(Note that Emily was 12 years old when she wrote this story.)
I reached up to grab the first moist branch. It was slippery but I managed to hoist myself up onto it. The wind was blowing rapidly and the tree was rocking back in forth but I didn't care. I could already feel the exhilaration as I started my dangerous journey.
The rain started up harder and I could feel the weight of just the few drops. I reached the part of the tree that had only a few branches and it was a challenge. I smiled at the thought of a challenge. I loved challenges. It was the only exciting part of life. Finally, I reached my destination. I looked to the north where the view of Aromas usually took my breath away; the land and hills were covered in light quilts of fog. All I could see was the soft sway of the old palm tree in my neighbors yard and I admired that for a few seconds.
I looked toward the west, which was the only other view from that angle, and it turned out to be the breathtaking one. Prunedale is full of hills and as I looked out at the hills beyond, they looked beautiful. The lush foresty land was the only thing the sun was shining on. Through the thickets of the fog, the sun emerged and lit up the holy hills. The effect was so amazing that I stared at it for a few minutes before I realized my eyes were burning. This is the only thing to live for, I thought, natural beauty. Giant drops of cold rain fell onto my face and the wind made the tree sway but I held on. I took deep breaths and imagined that my life was perfect. Then, I thought about everything on my mind. I took deep considerations on some things and imagined things on others. I closed my eyes and imagined that I absorbed drops of rain and rays of sunlight.
"Why are you in a tree?"
I looked down and saw Dylan. He looked curious and thoughtful. He usually looked humorous and lively. I never imagined that he had a sensitive side but when I saw his expression I felt that he might actually be similar to me. That amazed me because no one was like me. I didn't answer him. I just stared at the hills again.
"Why are you hugging the tree?" he asked. It was a stupid question because I was holding the tree but I didn't correct him.
"Maybe I'm scared of heights?" I answered sarcastically.
He laughed. It wasn't an obnoxious laugh but a sweet laugh. "You? Scared? You're not scared of anything. You're perfect."
I groaned. I was definitely not perfect. Everyone thought I was perfect just because that's what I appeared to be. I shook my head. "No one is perfect. Surely not me at least," I explained.
"So, what are you doing?" he asked getting serious again.
"Thinking, realizing, absorbing, changing" I replied.
"About what? Why did you climb the tree in this hard dangerous weather?" he asked curiously.
I breathed deeply. "You must not fight the wind, but you must not let it push you off the branch. You just need to hold on and wait for the breeze to go away." I grabbed a dead stick and started breaking it into pieces. As a new piece formed, I threw it down near Dylan. He just stared as I dropped each twig. "Has anyone ever gotten you mad?" He nodded uncomfortably. I then realized what he was thinking about. I wished I hadn't brought it up. "You cannot fight off that person. You cannot hold a grudge on that person. You cannot hurt that person back." I breathed again and continued. "But you cannot dwell on what that person did. You cannot let that person ruin your life. You cannot let that person hurt you." He nodded.
"What happens if you can't stop it from pushing you off?" he asked in a low voice.
"Then hopefully a friend is there to catch you" I said staring in his icy blue eyes that looked like two pools of water. "Do you understand?" I asked hopefully. I dropped the last piece of the stick. He took a step forward, reached his hands out and caught the tiny twig. He stared at the twig for a few seconds and then looked up at me.
"Yes," he answered and walked to his house cradling the tiny stick. About a minute after he left, the storm cleared up and the sun shined brightly on my face. My face shined brightly back to the sun.