Saturday, February 23, 2008

Entry #30

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.

Before him.

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.


DBA Lehane said...

It would be almost fitting if her car crash had been a head on into a tree. Thoroughly enjoyed this piece!

Unknown said...

This is a touching and poignant piece of writing which really drew me in. I love the use of metaphor - I just wish he didn't have to cut down the tree, that the tree, like his love, could have stood as a memorial to what he felt and what might have been.
Beautifully done.

24crayons said...

I think he should have left the tree!

Vesper said...

A very well written piece, but I also feel the tree should have been left alive - for remembrance...

rel said...

It's like cutting of an offending arm that has committed a crime.
Funny how trees symbolize relationships.
Nice job.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ditto. Nice one.

Beth said...

I was thinking that also -- head on into this tree.

PJD said...

After he cuts down the tree, he'll use it for firewood to keep him warm through the cold winter?

Nah. Too sappy. (no pun intended)

Unlike the others who think she should have had a car crash into a tree, I think she should have had a skiing accident where she crashes into a tree. Yeah, she deserves it.

I dunno, I don't have much patience for spurned people who stick with unrequited love for ten years.

Well written, though.

SzélsőFa said...

I would have saved the tree, too. Now it is a story about an utterly selfish stupid person.
A well written one, btw.

bluesugarpoet said...

Roger - I actually like the fact that he cut down the tree. Only in her death does he find much needed relief, and keeping the tree is a constant reminder of her mean and spiteful reaction to his devotion. By removing the tree, it gives him permission to move on. I love how he wants to even do that delicately. Nicely written!

Sarah Hina said...

A bittersweet tale. She might not have deserved his love, but the fact that he kept on loving her is noble.

I liked the ending. Well done. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks everybody. An interesting cross-section of comments. Believe it or not, I pondered on the ending to the story for a day or two, then realized that the ending I gave it was the proper one. He planted the tree to remember her, hoping someday she'd dig her head out of her ass and realize he loved her. Once she died, that was something he knew he'd never have, so the tree became even more a crutch than it was already. I had to go.

Sarah, congrats on the Amazon thing, by the way.

Roger said...

It had to go.


Anonymous said...

His planting the tree, at first, had a sweetness about it, but cutting down a flourishing tree when she died seemed unfair... but that is also what made this story work so well for me... human emotion, beautiful and not so beautiful mixed in one person.

Anonymous said...

This is great - you absolutely drive home the emotion here (forgive me, no pun is intended). Lovely touch with the final comment about the handsaw vs. the chainsaw.

Anonymous said...

Roger, I was glad for your comment explaining why you made that choice, because I felt that the writing led more to leaving the tree up - this sort of blind faith she'd return to him, as he'd believed all those years. But your explanation makes sense.

Roger said...

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and thoughts. You're all winners in my book.

Anonymous said...

i really like this. it moved me much! very well written!

Anonymous said...

The tree was his hope she would come back. The way that he clings to her is hard and real. Well done.

Aine said...

I'm torn between finding him noble or foolish. Clearly, he was in love with his version of her, not the true her. But it is sad that she never recognized what she could have had with him. I'm glad he cut down the tree so that he can move on.