Tales to Tell

The old willow in the back yard was telling tales to the wind. Each gathering of tiny leaves like so many whispering wives at Saturday brunch.

So many stories to tell. Penknife scratches on withered bark; a most fitting testament. All those lives so very lived. The old tree knew a thousand thousand secrets.

The leaves brushed Cherry’s cheek. She found it safe here. Even though the branches muttered and moaned. “Run along little one”, the tree seemed to say, “there’s weather coming”.

Her eyes were still wet. Just as he’d left her. He was always leaving as it happened. Happy go lucky wanderers aren’t meant for keeping. But he always came back with such an angelic smile. It was easy to forget.

Or impossible to forget. It had been just over the ridge in that beat up car of his that he’d had her first. Sweaty Sunday night after some long lost picnic. The confident come hither smile and devious mind. She never could resist such brave ideas.

He was forever seeming to ask too much; and also too little. The more he had asked the more she had wanted to give. Only to be left standing with hands open in the rain.

What was this wet in her eyes anyway? Just the rain perhaps. Tears never served much purpose.

And yet this time was different. He hadn’t left as such, not this time. Been driven off by that same wind that was now being such a bother to this tree. Helpless tool in the hands of fate. To be remarkable is not to be invincible.

The sun had set a while back and it had gotten chilly, but rather than retreat she merely pulled her jacket a little tighter. Hugged the tree a little closer. It seemed to sigh for her in the rising moonlight.

In a most unexpected change of habit he had asked her to wait this time. No quick disappearing act to leave her as speechless as he. Rather than that just a simple request, albeit still delivered in careless offhanded prose.

“Wait here, I’ll be back”.

Yet she knew, and he knew she knew, that he really couldn’t say for sure.

So here she sat. Just her and the jaded old tree, weeping its endless sympathies. The bright moon creeping into every crevice of the surrounding terrain. Leaving nowhere to hide.

Was it hours. Was it days. She felt she had dozed but wasn’t sure. The darkness was everywhere except for that moon, and it seemed that day might never come again.

“Wait here, I’ll be back”.

The wind still whispered what his voice had spoken. As though to command her.

So she stretched. And she shivered. And she closed her eyes tight to the brightness she could no longer bear. But she did not flinch.

Happy go lucky wanderers are sometimes worth waiting for. And sometimes the only course you know is the one you’re given.

It could have been forever, or it could have been an instant. Thinking back on it she really couldn’t tell. All she would remember after was the sun creeping up in the sky.

And his smile.

“You waited”, he laughed. But then of course he would laugh. He was laughter and love brought to life. And here he’d come back. Just as he said.

For long seconds it was as if she’d grown roots with the tree, bonded to it for all eternity. But the willow was having none of that. Branches brushing her cheek with more urgent insistence.

“Off you go”.

Still whispering. Still telling tales. Still saving secrets.

And here then was one more for its trove of treasure. Eyes wet from a different kind of rain. The kind that heals.

Arms and legs winding like branches entwining. Wordless questions that need no more answers. Sighs and sounds and breathlessness.

A withered old tree still thinking its own twisted thoughts. That waiting is naught but a silly fool’s crusade. As its tales could endlessly tell.

But on this day, at least on this day, fate was kind.

Copyright @ 2014 Borntodance

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