I had trouble with fact vs. fiction in this one. The sledding really did happen, and the two other sections are based on postcards that BG provided as prompts. As for what was actually going on in my head during the sledding/tree experience — no promises. I’m still working on defining that sometimes-fuzzy line between fact and fiction. Also, I suppose that I can’t blame myself too much because I had these three random things that I was supposed to braid together for an essay. I enhanced certain aspects of them and minimized others so that they fit better… Stay tuned.

It’s so strange to see an I-don’t-care-what-you-think expression on someone so young. A dare-you-challenge-me head on a small, shapeless torso and hairless legs.

We were sledding and someone got cold, so the crew decided to call it a night. I wandered down the hill to a giant tree. You can walk inside the tree, and no one knows you’re there.

He forgets that he’s standing on sharp pieces in the sand, that he came to frolic in the surf. You-don’t-matter-to-me.

There’s usually a lot of orange here, seeing as they sell pumpkins, but the color is particularly dominant today. Some pumpkins are smashed and rotting in front of the market. The house behind the market is on fire. The fire and smoke billow, hugely, orange and black. The fire men are there with their truck and their ladder.

Everyone else went inside to get warm except for one kid. I thought he was waiting for me, but it turns out that he had forgotten to bring his key. It was a beautiful evening. I let him wait.

It’s hard to tell whether it’s arrogance or self-confidence or just lifetime. But on one so young? What does he have in his lifetime?

I’m wearing orange also, adding to the brightness. I’m buying a pumpkin for Halloween. I forgot what she told me — round or more ovular? I’ll just see which one looks like it would make a good pie when we’re through.

And if we walk away from that expression, from the youngster who dares us to question him? Will he still be standing there, his feet on the sharp shells, the ocean lonely behind him? Will he challenge the air, or remember that he is young?

I have no responsibility. Let him wait, he can come get me, or someone else will pass by. He’s welcome to join me if he wants, I don’t mind.

After much deliberation, I choose a pumpkin with a nice handle-stem and saunter away.

I lay under the tree looking up toward the sky, and all I really saw were branches.

I-don’t-care-what-you-think, I’ll-do-what-I-want, his expression says to our backs.