By Eliyana Abraham

“Timmy, I bet you couldn’t climb it!”

“He can, but he won’t!”

“He’ll fall. He’ll get hurt!”

“Or he’ll break the branches,” Sophia looked at him, “Don’t break the branches, it’s so pretty.”

Timmy agreed, the tree was bright with autumnal oranges and yellows. Mixed with the smiling pumpkins and atmospheric lights framing each of the houses on the street, it was a perfect harvest picture.

“I’ll climb it. I don’t even care. I’ll be fine.” Timmy said.

A chorus of whatever and be careful and geez erupted among the children.

The tree faced down at Timmy, staring at him and beckoning.

Timmy first placed his palm flat against the tree’s full trunk. The bark felt rough beneath his sweaty hand. He was nervous, however he was determined to keep his cool, so not to wimp out before his friends.

He stunted his foot upon the lowest branch and propelled himself up. And again, and again, and once more after that, until he had reached the top of the wiltering tree, knocking down frail, corn-colored leaves as he rustled in the branches.

Down below, Sophia, Trevor, Bobby, Annie, and Jack all stared up in awe at him. Timmy could barely decipher their smiles from where he rested. He flashed back a gappy grin of his own, each tooth bearing stains from leftover Halloween sweets.

Reassured by Timmy’s success, the other children began to make their ways up the tree. Jack clambered up and sat upon a smooth branch a few levels below Timmy’s. Sophia tried to scale up the trunk, but after a few attempts, the cuts on her hands made her devise a new plan. Trevor and Bobby sat together on a low branch holding hands, while Annie resided at the bottom, leaning against the trunk and chuckling with Trevor at something Bobby said.

Meanwhile, Timmy had climbed up even higher. He could see the tops of all the other trees around him; they looked to him like they were covered in rust, each branch encased in thick layers of rust. Timmy thought maybe it was because of the rain. He remembered that in summer, his bicycle would occasionally become covered in orange dusty rust if he’d accidentally left it outside in the storm. Yes, the trees were rusty, and perhaps the pumpkins he saw below were really something else, just rusty. Maybe watermelons. The pumpkins were rusty watermelons and the leaves were rusty, too, and later when Mama got sad because the weather was getting colder and the green leaves were going, Timmy could remind her that the trees were just like his bicycle.

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