Father Knows Best This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 28, 2010
“If you fall and die, I’m not cleaning it up!” The words were caustic, but I could hear the worry lurking beneath. I looked down through the orange and yellow leaves on the tree; I could barely see my dad.

“Gee, thanks, Dad! I guess I have to make doubly sure I don’t fall then,” I yelled.

“Elizabeth, get down. You already have a broken wrist from falling off a slide! Now you’re climbing a tree?”

I glanced at the bright lime-green cast on my left wrist. True, I had fallen off a slide. But that was because I was playing tag, I thought in annoyance.

Trying to strengthen my position with logic, I replied, “I know I fell off a slide, but since I’m in a tree, do you really think now is the best time to start yelling at me?” I rolled my eyes – obviously he hadn’t thought of that.

“Elizabeth, I’m serious. Come down before I have to take you to the hospital. If that happens, you won’t be able to do anything for a month! No playing at the park, no Mario Kart, and no new movies.”

The last was said smugly, because he knew the threat of losing my movie privileges would get me to do just about anything, even homework. I laughed at the irony. I was going to be punished if he had to take me to the hospital.

“I’m nearly at the top! Give me two more minutes,” I whined.

Almost there, almost there! my daredevil brain urged, willing me to accept the repercussions that would accompany my ascent to victory.

“Get down now, or I’ll-”

He never finished his newly-conceived threat; at that moment, three hairy spiders crawled across my hand. I screamed and let go.

I could feel twigs jabbing me in places that weren’t meant to be jabbed. Bark came loose as I tried to grab onto something to stop my fall. It felt like I had been falling for an eternity before I finally latched onto a thick branch.

As I tried to get my bearings, I heard my dad calling my name. To calm him, I yelled, “I’m all right. I’m okay! Just a little stunned.”

I could practically feel the relief coming off of him. When I caught my breath, I slowly made my way down to my worried yet angry dad. I was two feet from the ground when the bark underneath my shoe slid from the tree, taking my footing with it. I slipped and landed on the leaf-covered ground in a heap.

My eyes were closed, but I sensed my dad hovering over me. As I recovered from my adrenaline rush, I said sarcastically, “Gee, that was fun.”

“If you can joke about it,” my dad sighed, “I know you aren’t hurt.”

“I would’ve told you if I had been.” I paused. “Maybe … I mean that whole comment about no movies might’ve made me stay quiet.”

I chuckled a little at his groan. I knew I was ­annoying him, but I couldn’t help it. Bugging my dad was something not many people tried because they were intimidated by his size. Making fun of a six-foot-seven Native American can seem a little ­suicidal.

As my dad hovered, complaining that he had tried to tell me climbing the tree was a bad idea, my brother Anon walked by and looked down at me. He laughed a little and said, “You tried to climb the tree again, didn’t you?”

I nodded at him, and the world spun. “Yeah, Anon, I did. I nearly made it to the top, too,” I said proudly.

He looked up at the tree and back at me; I still ­hadn’t moved from the ground. “You tried your best, and you failed miserably,” he said with a smirk. “The lesson is never try,” he whispered, taunting me as only a brother knows how.

Smiling at the sound of my father’s slap across his head, I stared up at the sky and thought, Fathers usually know best.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

AlizaO This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm

This is a wonderful piece of writing.  Funny, exciting, and all around entertaining.  Keep it up!


SilverSnowflakes said...
Sept. 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm
I'm really tired and when you fell off the tree I thought you were going to say that he never managed to finish his threat because you died, and then I remembered that it was a memoir, and you couldn't have written it if you had died. *relief* good job though!
Muffy said...
May 5, 2010 at 8:30 am
This is a really great piece. I loved the humor in it, you're an amazingly talented writer. Keep it up!
6'jean said...
Apr. 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm
What a fun very well-written story! I chuckled several times while enjoying it... this may be young author Elizabeth White's FIRST published work, but certainly not her last! 
rosebud said...
Apr. 28, 2010 at 9:21 pm
Great work!!! Congrats!
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