Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Entry #3

The Comfort Tree
by Sandra Seamans


Ira Sway leaned back against the familiar trunk of the ancient oak, drawing comfort from her strength. He'd played here as a child, hiding in the coolness of her leaves, knowing she'd catch him if he took a tumble through her branches. Today he was falling hard, spiraling downward, praying she'd catch him.

From the knoll where he sat Ira looked out across the gentle sweep of his land. Peace filled his heart as he watched his Holsteins grazing across the spring grass, until his gaze drifted toward the house. His house, where his wife rested in her lover's arms after whispering words of passion she'd never whispered for Ira.

Catherine grew up yearning for the excitement of city life, but Ira loved her and to his own shame convinced her she'd be happy with him. With the faith of a blind man, Ira believed that once they were married she’d learn to love his way of life. She screamed her hatred louder with each passing day. He’d begged her to start a family, believing children would bring her contentment. Catherine refused, choosing instead to invite a lover into the silence that swirled around their crumbling marriage.

The tree trembled as a harsh wind rattled through her branches. Ira lifted the gun from his lap. Only death could break the hold Catherine had on his heart. As his blood seeped into the ground, the mourning oak lifted her branches skyward begging the heavens to grant peace to Ira's ravaged soul.

31 comments:

Sarah Hina said...

Sandra, your tree reminds me a little of Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree." That tree, too, would do anything for its mate. Unfortunately, it can never do enough.

Very poignantly observed piece. The first and last paragraphs, in particular, were quite lyrical and wrenching. Very well done.

Remiman said...

Sandra,
Wow, and wow again. I like the emotion strung out from Ira's heart!
rel

Mystico said...

Oh dear.
Sometimes we have to think long and hard before we marry our other half.

paisley said...

excellent closing.. i feel sorry for people who have no power of their own.. who give themselves so freely to someone else,, and retain nothing ... you pained a portrait to that type of person here.....

JLB said...

It's always a pleasure to read your work Sandra. This piece has a good pace and I love the deep relationship you describe between man and tree!

ChristineEldin said...

Sad and compelling. A very good read.

Jaye Wells said...

Like Sarah, I was thinking of the Giving Tree when I read this. The last line is a twist to the heart.

Bernita said...

Psychologically consistent that Ira would strike inward, not outward.

DBA Lehane said...

Full of emotion and a gut wrenching end to one of life's nice guys

sandra seamans said...

Thanks so much everyone! As soon as I looked at Jason's photo the title popped into my head and the story just evolved from there. So glad everyone liked it!

Beth said...

Poor Ira. I like that it feels real. Two people who will never find contentment because they're looking in all the wrong places.

Missy said...

Such a lyrical ending to what was likely a life of discord. I agree with Bernita. You have created a character that seems very real and consistent with his nature. Great piece.

Ello said...

Wow - in 250 words you made my heart hurt for Ira. This was truly well done. The ending is poignant and perfect.

Vesper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vesper said...

So beautiful, despite its deep sadness...

pjd said...

Wow, we have similar themes, similar outcomes, but totally different characters. Nicely written, and it's hard not to like him at the end and actually feel sorry for her, in a way.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Wonderfully done as always, Sandra.

BernardL said...

intricately written, hard to accept piece. I wanted to reach in, grab Ira, and shake him.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

A beautiful story laced with poignancy and sadness. Simply but powerfully told. Well done!

SzélsőFa said...

An enourmous sadness comes through right from the ending of the first paragraph.
Ira was well portrayed.

bluesugarpoet said...

How many Iras (both men and women) I have known over the years - and you've captured the psyche perfectly with this piece. I love how you've weaved in the idea of the tree - how Ira wishes the tree to "catch" him physically, mentally. Secretly, though, I was hoping it would be the end to one of the other characters... Nicely written!

Patricia J. Hale said...

Fantastic use the picture, with the tree a character interacting in life and surviving Ira. Compelling.

r2 said...

Beautiful story, beautifully written.

Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

This is a beautiful story that both prepared me and totally surprised me with the last paragraph.

The last sentence will remain with me, I think.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the story,loved the line,
"..with the faith of a blind man.."

John McAuley

JaneyV said...

I'm writing this through tears. My heart breaks for Ira. Sandra, you write so movingly. I feel so angry with Catherine for "choosing instead to invite a lover into the silence that swirled around their crumbling marriage" but so happy with you for writing those lovely words.

Lovely, lovely piece.

sandra seamans said...

Thanks so much everyone!

Aerin said...

I agree with whomever said that it was a hard to accept piece. Well written and well characterized, but hard, nevertheless. There seem to be a lot of entries about unrequited love, and I can't quite get my brain or my heart around them. I want to shake Ira, too, and I feel sympathy for Catherine. Weird, huh?

Well written, very evocative.

jason evans said...

The visual, camera-like movement was vivid and effective. It seems like neither one was equipped to save the other.

Aine said...

"His house, where his wife rested in her lover's arms after whispering words of passion she'd never whispered for Ira."

Ouch-- this is so painful. Ira is very consistent in projecting an ideal onto both his wife and the tree. I feel sorry for him.

sandra seamans said...

One last thanks to everyone who commented on this story. And a big thank you to Jason and Aine for hosting all our stories and giving us such great inspiration.

I don't comment much but I always find this blog a comfortable and inspiring place to visit. Thank you.