The Birch Tree – Child’s POV

A writing prompt from one of my writing groups was to write about a summer day. We were to write a scene, from 2 different POV’s – a child and adult, from a childhood memory. I pulled a scene from my memoir (in progress) where I was having my picture taken on my first day of kindergarten. When I completed writing both scenes, I realized I enjoyed writing the scene from a child’s voice. The sentences were short, simple and to the point. I found a child’s words more interesting and in a way, more defined with a stronger voice.

Seems like we always take pictures here, in front of this big window. It can be shady there or it can be so bright that when the sun blasts through the front window of my house Mom has to close the curtains to block out the heat. She says too much sun can damage the wood floor and desk. She says the wood will fade and dry out. I didn’t understand how the sun way up in the sky could hurt the floor way down here and the desk.

This is a cool spot anyway because my birch tree grows here. The front sidewalk comes between my buddy and the window. It stands really tall, and the branches are thin. When the wind blows just a little, the branches wave and the curly bark on its trunk wiggles. It tells me to look here and smile when I look at it. It must know I’m about to have my picture taken. Mom said this is a special occasion because it’s my first day of kindergarten. She has to yell a few times for my big brother Tim to come outside. He didn’t want to come because he would have to stand next to me for the picture and he hates to have his picture taken. He really doesn’t like to stand still, either. Mom keeps telling us to move this way, then that way, to get out of the shade. I know my birch buddy tries to protect us from the hot sun but its branches can’t shade my squinty eyes this time. While we wait for Mom to tell us to smile, I notice the top of my head tingles from the heat. It feels like my hair is standing up. My arms feel prickly too, as the sun heats my skin. Maybe the top of my head and skin on my arms are like the wood floor where I will dry out and fade. But I am turning bright pink. I have my new dress on. It’s short. When I bend over a little, my butt feels good because the air gets to blow on it. My dress is dark blue with teeny tiny white polka dots all over it and pictures of paint brushes and a board that has blobs of different colored paints on the front of it at the bottom. My white round collar is stiff and scratches every time I turn my head. I feel like a big girl, especially when Mom says I look cute. My red Mary Janes are the color of blood. I wiggle my toes in the shoe to get it on better so Mom can pull the strap harder to the first hole on the buckle. I think my shoes are too small. Mom is ready to take our picture. She tells us to stand straight, at attention like soldiers, and to be still. I fold my hands in front of me because I thought that would look nice. I stand still in front of the window with the back of my feet brushing against the yellow flowers. After Mom finishes taking the pictures, my wrists kind of hurt and so do my feet. Even though my feet are numb and my wrists burn and the top of my head is on fire, my birch tree stands in front of me, waving hello and telling me to smile. And I do.

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