Seated in the Old Elm

The lightning bugs were out; that meant the weather was about to change. It's funny how these little things do that, turn on and off like candle. I was out with my brother, Samuel, while father was with Uncle Abraham and the other men of the town. Mom was probably with Aunt Ruth in the house.

Samuel and I built this tree house with father a couple of years back. It was seated in the old elm in the back 40. I had my first kiss here with Suzanna Ray during the sunset three months ago, in April, when the flowers just started flowering and the tree was green.

"Thinking about Suzanna?" Samuel could sometimes read my thoughts.

"Maybe." I smirked. "How could you tell?"

He focused on a point somewhere in the distance, dreaming at the clouds, and sighed heavily. "You get this look, this one, when you think about her." He refocused on me. "You should just walk up to her and ask her."

"Oh, I don't know."

He cleared his throat. "Ladies and gentlemen, good evening." He put his hands in front of his mouth, as if he was holding on to something, like he was trying to drink from a cup with both hands. "We have a special news bulletin for you this evening."

"Samuel! Shut your mouth!" Samuel had recently ridden into the city with father. He said he saw things that only God could create. "You know you aren't supposed to talk like that!"

"Our anchor, Luke Shelton, has some important news regarding Suzanna Ray." He shoved his hands in front of me.

"Samuel..." I looked around, nervous. "You can't do this."

"Relax, little brother. Nothing will happen. Just make something up. Our news station depends on you. It's fun."

"It's not allowed. You're going to get us in trouble."

"Come on, Samuel. The audience is waiting." He stood there, sweat on his brow, hands in front of my face, that stupid smile creeping at the corner of his mouth.

I shook my head. Convincing myself we wouldn't get caught. "Fine. Umm, Suzanna Ray has the prettiest eyes in the world."


"Fine, fine, okay. Suzanna Ray's breasts aren't as big as they look in her blouse!"

Samuel laughed, rolled back on to his rear end, and continued to laugh. Hard.

"How was that, Sammy?"

In between breaths, "the [laugh] audience loved it!"

I couldn't help but start to laugh too.

He got serious quickly. "Is that true?"

I chuckled and stared at the lightning bugs drifting on the whisper of a breeze. "No."

We sat in silence as the sun tried to set quickly. But, nothing moved very quickly here.

"I'm going back, you know, someday."

I always knew he wouldn't be here forever. Father was coming over the ridge. It'd be dinner soon.

-JR Simmang


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