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The Boy In The Tree
"Jules, this seems like a reasonable place for a picnic," Katie, my best friend cooed. Her voice was so clear on the almost-fall afternoon. The sky was a rich blue, and the cotton clouds drifted along as the light breeze settled in on us. We set the old quilt down on the ground and plopped the picnic basket on top of it.
"This afternoon is perfect," I said, sighing with a relaxing tone. It was more than perfect; it was gorgeous. "Look at it."
Katie looked up from the sandwich she was concocting. It consisted of balogna, rice, spicy mustard, green tomatoes, dill pickles, (old, although she didn't know) mayo, and seed-encrusted bread I don't know where she got. "It's okay." She said simply.
"Just okay? Look at this!" I prodded, sitting myself down reluctantly. All I wanted to do was stand and look at the view from the top of Lorraine Hill, the best sledding hill in our small town. I took off my Sperrys and placed them gently on the quilt.
"Jules. You're a writer. And photographer. You notice everything and make it beautiful," Katie said, almost sadly. I doubt she wanted me to hear, but under her breath I heard, "I wish I could."
Looking down at my Canon Rebel draped around my neck, I silently agreed. I had a knack for that. Making things beautiful.
A few green leaves fell from the yet-to-"orange-ify" tree above us. Katie and I simuntaniously looked up.
"Weird. The green leaves are falling off instead of the orange ones." Katie said, holding the interesting sandwich to her chapped lips. "Like a parallel universe or something."
"What if?..." I began.
"Don't start," Katie said playfully, but I knew she meant it. I bet if I were friends with a person like me, I'd get sick of "what-ifs" and daydreaming.
Again, green leaves fell.
"A squirrel maybe?" Guessed Katie.
"A monster?" I added. She rolled her eyes.
Katie bit into her concotion and her face turned sour. "Uhg, I knew I forgot something." She turned to me. "I forgot the apples. I can't eat this sandwich without the apple slices between the balogna and green tomatoes. Would it bother you if I went back, just to get them?"
Inside, I did care. But she'd be ticked if her sandwich didn't have everything it needed. "Yeah, sure. Just hurry."
She ran down the hill, leaving her disgusting creation on the blanket. It smelled really, really bad. Against my common sense, I pulled off a portion of it and placed it on my innocent tongue.
Suddenly I spat it out, tasting the mixture of every weird thing she put in it. Just then, more green leaves dropped.
"Okay," I murmured quietly, "I'm checking this out." I propped myself up and stood, stretching as I put on my Sperrys.
The tree shook, and with each step my fear grew. Raccoons? In the day time? Nah.
Suddenly the head of a guy, probably my age, swung down and smiled at me.
I screamed and jumped back, scared to death.
"Hey, chill," he said in a calm and collected voice. He flipped around a branch and down to the green grass. He wore bootcuts and a green polo that matched the grass' shade. His Pumas were scratched and dirty, showing the ware-and-tear they had been through. A thousand stories lay behind them, probably. He had tired but kind greyish-green eyes, and strawberry blonde hair that swept against his face on one side and away from it on the other.
"Stalker," I hissed to him.
"Nah. I was just up in the tree when you guys came. Thought it might be weird to have me climb down in the middle of your meal there." He said, smiling and showing his straight smile.
"Well great job doing it discreetly," I said sarcastically, fiddling with the key in my pocket.
I stared into his eyes for a second. Just a second. But he had me, and I was hooked.
"Have I seen you before?" I asked. I had to know.
"Yeah. Same school." He seemed to have known me. Scary, in a cute way. His dark eyebrows tilted to show an innocent side to him.
"Really?" I slid my index finger across the ridges in the key.
"Yeah. I'm Kevin, but I happen to forget your name."
"I never told you it," I said coldly.
"Yeah, but we're in the same school. I've known it before!" Secretly, I was flattered.
"That's right. And your friend--Kathryn, right?"
"Kati--" I began. But I realized it didn't matter--Kathryn was fine too. "Never mind. Yeah, it's Kathryn."
After some discussion about how some people spelled "Kathryn", we ended up on the blanket together, eating some sandwiches we'd made.
"So you like cheese in your sandwiches?" I asked, out of things to say.
He didn't seem to notice. "Yeah, I'm a cheese kind of guy." His smile never ceased to amaze me.
"I hate it. In sandwiches anyways." Great. I'd just shown disinterest in the sandwiches he liked!
"My mom's like that. Except she hates cheese in gener--" Kevin's eyes caught the gaze of Katie's reeking meal. "What is THAT?"
"Uhg. I know, it reeks!" I spat, still smiling to show I'm not always pestimistic.
However, before I knew it, he'd scarfed down the sandwich and was still alive. "Wow, that's my kind of sandwich!" he said, satisfied.
He glanced at his phone--the modern watch. "Oh, I gotta run."
I frowned. "Really? No..."
He seemed to see my frown. "Jules, I hope I can see you again."
I stared into his grey-green eyes once more. "Yeah. Me too."
He got up, stood there a minute staring at me. It looked like he was about to say something else. His mouth formed the words, "Good bye", but they never left it. He scampered down the hill, and soon came Katie.
My eyeswere glazed over. Why was I so sad he was gone?
Katie frowned and looked at her Styrofoam plate.
"Where's my sandwich?" she asked.
I smiled and stared down the hill. She'd never know.