He remembered the tree from when it was alive, two branching trunks – perfect for climbing! Shade in summer and stark angles against a winter sky. Pink cotton-ball flowers like fourth of July sparklers. Climbing to the top, tree swaying in the wind. Strong trunks and branches which never broke no matter how carelessly he climbed.
He remembered the day he’d come home from college to find nothing but a stump. She’d hated the tree when he climbed to the tippy-top though he’d never been hurt beyond skinned knees and elbows.
“No, it will be the perfect van for going cross country.”
“I’m not going anywhere in that.”
“Just wait, you’ll see.”
“I see a deathtrap.”
“Think of it with a whole new interior.”
“Think positive for a moment.”
“Still a deathtrap.”
Six months later, Cassy sat on the hood, watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean after driving alone from Richmond, Virginia to California. She raised her glass, tapped it against the hood and said, “Here’s to a perfect friendship.”
“This,” Jay said matter-of-factly, “has to take the cake.”
“What? The wall jumped me.”
“Well, there you go, but it looks like you jumped the wall.”
“Twist everything around as always.”
“Look, Chris, you have a habit of destroying cars. Luckily, you haven’t destroyed yourself right along with them.” Truth was, he knew, Chris was trying to destroy himself. Pushing the limits, driving fast, but this didn’t look like his normal attempts. This looked like an accident.
“It was an accident,” Chris said.
“I know, but, boy, you have a way with cars.”
They both laughed. Anytime they could laugh was a good day.