when i was five i pulled a piece of bark off of a tree in jenny farkley’s yard because i always liked to pick at stuff (ooh this is fuzzy, but it’s coming back it’s coming back, i am remembering as you begin to talk about the tree you want to uproot from your lawn) i know my kindergarten teacher always screamed as i scraped away the lamination from the name tag piece by piece by piece by piece for over a month till it was all gone all gone all gone. i scraped a little tiny piece of bark away from the trunk of the great big tree while we were talking, i was awkward i am always so awkward when i am talking to people who are always so much easier... jenny farkley saw me picking picking picking at the tree and got her eyes all big and looked at me so mad and she was always so much bigger YOU’RE KILLING IT and she told me all about a day she’d seen in a movie once, where all the trees are gone and we are sad and we do miss them.

how would you like it if a tree pulled the skin off you?

i cried and sat in a corner by myself and let the big girls talk about all the big girl things that big girls talk about and let my little tiny fingers run along and wander through the grass and tear and wander raking quietly. somewhere in the yard i found my little fingers wrapped around a helicopter whirly seed, listening to all their talk about the way that tree would die. i held a seed inside my hands and i stopped crying, choosing not to tear it up in little pieces, little sections like i always like to do. i looked at it real closely, held it up and then resolved, and put my fingers in the ground and used a stick and made a tiny, tiny hole. i planted me a new tree and imagined it could grow up big and strong and be even better than the tree i killed because i didn’t didn’t didn’t didn’t know. but oh i was so sad and i did miss it.

the old tree never died and my tree never grew. but i stopped picking at the bark on trees and went back to picking at my nose. i figured that was safer.