by Justin Abell
It was the summer of 1991 and I was enjoying my youth to its fullest. I can remember sitting on my front porch with my best friend, Joseph, pondering what to do with the remaining daylight. We decided to make the journey to the tree house my dad had built for me the previous year.
We got up and began to run across the huge yard. We arrived at the bottom of the hill where the tree house was located. I took a deep breath and began the climb. When we finally reached the top my legs felt like Jell-O and I collapsed on the ground to regain my strength. The shade from the humongous tree came as a refreshing change from the tremendous heat.
A few minutes passed before we decided to begin the climb up the tree. It rose high above the ground and had two ladders that zig-zagged their way up to the trap door. After I got up the first ladder, I noticed that moss had grown on the tree right before the second ladder. I made my way around the moss and climbed up through the trap door.
Everything in the tree house was lit up by a mystical green light from the tarp that served as a roof. Over in the corner lay a single table with a pouch of old pennies placed on top of it. Joseph and I gathered around the table and began to sort through the bag of pennies. We made a game out of who could find the oldest penny. We looked through the bag for about ten minutes until I came across a very old looking coin. It turned out to be a Mexican coin, but being very young I thought I had a precious piece of copper. I jumped to my feet in amazement. I showed Joseph and he shared my enthusiasm. Both of us began to climb down.
I went first and with all the excitement running through my veins, safety was not on my mind. I got down the first ladder and was about to start on the next one when suddenly my foot slipped on the moss and I began to fall to the ground. I waved my arms in hope of grabbing a branch. I did, but the branch could not support my body weight. I began to fall again-bang! I hit the ground. My right arm was twisted behind my neck and my left arm was folded behind my back. Joseph came down from the tree house and ran to get help. I lay there in tremendous pain until I was taken to the hospital.
At the hospital, the doctor told me my arm was broken from the fall and I would have to undergo surgery. He also told me how lucky I was not to have a broken back or neck. By hitting the ground with my arms behind my neck and back actually helped prevent me from having other serious injuries. I never saw that coin again and to this day, I have not gone back in that tree house.
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