Come On Paz
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Though a toddler, Paz cannot jump or balance like the other monkeys.
What will happen when it is a do or die situation?
Susie was worried about her son Paz; he was a toddler, but did not move around a lot.
He sat still for a long time, staring around him.
Now she helped him onto an Oak tree, where he sat with his friends and relatives. Assured that he would be safe among fellow monkeys, Susie held onto a branch and jumped effortlessly to the Mango tree where Paz's father was munching something.
"What do you think about Paz?" she began.
"What about him?"
"Don't you think he is too dull for his age? Kids who are younger than him jump, hang upside down and easily balance on trees."
"Oh! Stop comparing woman." Paz's father was irritated as he was really enjoying his snack. "Each child develops at their own pace."
"You are not quoting from one of those baby websites, are you?"
All of a sudden, the monkeys stopped chattering and pricked up their ears, they detected human presence around.
A couple of men had entered their area; one was well-dressed and the other one looked like he was used to hard labour.
"This is the tree Sol." the well-dressed man gestured to the Oak tree.
The man called Sol looked up the tree and shouted something.
The monkeys dispersed noisily.
Sol took an axe from his bag and began chopping the roots of the tree.
Susie looked around worried. All the monkeys from the Oak tree climbed over to the Mango tree, but Paz was nowhere to be seen.
"Have you seen Paz?" she asked her niece Quincy.
"No, aunty, he was still in the tree."
"Paz! Paz! Come here." Susie screamed in fear.
Paz looked around, not understanding why the other monkeys had deserted the tree.
Quincy jumped to the edge of the Mango tree.
"Paz, they are cutting the Oak tree down. Hold onto a branch and swing over here."
Paz looked down, scared. Now he understood why his tree was empty.
"Paz, jump over here or you will fall down." cried Susie who had joined Quincy.
Quincy quickly held a branch and jumped over to Paz's tree.
She looked earnestly at her cousin.
"I will show you how it is done." She held a branch and swung over to the Mango tree.
"Come on, it is your turn now." she called out to him.
"I can't." Paz said slowly, with tears in his eyes. "I am scared."
Quincy jumped back to the Oak.
She held her cousin's hand. "There! Hold my hand and jump now."
Paz looked down and trembled. "I will slip down on the way to the other tree." he whispered. He shook off Quincy's hand.
"Jump over Paz." pleaded his mother.
His father looked up briefly from his snack.
"Don't be a baby boy. Swing over." he said, gruffly.
"Come on, Paz." shouted all the monkeys in unison.
Sol quickened his cutting. The noise was deafening; he wanted to get over with it soon.
Paz stared down and turned to look at his mother's fearful countenance and his friends' expectant gazes.
He gripped a branch doubtfully.
He did not know how he got the strength, but he balanced himself and aimed at the far end of the Mango tree.
As he hung in the air, he felt a sense of exhilaration and ecstasy he had never before experienced in his young life.
Everyone cheered, including Quincy, who had jumped to the adjacent wall as the Oak tree came crumbling down.
Paz now hung upside down for a moment before righting himself to walk on a thin branch.
Then he slipped onto the root of the tree.
He had realised what life was and he was not going to sit still until he was absolutely exhausted!
Paz's mother was tearful with relief and his father resumed his snack.
"I told you it was just a matter of time." he said, nonchalantly.
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