The Lonely Tree
by Wayne Scheer
Jack stared at the lonely tree at the edge of his property, recalling the tree house he had built for his two daughters. Ellen, older by a year, loved to pretend she was a bird flying off to new worlds, while Susan outgrew the house the day it was built. She preferred solid ground.
Later, Jack built a swing under the tree. He remembered sharing it with Susan, who asked his blessing to marry Alan as soon as she graduated high school. She was too young, Jack worried. But he gave in. What else could he do? They married under the tree while Jack fretted over threatening skies. None of that mattered, now that his Little Susie and Alan had grown children of their own.
Ellen eventually flew off to explore the world. When she returned, they sat on the swing, shaded by the tree, and she told him wondrous stories about her adventures in Turkey where she had worked as a Peace Corps volunteer.
He was proud of his daughters and wished his wife had known them as grown women. The two girls were ten and eight when he and Marianne sat beneath the stoic tree and cried over the news Dr. Harris had delivered that afternoon.
Jack stared at the old tree at the edge of his property. It was autumn now. The tree would soon offer no shade, and its leaves, as scattered as an old man's memories, would be little more than a nuisance.