As I was taking a picture of this tree house a man watering his plants said to me, “The guy who lives there built that thing for his kids. They never play in it.”
“That’s really sad,” I told him. “I had a tree house growing up and I used it all the time.”
Honeysuckle vines wound their way up the side of the tree and the girls in my neighborhood would come and drink bits of nectar while we played Barbies or Pretend. We set up rules: no little sisters except on Wednesdays; no boys allowed unless otherwise specified. Eventually the dolls and the rules were cast aside, and the honeysuckle aroma filled our noses as we brought up the neighborhood boys to play Truth or Dare. I remember watching my best friend, Betsy, get her first kiss; later we went to the movies and she kept saying her mouth felt “all weird.”
By the time high school hit most of the neighborhood girls had moved away and we were able to sneak boys into our basements. My parents built a pond where the tree house used to stand and apparently honeysuckles are an invasive species so they chopped those down, too.
“I actually see a couple boys in the tree house,” I said to the man.
“Well, I guess I stand corrected.”