“I want you to come on that man’s head,” she says.
Open-mouthed while imagining what it would be like to play on the slide in my grandparents’ old garden again, I don’t hear her words. Well, I do, but they don’t register.
“Did you hear me?”
This time the words resonate. It takes a few seconds, though. In those precious seconds, I’m elsewhere. I’m jumping up and down next to a birdbath; my hands splashing in the manky rainwater it’s collected, but I don’t care, because I’m young and free and unafraid of everything. Everything except for spiders. The spiders are lurking in the shed to my left, and no matter how much fun I’m having, I can’t help but give the old stone building a suspicious side-eye. The spiders are sleeping inside, and I’m safe from harm, but the fear they instil in me is never far from my mind.
“Why do you want me to do that?” I ask, slurring my words as if drunk.
I’m still not with it—I rarely am—but the sensation of being elsewhere is a difficult one to shake. I don’t want to shake it at all, which is why it’s so hard to let go, especially when I’m back in a bubble of time and space that’s so precious to me.
“Because it’s just what he deserves. It’s what all of them deserve.”
“He’s already been gobbed and pissed on. Do you really think he needs a money shot? And what makes you think I’ll be able to get him from so high up? It’ll be a one-in-a-million shot if I do.”
Squinting her eyes at me as the wind blows her hair across her face, she peers down at the guy who’s still on his hands and knees cursing his situation. I don’t have anything against him. Well, perhaps a slight something against his sense of self-pity. All he does is sit there feeling sorry for himself. He should be more like us; viewing life through a brand new lens. Does it warrant me splashing him with my love juice, though? Perhaps.
“You yourself said this is a magic tree. If so, then you’ll hit him. The tree will make it happen.”
“It’s not the tree that’s magical,” I say, “it’s the door within the tree.”
“No, it’s the tree. I can feel it. The tree is the door, and the door is the tree. Your seed will be the key, I just know it.”
“The key to what?”
“The key to what’s waiting for us.”