The Tree House
Building the tree house should have been easy. However, with my two brothers, it wasn’t.
I lived with 12-year old identical twin brothers. People had trouble telling them apart. Sure they looked the same, brownish-red curly hair, more than a generous splash of freckles and skinny as cattails. I figured it out early to tell them apart, purely for my own survival. The real trouble was they didn’t think the same, not even close. If one said black, the other would say white. So, I knew putting together a tree house was going to be hmm…interesting.
I knew my job. Be quiet and listen, go-pher and do what I was told. Jim and Tim were quick to smack my head to keep me in line, and quiet.
The morning started out fine. All three of us looked for suitable boards stored in the top of the garage. Picking out the longer ones, we laboriously carried them back to the tree. Then we needed a ladder, so the go-pher – that’s me - got elected. Before I got back to our tree with the ladder, I heard arguing.
Tim had drawn very detailed plans, step-by-step instructions and a long list of material and tools needed. Jim said they didn’t need any plans; just nail some boards and cut off the excess.
“I say we just take one board up, nail it in place, then the next and the next. Then we saw off what we don’t want. Or we might decide we need it for something really neat. We don’t have to make everything perfect, Tim.”
“But, it will be safer to saw the lengths we want and then get them in place to nail.” Tim was getting louder as he talked. I slowed down cause I didn’t want to have to choose sides. I usually wasn’t able to get out of that.
“That’ll take too long. I want to get it up so we can use it. I told Marvin about it and he wants to help this afternoon.”
“You told Marvin?!? But this is our secret tree house, Jim. We agreed on that.”
“No we didn’t. I want to have other guys too.”
“No. It’s just for us. No one else. That’s what you said.’
“Well, if I said it, I take it back. Marvin would be here now, but had to take piano lessons this morning.”
“Piano lessons are for girls. Is Marvin a girl?”
“Hey, take that back!”
“You better take that back, Tim!”
I had to interrupt or we’d never get the tree house started. So I acted like I hadn’t heard a thing and came with the ladder and threw it on the ground. They stopped and stepped away from each other.
“Sorry I took so long.”
“That’s ok, Ben. Hey, didn’t we say this would be a secret club house?”
“Gee, Jim, I don’t…”
Tim interrupted me, “Ben, it’s to be a secret tree house. Jim wants his sissy friend to join us.”
“Tim, you take that back. Marvin isn’t a sissy, he just likes music.”
That did it. The two began to wrestle and throw punches. I couldn't do a thing but let them wear each other out; and they did. Both were lying on their backs, panting loudly. I could see Tim’s nose bleeding slightly. Jim was rubbing his arm and moaning.
“I think you broke my arm, Tim. It hurts so bad.”
“Well, my nose is bleeding. I can hardly breathe.”
That set fire to my temper. Here we were, fighting, when we could be building our tree house. But there was more about Marvin that they didn’t know.
“Marvin need us,” I told them. “His sister told me their dad is moving out and Marvin’s mom is acting crazy”
That got us quiet as we sat in the shadow of our future tree house. I knew we were all thinking about our dad. Dad left us three years ago. He went to be with Jesus.
Tim finally broke the silence. “Well, maybe Marvin can join us. But that’s it, no more. OK guys?”
“Sure. Let’s shake on it.”
My two brothers put out their hands, and looked at me, “What you waiting for Ben? Put in your hand too.”
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