By Roger Dale Trexler
On the day she left, I planted the tree. I brought the poor, feeble twig home from work at the Conservation Department to a barren house.
It wasn’t supposed to survive. It did.
I remember thinking that the tree symbolized my love for her. I told her as much; she laughed. “You’re an idiot, Craig,” she said in that smug tone she developed after she ran off with the other man. “You’re a goddamned idiot! A tree? What kind of idiot plants a tree to symbolize his love for someone?”
“I thought you’d understand? I thought you cared for me?”
“Tree hugging idiot!” She shook her head and walked away.
She went to him.
That was ten years ago. The tree flourished. Every morning, I saw it out the window. It reminded me of her, the gentleness of who she used to be.
When she cared about me.
But, that was long ago.
Now, I stare out the window, the telephone still in my hand. Tears are falling down my cheek and dripping onto the cold metal. I can’t look down at it. Not yet.
A car wreck. Head-on. She died instantly, they said. It’s a small comfort to a man who still loves her.
I cry harder. Soon, I’ll look down at the saw. I’ll use the handsaw to cut it down. I wouldn’t destroy my love for her with a chainsaw. It’s too impersonal.
And, I did love her so.