I remember those trees and all of their comfort, their aid in my rewards and the punishments that followed. Those trees did hide my discarded bad grades however; they did not bury them. A neighboring troublemaker followed me into the woods, where I rummaged through the papers to pick only the top grades, because, see, my mother gave a one dollar for every decent grade while subtracting one dollar for every bad one, eighty percent and higher, and he had discovered me. I told him not to tell and he promised he would not. I felt safe. A few months had past from and by then the stack had become a mound. I did not fret because knew that soon the leaves would fall and then the snows would come disguising it all.
The school year went on and so did I. Every couple of days I would wait for the bus to leave and for most of the children to go home and then I would head into my lot of comfort and continue making the easy dollar. That school year was a great one. I had my first intimate encounter, two years older and very well proportioned. I was ecstatic. Her name was Amelia. She came to the house everyday to visit. Mother was happy with my grades, my piggybank became hefty, which meant I could buy my first love ice cream from the truck when it came around. Things looked up and grand. Then one afternoon after arriving home from school not one half hour later there was a knock at the door. I had talked to mom and we exchanged pleasantries about our day and what I had learned and what she had done then I went to the basement to play videogames and wait for Amelia. Mom answered the door and standing there with a very large plastic garbage bin was the troublemaker.
Mom said hello. The troublemaker said hello. Mom asked, “Can I help you, David?” David said that the contents of this garbage bin belonged to her son. She looked inside of it. A garbage bin of soaking wet, dirty, leaf-filled, school papers. David explained to her what I had been doing for the past school year and for some of the last. Mom could not believe it. Had her son conned her all this time? Had her son lied? She bellowed from the top of the stairs for me to come. When I did David, the troublemaker, sneered with joy and more then happily waved his hand goodbye. I was to repay all of the money I had earned, restricted to the house for two weeks, daily chores, no Amelia or other friends allowed on the premises followed on with daily progresses reports. After all said and done, I had lost my Amelia, my first true love. One day I saw her walking in my direction. My heart stopped. I waved but she did not respond. I called her name but received nothing still. She turned left instead of going straight. It was then that I knew. The troublemaker had won. The ultimate trickery. My deceit turned against me.
Years later when I returned to the old neighborhood visiting various childhood spots and families of my youthful friends, I looked upon that lot that grew my beautiful trees and the trees and revealed my follies that lost Amelia only to it filled with condominiums. My trees were gone. I remembered what it was like to sit there and enjoy their company, and kindred spirits throwing away bad grades. Now stands houses, driveways, cars, and yards. Those trees gave me everything I needed at my time of need. What did I ever give to them? Did I ever once say thank you? Those trees gave me more than just a sense of comfort and peace; they gave me sanctuary; they gave me hope. Just as they gave me solace, they taught me a lesson.