When we lived in our old house, my parents invited visiting friends to eat lunch with us after church.
They were a married couple, middle-aged with college-aged children, and overweight, breathing heavily as they made their way up our front steps. They talked and laughed loudly, and the woman wore too much perfume, the sickly sweet kind.
I watched from behind the bars of the banister as my parents put vegetables in the crock pot and opened a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider.
Deciding to be friendly, I went up to the woman. “I want to show you something!” I took her by the hand as she laughed loudly, to the backyard, where we had a plum tree with bark that was crackling off bit by bit.
The highest branch reached a little over five feet off the ground. I climbed up into the tree, but didn’t get past four feet when she frowned at me.
“Get down from there,” she said in a thick accent. “It’s not safe.”
I paused and looked at her, feeling branches reach past my hair to scratch my scalp, the baubles of sap pressing into my legs. I didn’t say anything, and I jumped down roughly with a thump, just to spite her. We went back inside.
I played with my Legos as they talked on and on for hours. They were too loud, and they really were fat.