By: Colm Hull

I sigh as my little brother Troy tries his latest ploy to annoy me.

“Just because you don’t want to go doesn’t mean you need to make this car ride horrible for both of us,” I say.

“It’s your dumb fault we had to go here and not someplace cool,” Troy retaliated.

“How do you not find this cool?”

“It’s a bunch of old dusty ruins and rocks.”

“Well, do you think I appreciated going to Santa’s Village?” I ask angrily.

Why had my parents decided to bring Troy—a boy with more energy than an ill-trained puppy--on a tour that went on a narrow path next to a sheer cliff? I had been looking forward to this visit to Mesa Verde National Park since before Troy was born. So, I just sighed and turned up the volume of my headphones.  As I was just getting engrossed in an audiobook I yelped and yanked my brother’s arm back inside the car as a low hanging tree branch whizzed by where Troy’s arm had been just moments before.

After about three hours we arrived at our destination and got out of the car.  Immediately, Troy began wandering off and Mom had to pull him back from going over the edge of the cliff.  We were at the side of a massive cliff but that wasn’t even the main draw.

It was Mesa Verde!  I had been in awe of the place ever since reading about it years ago.  The half-ruined sandstone buildings perched on ledges on the sides of massive cliffs had always amazed me.  The houses varied from small one-room family homes to larger buildings used for storage or religious purposes.  And along the edge of the small city ran a low stone wall to stop small children from toppling over.  There were open spaces for trading, parties, or other events. I found the lifestyle, architecture, and history of the Pueblo fascinating.

We waited for a little while until a huge bus pulled up and people started piling off. The last person to come off was the tour guide.

“OK, everyone here for the tour please group up over here,” he said. “On this tour we will be walking through the ruins of the great lost city Mesa Verde. All right let’s get moving and remember not to touch anything!”

“Like what the rocks, rocks, and more rocks?” Troy muttered.

As I walked around, I saw my parents looking at an archway, and Troy was wandering off.  I went back to examining some carvings in the wall.  I suddenly glanced over at Troy and panic built up in my chest like a coiled spring about to explode.  I saw the world in slow motion as my thoughts raced trying to come up with a way to stop Troy from falling off the edge he had perched himself on.

I ran to the edge of the cliff where my pint-sized sibling was toppling off the edge.  As I looked down I saw that my brother’s hand was slipping off the small cranny in the rock he was clutching, and before I could think, my brain pushed my body into action.

I vaulted over the edge—my left hand grasping at the ledge above and my right closing on Troy’s shirt.  Then pain exploded between my shoulder blades and suddenly, I felt a strong force pulling me and my brother up and to the safety of the cliff.  My parents pulled us up and started patting us down, asking if we were OK.  Immediately the tour guide ran over and started thoroughly examining both of us for any physical injuries.  Other than a bloody scrape on Troy’s knee, and a large bruise on my chest, we were both fine.

“Well?” I said standing up and peering down at Troy.

“Well, what? “Troy replied sounding shaken.

“I just literally jumped off a cliff for you and you aren’t even going to thank me?” I asked.

“Well, thanks,” Troy muttered.

I rolled my eyes and started walking back up the path, thinking that being a big brother is the most irritating job ever.  After all, it’s not like I was going to let Troy die, even though he is the most annoying human on earth.  Troy is my brother and I love him.
 

Colm Hull is 13 years old;  he lives in Springvale, Maine.  Fun facts about Colm are that he plays the trombone and is a part of the Maine Youth Orchestra.

 

image by Kristy Lee, Pixabay