The Only Tree

Claire was frozen, she stared out the smudged glass window, unblinking. The emerald grass shone like a gem as the early sun hit the dew on each blade. A golden dirt path dodged the rolling hills as it slithered to the horizon. A single maple tree stood, slumped and weakened, by the path.

Claire felt connected to the tree. As her tired hazel eyes followed a bright green leaf float down from a lengthy branch to the comfort of the uneven grass, Claire realized the loneliness of the tree was what brought the two together. She guessed it was the constant lacking of a true companion that the both had in common-the feeling of unwanted solitude. It crept up on her like a scorpion waiting to sting-to cause pain-to destroy the peace in which Claire had up until now.

“CLAIRETTA ANNA THOMPSON!” An infuriated hoarse voice bellowed into Claire’s ear. Claire rapidly wiped her salty tears with the backs of her hands, and swiveled around. A burly woman with flaring nostrils, a faint beard, and hungry eyes-hungry for souls, that is. The monster stomped forward, “You useless, unworthy girl! Do you think I must do all the work? And until then, why don’t you just relax? Huh? What am I? your servant? NO! There’s work to do, and you’re going to do it! The bedsheets need cleaning, washing, and drying, the dining table needs wiping and setting, the floors need…” Claire zoned out. This lecture was going to last a while. Claire heard voices in her head-“What’s wrong, dear?” A kind, beautiful lady was speaking to her. Mother. Claire missed her mother.

Claire missed the kisses on the cheek that woke her every morning, and the kisses on the forehead that put her to sleep every night. Claire missed the soft smile that appeared every time she was glanced at. Claire missed the warm bread that awaited her every morning on the glass table. Claire even missed the smell of lemons from her mother’s apron. But, mostly, Claire missed that last afternoon.

(To Be Continued)


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