⇸Just hug the tree.

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Andrea has always been a tree lover.

She has spent most of her childhood playing around trees with her grandparents in their countryside home. She still remembers those days when her grandpa used to pick apples and peaches with the help of a ladder and she would dance around with a broken fruit picker in her tiny hands. However, the juicy berries were the best thing about their yard; Andrea always stained her clothes purple while savoring those berries.

It's funny how she can't think of a single childhood memory that didn't revolve around trees. Her father built a tree house as a present on her tenth birthday, and she still loves spending countless hours in that small, yet comfortable space.

So, when Andrea hears the familiar roar of a bulldozer, she doesn't wait a second before dropping her schoolbag on the couch and breaking into a sprint. Ignoring her mom's calls, she throws the main door open and steps into the humid afternoon air.

"I'll be back in a minute!" she shouts, waving a hand in her mom's direction.

The air whips Andrea's sandy blonde hair into her eyes, but she doesn't stop. 

She can't stop.

Many companies have knocked down innumerable trees of their locality-the loggers come every week or so and cut down trees illegally, and that's just become intolerable now.

Andrea can feel her adrenaline pumping and heart drumming in her chest, as she places her hands on her knees to take a few deep breaths. Slowly, she walks forward and reaches the local park, the place where she spends most of her time strolling or reading a good book under the trees.

A few meters ahead of her she sees two men guiding a bulldozer towards a burr oak tree, her favorite one. Her hands ball into fists, as she takes long strides in the loggers' direction.

"Stop right now!" she says, raising her hand in the air.

One of the loggers makes his way towards her, sunlight reflecting off his yellow helmet.

He twists the half burnt cigarette in his fingers and gives her a glare. "What's your problem, kid?"

"My problem is that you're—"

He laughs, puffing smoke into her face.

"Don't give a damn about your problem."

Andrea coughs, putting a hand over her mouth.

She can't help the blush that creeps up her cheeks as the three loggers laugh in her face.

These people never stop and somehow, they always find a way to cut down trees for their selfish purposes. Andrea's parents always support her, but that's not enough. She definitely needs more people to join the campaign so she can save these trees, but unfortunately, nobody really cares. She is certain nobody will realize the importance of protecting trees until they're all gone, and until we're left with nothing but oxygen masks to stay alive.

These past few years have completely changed the face of Andrea's small town, and the place that once looked so beautiful, now seems like it's on the brink of apocalypse.

There are some people around her, but no one dares to step forward.

She doesn't care if no one else joins her; she'll save this park all on her own.

Before she can do something, someone shouts and everyone turns around to locate the source of that voice.

A boy, maybe of her age, waves frantically in their direction and a few seconds later, he encircles the oak tree with his arms and presses his cheek to the trunk.

Andrea can't help but smile as the loggers share a look of disbelief.

"I dare you, cut this tree now!" the boy shouts, a grin spreading across his lips.

Now, it's Andrea's turn to laugh.

She winks in the loggers' direction, and runs towards the boy who's hugging the tree as if his life depends on it.

"Hey," she says, smiling at him.

"Hey," he smiles back, "I would normally shake hands, but I'm kinda busy right now."

She shakes her head. "That's okay, really."

Before they could continue their conversation, one of the loggers-the one with the cigarette-interrupts them.

"Get off that stupid tree or I'm cutting it down with ya clinging to it."

"Well, then, bring it on!" the boy yells back.

For a moment, Andrea's heart skips a beat, but as soon as she looks into that boy's hazel eyes, she lets out a breath she didn't know she was holding. If the time were appropriate, she would just keep staring at his face. But now she has something else to focus on.

"I'm Jason, by the way."

She looks up at him and blinks a couple of times.

"And your name is..."

"Oh, sorry," she stutters, "my n-name is Andrea."

The corners of his lips tug upwards in a smirk. "Cool."

A twig falls on Andrea's head and she turns her attention back to the problem she's facing right now.

"How do we stop them?" she asks, her voice barely audible.

Jason shrugs. "Just hug the tree."

She takes a deep breath and the fresh woody scent fills her nostrils immediately.

Shortly later, she steps into the cool shadow and hugs the tree, careful not to let the uneven bark scratch her arms and face.

Andrea smiles to herself.

She has finally found the perfect person who can help her to save her beloved trees.

She's finally found a partner.

*****

Hello! It's my new short story and I hope you liked this chapter.

Feel free to point out any mistakes, but please don't be rude. 

And this story doesn't sound suckish, does it?

Tell me what you think about it. :) x




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