This is the 111th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
The Silliest Things, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 22nd March 2013
Word count: 505
“I’m going to win, I have to win.” I repeated these six words as a mantra.
I’d been stupid I knew, I’d agreed to the challenges to impress a girl, but what a girl she was. Her flame red hair outshone the sun on the brightest day, and her glorious smile outshone her hair.
If you were going to do something stupid to impress a girl, she was the girl.
The beautiful lilt of her voice as she cheered me on at the start, calling my name, blended with my mantra.
Time was against me, the other boy was getting ahead. The tree was a grand old oak, tall and proud, and Matthew, my competition for a certain fiery redhead was considered justifiably one of the best tree climbers at our school.
As we climbed on, he was already a meter ahead and now he had branches to clamber through.
My mantra slipped, I lost that strength that comes with self belief, reality had seemingly broken my spirit. It had been a pipe dream after all. Who was I to try and beat the athlete? Who was I to try and win the girl? Yet I continued climbing.
I was just getting to the lower branches when above me there was a loud crack, and a scream. I barely had time to think as I saw Matthew fall, I reached out and grabbed his arm. It wasn’t enough to stop him, and my grip wasn’t enough to keep me on the tree. We fell together.
Let me tell you, in all the years before that day, and in all the years after nothing hurt so bad. I broke my leg, Matthew broke his collar bone. It was bad, but from how high he had dared go, it would have been much worse if I hadn’t broken his fall, and my leg.
I was a grounded hero. My lovely red head came to visit me in hospital that evening, she kissed me on the cheek.
See she thought I was being clever and sure, and safe taking my time getting up that tree. To her it was a noble gesture, I didn’t have the heart to correct her.
As for Matthew we became friends, he later confessed that my determination drove him to go faster and higher, even though he knew the branches were dry.
A painful day, but I did make so many friends all of a sudden, my casts were full of signatures and messages. I somehow managed to be the school celebrity for five minutes. Everyone gets their five minutes, even when it’s because you’re a real idiot.
And do you know what happened to that lovely redhead, with the hair that was bright as the sun, and the smile even brighter? Eventually she succumbed to my charms and she married me, when we’d both grown up.
Still, it was a very silly thing to do, and if hear of any of you young children being so silly, you’ll be in lots of trouble.