3 TEPLAN’S BEST FRIEND, TERAH FREEDDEN
Terah looked out the car window and watched a few white clouds take shape in the blue sky. The soft hum of the tires murmured beneath the sound of the car radio. Terah’s dad drove a moderate speed, allowing every other car to pass. ‘Better to be slow and successful than fast and furious, I always say.’
Terah chuckled and rolled her eyes. As she gazed out of the window, she followed the tree line that dotted the winding river as the sun glistened over the treetops. Since they had driven out of the city 20 minutes ago, the river had weaved through the fields and forests that defined the landscape. Her gaze fell on the trees that had leaves only near the top, leaving the trunks all bare. She thought they looked like stick men with tufts of hair on top.
“We’re almost there, Terah,” her mom said.
Terah opened a notebook on her lap and removed the pen tucked into the metal rings. While playing with the ends of her long brown hair, she gazed back out the window at the tree line. She began to write a letter.
I am writing to you today to ask you to answer the wishes of a lot of people who live in your city. Since last year, this city has removed many trees from the urban neighborhoods; it is our obligation to replace as many of these trees as possible and we have failed to do so at this point. Besides greening our city, trees clean the air so we can breathe, in case anyone needed a reminder. I think if the city gets more trees, the people will vote for you because they will like what you are doing for our city. And, as this is a truth, so would be the opposite.
“Are you writing another letter?” her mom asked, smiling. “How many does that make?”
“Seven!” she smirked at Terah’s dad.
“What, mom? Seven letters to the mayor is hardly enough of an effort!”
“Well, you have a good start,” her dad smiled at her in the rearview mirror. “Remember when you were six years old and wanted a bunny?
Every day you would ask your mom and me for that bunny and every day we said no. You even drew pictures of bunnies and put them up all over the house.”
“Yeah,” Terah chuckled, “I remember. I drew a new picture every day.”
“Then,” Terah’s mom added, “You wrote a list of all of the reasons why you should have a bunny, until we finally gave in!”
Just then, Mrs. Freedden’s phone rang; she looked at the number and smiled, “Hi, Jackie!”
“Uhhh. It’s Teplan. Hi, Mrs. Freedden.”
“Oh! Hi, Teplan,” Terah’s mom laughed. “I thought it was your mom.”
“Oh no, it’s me. My mom is just out back and asked me to call and see when you guys might get here.”
“Great! We’re close. We have to stop at the store too, so we won’t be there for at least a half hour. Do you want to speak with Terah?”
“Sure! And I’ll let my mom know about the other stuff,” Teplan said popping his head into the garage and shouted the estimated time of arrival at his mom.
“See you soon, Teplan,” she said and awkwardly reached over the seat to pass the phone to Terah.
Terah dropped her pen in her notebook and took the phone, “Hi, Teplan.”
“Hey! How’s it going?”
“Good. We just drove out of the city, so we won’t be too long now.”
“Cool,” Teplan said before cupping his hand over the phone a bit. “Hey, listen, I was thinking that maybe we can get to the river today. What do you think?”
Terah whispered, “Why are you whispering?”
“I’m whispering,” Teplan replied, realizing that he was actually alone in the kitchen and did not need to whisper, but continued to do so anyway, “because I’m not sure if your parents, and my parents for that matter, will let us go.”
Terah noticed her parents talking amongst themselves. “Considering almost every time you want to do something we end up getting into trouble, I can see how they might be inclined to say no!”
“What? You don’t want to go?”
“Hey, I’m just saying your batting-average on getting us in trouble is pretty good. But fine, I’m up for it. Besides, what can go wrong?”