Maybe he’s thinking too hard

No one had told him that building a treehouse would be so hard.

No one had said it would be easy, either. He hadn’t expected it to be. However, he was not the constructing type. When his niece said she wanted one though, well, she was going to get one. He let his brother know that. When his brother looked at him with confusion, he knew he would have to do it himself. She was away at camp. A week to get this right.

It was easy enough to put the wood together in a straight line. But then there was the tree in the way. And how did people attach it? He spent hours on the Internet, looking this up. The words entered his eyes and fell out somewhere in the back. Maybe where he’d fallen out of a tree when he was younger and had to get stitches. In any case, they weren’t in his head. Where they belonged. Where they would have helped him.

This would only be worth it if he could honestly claim it was sturdy enough for an eight year old to play on. If he was the cause of her injuring herself, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

Occasionally he knew he was being watched. His brother, out on the back porch, drinking either a soda or a beer. As no one else was home, it was probably the later.

“Going to help?” he called out, irritated.

His brother’s eyebrows shot up his forehead. “I’m allowed to help now?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Sounded like you had it in the bag.” Before he could yell back at his brother, the man chuckled. Placing down his beer, he made his way over to the base of the tree and looked up. “Yeesh.”

“Spare me.”

“I’m gonna spare my daughter instead. Okay, here’s my advice.”

His brother was lazy, but it didn’t mean he didn’t know how to explain something in a way that meant his niece would have her treehouse when she returned.

Who could possibly lose in this?

“Mom! Look at me!”

She did, then looked back at her phone. Still no response. “Bet you can’t go higher.”

“Bet I can!”

She put her phone back in her pocket. “Not higher than me, little runt! Race you!”

He had a head start, but he was also a child with short limbs and she had been climbing all over things since she was his age. And she had never stopped. Being an adult had never stopped her.

She passed the treehouse about the time he reached it and pulled herself up to the branches above it. Finding a good place, the only place, to perch her butt, she waited for him to catch up with her. Panting, he tried to find a good place too, but without one she pulled him into her lap.

“Beat ya.”

He shook his head and stood up. She rearranged her legs, balancing perfectly. He reached up into the air. “Higher than you.”

She laughed. “What? Imagine that. Brat.” She nuzzled the side of his face. He laughed, unable to keep his hands up above her head for very long. Not that it mattered. Who had really lost?