When I couldn’t climb down the tree

When I was small and lived in a community of tiny half-dilapidated apartments, my favourite activity of all was to play house with my friends on one of the Japanese plum trees on the community premise. Each of us would pick a branch and claim it to be our private room.

I had a branch that I particularly adored. It was a thick and curvy branch at the bottom of the tree. I liked its solidity, and whenever we played house on the tree, I used to sit at the curvy spot of the branch and dangle my legs, often drifting off to daydreaming.

One of my two childhood best friends would usually pick the branch right above mine, and the other one liked to pick a different branch depending on her mood. She was fond of climbing and often chose a branch high up the tree. But one particular afternoon, she started climbing even higher than usual. She went up and up, all the while laughing, and soon, she was out of our reach. Somehow, this upset me.

“You are going up too high!” I shouted. “What if you fall?”

But my friend was still laughing.

“It’s really fun up here,” she said. “You should also try!”

My other friend refused, saying that she didn’t think she could do that. This further upset me.

“I can do that!” Before I knew it, I was declaring. “It’s not difficult at all! I can climb up high just like you!”

My friend climbed down, and in turn, I started climbing up. I went up and up, desperately wanting to sit on the branch my friend was earlier sitting on. Soon, I reached a spot after which point the branches became thinner. I sat between a few branches, and for the first time, I looked down.

Suddenly, I realized how far up I had come. My friends’ anxious faces were looking up at me. I tried to move, but now my bottom was caught between the branches and I was stuck.

“Why aren’t you moving?” My friend asked from below. “Aren’t you coming down?”

“I want to,” I replied. “But I can’t!”

“What do you mean?”

A sense of panic crept up my body, and now tears were showing in my eyes.


As I cried, my friends ran to call a mother of our friend who happened to be standing near us, letting her know of the emergency that was happening to me.

She immediately came to our tree and looked up at me with a kind smile.

“Oh, dear!” She said to me. “You went up quite high! You couldn’t climb down, hmm?”

In one swift move, she scooped me up from the tree and put me down on the ground.

“There you go!”

Relieved to find my feet on the ground again, I promised myself that I would never ever climb high up on the tree. I would stick to my favourite old curvy branch at the bottom. It was a brief, but scary moment for me getting stuck between the branches high up in the tree, and that rescue scene has remained in my memory since.