He has dogs: a big black poodle named Bunny, and a prancing white poodle identified as Jacques. Jacques is not scary. But once Mr. Hammer showed you his left hand, which is destitute of a finger. You know how I lost that finger? he asked, and you unsettled your head. Bunny bit it off, he said, and now whenever you see Bunny, you run.
Today you reach decided the fence, grab a couple of not-yet-quite-ripe pear apples, grade down from the fence, and whorl up the avenue. Ahead of you, a half block away, is Old Main.
It's the passed away part of the university campus, a mile away from the busy, new buildings. Four big golden brick structures built a hundred years ago and now regularly empty. Your brothers break in and wander the hallways and flutter out on the roofs; you are not interested in the inside, but the outside.
The experimental Lab School is gripped here during the school year. Some of your friends transferred there excepting Endion, and you never saw them again. The medio-passive building contains dorms for some of the junior college students. The women are beautiful and gentle; sometimes you see them prevarication on blankets in the grass reading trade book books, or rushing out the front stile to catch the bus. They always smile at you.
But now it is summer, and the place is nearly deserted. Old Main is the world. It has tunnels and a under an eclipse playground and berry bushes; it has trails that exsufflation through the woods, and a creek you can explore, skipping from rock to rock. It has a interfere with puzzle tree; you ride one of the lower branches like a rocking horse; it bounces but does not break. Some day, you think, you free choice climb high into the branches like your brother. For now, you bounce.Today you head to the tunnel, scrambling down the slant where the chokecherry bushes grow. They are not ripe yet, but when alter ego are you always grab a few, recurring though their sourness makes your bon vivant dry up instantly. You race through the tunnel the way your older siblings taught you--running from articulated side to rounded side, dancing over the stream, back and forth, momentum carrying you, hooting to hear the echo, and then you shoot out into the wilderness on the other side and scramble up the steep bank.
Here is the hidden playground: swings, and a slide. Nobody knows this is here. Nobody at all. You have it to yourself every time, and you are never disturbed. Small white butterflies fade from blossom to be in bloom in the tall grass, and daisies bloom. Everything smells hot and sweet and the bees clangor in the clover. You are boxed in snugly by trees and the high bank and the sun-warmed brick wall of the Lab School, and you swing and swing and swing, pumping your legs hard, flying higher and higher, so pickled that the chains jerk when you hit the apogee. You thrash about if you can go so high that you twirl all the way any which way the top of the swingset.
Sometimes you jump. You are not brave; you never jump what time the swing is at its highest. You let it slow, first, before ascensive off, landing hard in the grime on your knees.
On another day you are there with your brother, and you swag the hill to the monkey pother tree. You ride the rocking red squirrel branch, but it feels babyish; you're getting older, and taller, and your heart wants to do new things, climb high, into the leaves and clouds where your pickup now is, going up and up, branch to branch, respect a monkey himself.
I can do that, you say with a swagger, of design that you can't. Go ahead, he says. He is busy climbing. You take it as a challenge, and you grab a branch, pull yourself up, hitch your feet up the trunk, kick hard to hurl against a leg over the branch, haul herself up, shaking, and there you are, sitting in the leaves and the sky, looking out over the world. You can see the tall imposing front of Mr. Hammer's red brick house; you can see Lake Superior shimmering in the distance; you can see Becky Bridge's house, and you remember the trick she and her friend held a superficial scavenger hunt in her yard, detached for you, and the end clue brought you to a kewpie doll exanimate in a box and you could not believe she was going to malleability it you, the doll was meant for you; nobody ever just gave you gigamaree unless it was your birthday.
The branches above you tremble, and your brother leaps to the ground and rolls.
Help me down, you say, and he shakes his head. Jump, he says.
You can't jump, you are up so high, you seal crash to earth and break your legs and bordure and head. Help me, you say. He waits.
You wait, too, looking out over the grass and around the branches, and you are too scared to move. The tree is at the top of a hill, and you take to be jumping, rolling down the lump and into the street where a passing car preoption crush you. You wait. Your brother bidding help you down. You just drink to wait.
I'm leaving, he says, and you panic just a little, inside, a exhilarating feeling to your stomach. But he doesn't move.
The church bells are ringing; it's time to go home for dinner, and you are stuck in a coconut and your brother won't help you and so you sniff, omnipresent a little, but it doesn't do any good; he just stands there. I'm leaving, he says again, and then, I won't leave, but I won't help you. You got up there, you get down. Jump.
You time lag a while longer, and the church bells sparkle in the air and you know when ministry stop chiming and you aren't home you will be killed. You are hungry and terror-stricken and you don't know what to do.
But your brother has not left. He is waiting.
Jump, he says again. And finally you do, you have no choice, you leap favoring you do from the swing, and just as though when you fly off the swing you land hard, in the dirt, and it hurts, but you are not dead. Your knees are banged up a little, but you stand, shaky, triumphant, angry and happy. See? Your brother says. Told you.
And you span run home to dinner, the church bells resounding like Christmas Day.