It was the first day of college after I had taken a year off to tend to my dad, who died a short week ago of cancer. Mom was killed in a car accident seven years ago leaving only dad and me. I, like most people, was nervous being from the northern state of Vermont and coming to the southern town of Titisville, FL. I had heard so much about the coastline of Florida that I had to see it for myself.
I was standing in front of the small mirror in the dorm room where I was cooped up with a young girl named Betty Harrold; a rather nice looking girl with short blonde hair and hazel eyes. Funny thing though, she was only about 5’3″, chubby, and had the best attitude I had ever known. I was pulling my long brown hair up off my neck when the door flew open and Betty rushed in. Whirling in like the wind in a black shorts outfit she stopped next me.
Staring at me in the mirror in a panting moan she said, “You have gotta hurry up and see this.”
Loving her southern accent I asked, “Can it wait?”
Giggling she replied, “Oh no. It’s a must see right away.” Laughing she pulled me by the hand toward the door.
Sliding across the floor in the flat shoes I said with a laugh, “Let me get my jacket first.” I pulled my hand free in a rush toward the bed where I let the red sweater.
Pulling it over my shoulders I glanced in the mirror and the sight looking back was a young causation girl with brown hair and eyes. Adjusting my pants belts I hurried out the door with Betty. Laughing, we made our way out to the front lawn where a group of people were standing around the huge oak tree.
Stopping behind a young black man Betty whispered, “It’s up there.” She pointed up at the overhead limbs. Shading my eyes I looked through the limbs until I found a grey puppy sitting on one of the limbs.
Astound I said, “How the…” Letting it go from there I faced Betty who was white with fear.
“How do you think it got up there?”
Before she could answer someone yelled from the crowd, “Is there anyone here that climb this tree?”
Betty looked at me and said, “Didn’t you say you were the best tree-climber in the town you came from?”
She cut me off at the passe when she said, “Pull them shoes off and get up there.” Facing the crowd she yelled, “I think there is someone over here.”
Stuttering I said, “No, no…I can’t.” But it was to no avail when a young man plowed with black hair through the crowd toward us.
Feeling the blush cross over me, I faced the ground covering my face with both hands. I had not tree-climbed in years and it was at least ten feet to where the pup was.
“Can you do it?” The man said stopping next to me. Looking up I faced a man with dark eyes with a half moon scar on his cheek.
Sighing I replied, “I’m not sure. It’s been years mister.”
Placing a hand on my shoulder he said, “At least try, will ya?”
“Yeah,” Betty agreed. Shaking my head for yes I sit down, pulled off the slick shoes, and wiggled my toes.
Taking the offered hand from the man I got to my feet and faced the onlookers. Brushing my rear with my hands I walked toward the tree and placed my hands on the trunk. Looking up I heard the pup whine for the first time. When I grabbed that trunk, it was like I was still climbing trees at the age of 10. I wiggled my way out on the limb to the pup and took him my chest. Looking down at the crowd I asked, “Okay, who is catching?”
“I will,” the man said standing at the trunk with both hands outstretched.
I sort of liked the guy so I asked, “First of all, what is your name mister?”
I watched the smile cross his lips when he replied, “They call me Mr Timothy Randall. Teacher Randall to you ma’am.” Instantly I felt the embarrassment and apologized if I had been out of place.
Accepting the apology, I leaned over as far as possible and dropped the pup. In fear I had missed I closed my eyes until I heard the crowd roar with excitement. Opening my eyes I found the pup in the arms of Timothy. Relieved I quickly climbed down and was awarded with thanks from the crowd. Later that day after class Betty and Mr Randall found me in the courtyard to tell me that what I had done was one of the most daring things that a girl could have done. Mr Randall, being of the botany department, asked if I would like to join him and his class on a hike the following week to do some climbing. Of course me being a nature lover, I agreed.
After all the worries I put into arriving in town that year, I finally made the grade for a northern girl from Vermont.
- Finding Me In Spite of Myself (amibeingcatty.wordpress.com)
- Grade ALL THE THINGS (eng1131fairytales.wordpress.com)