Mia Valodia Wessels van Zijl has written a magical story about a tree-girl who finds herself stuck in a tree…
“One,” hop, “two,” hop, “three,” hop, “four-”
“What are you doing?”
She looked up from the pavement, where she was counting and jumping over cracks in the cement, to another young girl up in a tree. They appeared to be the same age, but the girl in the tree seemed taller.
“Counting the cracks,” she said, as if it had been obvious in the first place.
“But why are you jumping over them?”
“To spread a healing force over them, of course.”
The tree-girl twisted her face sceptically. After a few moments on intense thought she said, “But rock can’t grow. Or heal. It’s dead.”
Determinedly, she stuck her nose in the air and huffed, “How can it be dead if there’s flowers growing out of it?” She pointed down at the dandelions springing up everywhere to prove her point.
Up in the tree some more deep thought occurred. “I suppose you have a point.”
“Of course I do. Now, why are you in a tree?”
Leaves shuffled around her as she shrugged. “I was playing and chased a squirrel up here. Before I realised I got up really high and then got stuck.”
A few moments of silence was harshly punctured by the hopping girl bursting out in laughter.
“You got stuck? How old are you?” Through the cackling and giggling she managed to help the very irritated girl out of the tree.
“Not much younger than you. And, by the looks of it,” she straightened all the way till her forehead looked over the other’s, “I might be a bit older.” She snickered as the shorter grunted in outrage.
“I’m just waiting for my growth spurt!”
“If it’s even still coming.” She squeezed out before breaking into more snickering.
As short as she was, her temper was large, so she angrily declared, “I’ll show you!”
With a huff and a puff ,and a rolling up of the sleeves, she wrapped around the trunk of the tree like a monkey. Pull and scratching eventually got her to the top branch, one above the branch of her predecessor.
“How about that?!” she ga-humped in pride with a crossing of her arms.
Below her sounded an irritated ‘hm!’ “Whatever, I bet I can run faster than you!”
“Al right, then come down and race me!”
“I will! But . . . first . . . I’m going to sit here . . . for a while and . . . think . . .” she stammered, slowly sitting down on the branch. A look of indifferent contemplation crossed her face.
The taller of the two, gazing up at her in the tree, rolled her eyes.
“You’re stuck, aren’t you?”
In her dream-like short stories 18-year-old Mia Valodia Wessels van Zijl transports readers to a more poetic reality. As a child Mia had dreams of becoming a milkman. She now plans to become a professor of English.