Beneath the Ash
by Ronald King
“Darling,” Alex sighed, his hands fumbling over the violent ridges of bark. Without the light of day to guide, he probed the cold, hard edges of the tree. Each eagerly demanded his attention, begged for his touch to unleash their stories.
The ash tree was a brother that had grown and changed in his family’s yard. He knew its stories, knew the hardships and pain that had been endured over the years. He reached past the natural grooves to search for the mark. Gasping, Alex’s finger caught the unnatural edge.
Bodily, he trembled with memory. Passion. Desire. Her arms wrapped tightly around him. A scent of blossoms and warm spring rain swallowed him. A taste as sweet as honey filled his mouth. His arms entwined behind her back, fingers tracing the smooth lines of her back to the grace in her neck. Alex was lost in the crystal blue depths of her eyes again. Lips brushed, teased, embraced and devoured beneath the boughs of ash.
His—their mark remained. “I will wait for you, darling. As I promised.”
The coldness of winter clawed beneath Alex’s skin as he gulped a deep breath. The ash rested solidly against his palm, comforting. Solemnly, he whispered, “I will always wait for you.”