I am 6 years old and we are at the cabin. It’s cloudy and cold, but it’s supposed to be summer. The wind is blowing off the lake and that’s why it’s cold, mom says. I have to wear a winter coat, and it’s puffy and uncomfortable. I can’t put my arms down.
Mom and dad are inside the cabin talking to the other grown-ups. I’m outside with my cousins. They are almost grown-ups too. They are lots taller than me. Sometimes they say swear words and tell me I’d better not tell anyone or they won’t let me go with them anymore. Sometimes I get to go with them for walks up the beach and they smoke cigarettes, but I’m not supposed to see that, cause they pretend to see squirrels. “Look, Krissy!” They yell and point, but I don’t see any squirrels. All I see is smoke coming out of their noses when I turn around, and they tuck the smokes under their arm. I know its smoking cause dad does it too. Sometimes he blows smoke rings, but you can’t put your finger in them cause they disappear. I won’t tell the grown-ups that my cousins smoke, because I like going for walks with them. They are funner than grown-ups cause they never make me go to bed, and they let me hear bad words, and they tell each other stories about all the things that they do that they get in trouble for and that they get away with, and they let me eat lots of ketchup chips. I like hearing about teenager things.
But right now my cousins are being boring and they’re whispering and won’t let me hear what they’re talking about, so it must be something really good. I try to hear, but they are good at whispering. Instead I pick blueberries from the bushes around the cabin. They aren’t really blueberries yet though, cause they’re still green. Do you call them green berries if they’re still green? I put one in my mouth and crunch it between my teeth. It isn’t soft like a blueberry and it tastes yucky, like grass, or when you accidentally put your sandwich down on the table that mom just sprayed with cleaner. I chew it up a little bit and make a face and spit it out on the sand, then I try it with another one and another one, but they all taste yucky.
Kenny and Mark walk over by me. They aren't very much older than me, but they are still big kids. “What’re you doin’, Krissy, b’y! You’re not supposed to eat the green ones, ya goose!” Mark says.
“I likes to. I likes to pick berries.” I say, putting more green berries in my cupped hand.
“If you pick them all now, there won’t be any to pick later when they’re supposed to turn blue.” Kenny says.
“I wants to pick them now though.” I say. I drop the few berries in my hand when I see there’s a tiny spider crawling on them.
“Hey, Kenny? Do you know how Bandit died?” Mark asks. I turn around and look curiously at them. Bandit was our uncle Pat’s big German shepherd dog. He was a pretty dog, but I was afraid of him, cause I’m afraid of dogs. I got bit two times by dogs and it hurts a lot and I cried, so I don’t like to go close to them.
“Nope.” Kenny replies.
“He ate green blueberries and it poisoned him.” Mark says.
All of a sudden I feel like the ground is wobbly and my chest is tight like when mom makes me wear party dresses. “No!” I yell at them. “blueberries aren’t poison! I eats them all the time. Nanny says only dog berries and choke cherries are bad for you!”
“that’s blueberries, not green ones.” Mark says. Kenny is smiling. I think they might be joking, but I don’t know, cause sometimes teenagers laugh at things that aren’t funny, like tying your socks together while they’re still on your feet.
I throw the green berry in my hand away into the trees and run into the cabin to find my mom and dad. I don’t tell them I ate green blueberries cause I’m afraid they will get mad at me. They told me to stay away from poison things and we put “Officer Ugg” stickers on all the things in our house that I’m not supposed to touch.
For the next few days I think that I might die at any time from the poison berries. After a while I realize that I must be okay cause I’m still alive and okay, but I don’t ever eat green blueberries ever again, I don’t even touch them, and I always make sure that my blueberries are super blue and ripe all over.