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.