This is an attempt at fiction. I did that because jenn see first said that I should write something, "dammit" and then she went and posted these pictures on one of her sites. I'm not sure I should actually post this, but considering the hairdresser this morning ruined my head (and I'm not exaggerating), I figure my street cred is past blown now.
Eric had always thought that Italo Calvino's The baron in the trees was a masterpiece. Ever since he'd read that book, he'd been in awe of that kid who'd thrown it all away, on a whim, a tantrum really, and then had stuck it. That's what he, Eric, missed. Resolve. Iron will and willpower that said "you may laugh, but I'll show you. And you'll be sorry". But he was weak. He liked self-indulgence. Anything that required the pseudo-sacrifice of his freedom to choose, anything that necessitated a show of consistency, well he was bound to tire of it and give it up altogether. That's why once he'd started smoking, he'd never stopped, that's why even though he was really good at track and field, he'd never actually competed, that's why he had never fully lived up to his potential, which his mum went so far as to say he'd flushed, pure and simple.
The thing is, he just didn't expect it to be done to him. So when Rose had finally snapped that life with him was "so not what I'd dreamt about. I fucking deserve more than someone who will always, always, always choose his peace of mind over his satisfaction, never mind mine or someone else's. I've had it Eric, it was nice for about 5 minutes, then it was stale, now it's just plain mouldy", well, it had come as a bit of a shock.
Not that he'd tried to plea with her. Too much hassle, you understand.
And then one day, walking around Rutgers Gardens, he stopped at the saucer magnolia. Couldn't that be his tree? Couldn't that be the place where he told the world "See? I chose something, and then I stuck with it." So he climbed it. Climbing a tree, which he hadn't done in aeons, reminded him of his childhood. Of the times when he actually cared about stuff which, even though it might not have been the most important stuff to many grown-ups, to him meant a lot. Maybe seeing all his interests derided and belittled by too many self-important adults had turned him into the mental slob he was now.
At the top, he could see forever. For old times' sake, and makeshift revenge, he gave the world a little slap on the wrist.