to go there. It belongs to someone else.”
“Because somebody bought it.”
“I don’t know, some company. My god, Bobby. You’re filthy.”
My mother grabbed my wrist and lifted me up by the armpits onto the kitchen counter.
“They must like trees.”
“What?” She turned on the sink and brought my feet under the cold water.
“They like trees.”
She brought my other foot under the water and scrubbed my blackened feet with a hard-bristled brush.
Bobby gazed at his toes.
“I’m going to live in the trees when I grow up,” Bobby said.
“How are you planning on doing that?”
“I’m going to build myself a house.” Bobby twitched his toes.
“Bobby, you can’t do that,” said Bobby’s mother, grabbing his toes and continuing to scrub furiously.
“How are you going to make a living?”
Bobby just stared at his toes.
“By selling trees like that company,” Bobby answered.
Bobby’s mother sighed.
“That’s what they’re doing, right Mom?”
“Bobby, they are buying the trees to cut them down.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Because they are going to build office buildings.”
“People need to work.” She continued to scrub.
“But how could you cut down the trees?”
“Bobby. Please.” She brushed Bobby’s cleaner foot away and grabbed his other foot.
“I’m never going to work in an office building,” Bobby said.
“Bobby, can you please be quiet?”
“No. Ouch that hurts.” The bristles caught the scrapings in Bobby’s toes.
“Bobby stay still!”
“No! I’m going to go live in the trees so they don’t get cut down!”
Bobby wrestled his way from his mother’s grip and hopped down from the counter. He ran through the door onto the freshly mowed lawn.
“Bobby!” His mother yelled, “Bobby come back here!”
“But, but my tree!” I yelled back.
“There’s nothing you can do about it.”
I looked off to the forest and noticed idle bulldozers perched in between the trees. Caution tape was strung across the fields. Red PRIVATE PROPERTY signs with bold writing were nailed to dozens of trees. I stared at the ground.
“Bobby, get inside.”
I turned around and my raw scrubbed feet brushed against the freshly mowed grass. I didn’t look back.