Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live in a sugar maple tree? Your whole village lives inside the tree’s trunk and branches. How tall are you? What is your home like? Does your bedroom have windows? Where do you go to school? Does your school have a playground?
What if one day a branch on your school’s playground cracks open? This branch is high in the air. What danger does this crack bring to your school and community? What if the adults in your community can’t solve the problem? What will you and your classmates do? Will you think of ways to help your community? Who will lead this important project? Will you solve the mystery of how the crack happened and why? What if things go wrong?
Adi faces these problems with the help of her friends and a very special person. Through His help and guidance, Adi finds courage she doesn’t know she has. Adi learns to answer His question: Who are you, Adi?
This was an unbelievable day! I really didn't want to go to school. I missed you, so much. I hated seeing your desk empty.
Mr. Poplar introduced us to a new student. His name is Arnie. He was assigned your desk. That infuriated me! I just wanted to scream at Mr. Poplar, but I couldn't. So I glared at Arnie. I know I shouldn't, but I did. He looked so sad.
It’s hard enough being the new kid without having the girl next to you showering you with hatred. I know he kept looking my way during math class. He even tried to help me with an algebra equation, but all I did was glare at him.
At recess I just had to get away, so I sat in our spot. There is a new vein starting to grow right where we always leaned back. I tried making plans for the day, just as we always did, but all I could think about was missing you and hating that Arnie was here. He shouldn't be here, you should be here!
Can you believe it? He came to our spot and introduced himself to me. I know, Addy, I should have shook his hand and asked him to join me, but I just couldn't. Instead I jumped up and stomped away. Yes, I actually stomped.
Then I was running. I just had to be out of there! I jumped over the warning rope and kept running. I could hear Arnie's steps coming behind me. I leaped over the crack and thought that I was finally away from him. He wouldn't do anything that stupid. After all, Mr. Poplar said he was a great math mind. He'd stop and I'd be free.
But no, I guess Arnie was looking at me and didn't see the crack. As he stepped on it, something happened. Maybe the crack sealant broke, it has been there for about twenty years, but I know the civil engineers are always checking on it. They would have recoated it, if the sealant seemed weak.
Yet somehow the crack was open and Arnie slipped into it!
One moment he was chasing me. The next he was hanging on to the edge of the crack with his feet dangling in the air around the branch! He realized he was in danger! He screamed for help!
I turned and saw him there. Addy, he looked SO afraid! He grabbed a vein. His knuckles were white from gripping so hard. The wind must have been strong outside the community today, because Arnie's body was swinging back and forth. His chest slammed into one side of the crack. Then his back jammed into the other side. He kept swaying back and forth. I could hear the slapping sounds as his body contacted the outer bark. He was terrified!
I knew this was my fault! I had to do something and do it fast! I ran back to him. Luckily I remembered our crack safety lessons about not getting too close to the opening. Arnie's body was already making the crack bigger. I wanted to reach out my arm and grab him, but I knew he could panic, grab me, and pull us both through. I thought of leaping over him and going for help, but there just wasn't enough time. I had to act right away!
I spotted a large vein growing close to the crack. I pulled it away from its growth spot and tore it open. I know we aren't supposed to break the veins, but I had to do something. I kneeled down, jammed my foot in the other side of the vein break, and quickly shoved the vein over to Arnie. He looked too afraid to grasp the larger vein.
I yelled "Grab it with your right hand! You can do it. Your left arm is in a stronger spot. It will hold you." I looked straight into his eyes. I didn't want him to look away. It was as if I was willing my strength into him.
Arnie released his right hand and grasped at the vein. At first he missed. He shrieked and clawed at the dirt, but then grabbed at it again. This time he got it! He took a deep breath and then grabbed the vein with his left hand.
Then it hit me! I had to pull him out! He put his life into my hands! Now I was the one afraid. But I had no choice. I started to pull. Nothing happened. I pulled again, this time slower and steadier. My arms and legs hurt, but I had to keep pulling. Arnie's body started to slide out of the crack. As his knees came in, he used his legs to help push. We worked together and got him out!
We sank into the ground and just stared. Then we heard yells and footsteps. Mr. Poplar, the twins, and some other teachers came running over. Mr. Poplar jumped the crack and came to us. The others waited until he helped us back over the crack. Just as all three of us got to a safe spot we heard the wind howl and felt the branch sway. Crack! The opening doubled in size! We made it out just in time!
The teachers helped us back to our classroom. I knew I was in a lot of trouble, but right then I was just thankful Arnie was safe. As we sank into our seats I looked over at him. I smiled. I think I just made a new friend.
I still miss you, Addy. You will alway be my twin, the one with whom I share my thoughts and dreams. I know you will always be here and through these words we will stay friends.
I'm tired. Am glad Mr. Poplar cancelled homework tonight. Tomorrow I must see the principal. I know I must pay for my stupid moves, which almost cost Arnie his life. But that’s tomorrow. Tonight, I need to sleep.
Addy, I hope you aren't mad at me. You are still my friend. Is it okay if Arnie is my friend, too?
To you, adieu. Oh yeah, He was there after school. It was as if He was waiting for me. Weird, huh?
As I put my journal back into my nightstand drawer I look through my ceiling notch. Each night I fall asleep looking at the sky outside. I don't know why since all I ever see is dark. Oh wow! Look at that, a star! I begin to smile. A calmness comes over me.
I remember our third-grade teacher, Mrs. Leaf, showing us the star charts for the sky above Maple Community. One day I’d like to go outside our tree and check out the whole sky for myself, but not tonight.
Thanks, Addy. Someday I will tell Arnie all about you. Your journal friend, Adi