Friday, October 2, 2009
My First True Love
I spent my first and second grade living in Cuba, but I don't remember much about school. I vividly remember many things about that Caribbean island though. We lived in a cottage raised up off the ground with a big front porch and there was a huge tree in the front yard. Many times I tried climbing that tree, but I was never able to make it up the trunk. The trunk was thick and difficult to climb because there weren't any low branches to get a handhold or place a foot. Since my brother, who was two years younger than me, had successfully climbed the tree, I figured if he could climb it, I should be able to as well. I'm sure my brother must have bet me that I could never climb that tree.
So, when no one was around, every few days I would try to make it up the tree. I must have been particularly determined one day because eventually I found myself 15 feet up in the tree lying on a huge branch hanging over the street. Boy did I feel satisfied with myself. I got very comfortable up there lounging on that big branch surveying the world below me. It was a wonderful vantage point being able to see the comings and goings up and down the street without anyone knowing I was up there. The tree was very lush with a thick canopy and hid me quite well from view. I remember feeling like I was some sort of spy looking down on everyone. I could hear people talking as they walked by. I also felt a little guilty since I had an unfair advantage of those below me because they didn't know I was up there.
Later, in the back of my mind, a little bit of fear started to creep in. I began to wonder how I was going to get back down the tree. I had learned from climbing other trees that sometimes it was easier climbing up a tree than it was to climb down. Then I thought this is what happens when I try something risky without thinking of the consequences in advance. Once I started to realize how high I had climbed, I saw there was a real risk of falling out of the tree. The distance from the branch I was on to the ground seemed enormous and this began to really scare me. And of course my pride wouldn't dare let me call anyone for help.
After a long while trying to plan my descent safely, I finally summoned up the courage to make my way down and out of the tree. I started to inch myself along the branch I was on toward the main trunk. I figured if I could slide down the trunk even a little way, if I fell I wouldn't have as far to fall to the ground. All of a sudden right in front of me I saw a three foot long creature that looked like a ferocious lizard like dinosaur. I later learned the creature was an iguana. The iguana was on the same branch I was on and it looked like a very dangerous creature. I knew I had to stay calm since one false move and I would fall from the tree, but I was truly petrified. Having lived in the United States previously I had no idea what an iguana was and I had visions of him starting to eat me little by little.
I calmed myself down by lying perfectly still, all the while I was shaking like a leaf inside. I was hoping that perhaps the iguana wouldn't notice me if I didn't move. I lay there for what seemed like hours, wondering how I would get out of the tree with the iguana blocking my way. Eventually the iguana went further up the tree. I waited for him to get quite a distance away and then I inched my way back down the tree very carefully, clinging for dear life onto the rough texture of the tree bark. When I reached the ground I thanked my lucky stars I made it out of the tree safely and that I had survived an encounter with a dinosaur and came out alive. Later that night at dinner I remember telling my parents and siblings about my adventure. My parents were angry I had climbed such a tall tree, but relieved I had made it down safely. My parents also explained about iguanas and said they were relatively harmless. I don't think I ever climbed that tree again, I think I figured risking my life once was enough.
When I started to write this story I intended to tell you all about my very first boyfriend, Rodney Black, who lived across the street from me in Cuba. Rodney, I wonder, are you out there? I've always remembered Rodney Black as my first true love, but now, so many years later, I know my first true love was really Cuba. As time goes by I'll tell you more stories about my time living in Cuba.(Photos for this story were borrowed to enhance the story).
As long as I am on the topic of my first true love, up next I'll tell you about an unexpected gift I received from an old boyfriend. I think you'll get a kick out that story, so stop back by. Meanwhile I'm still packing getting ready for our trip across country.