Tree of Life

The tree was ancient and massive, and Vera hated it.

 

She hated its stag-horned appearance, its massive hollow trunk that housed bats, foxes and other vermin, and she hated the way it stole the sun light from her little kitchen.

John had loved it and he had poo-pooed her desire to have it felled. Even when their son had fallen from it, breaking his arm. 

 

"It's not the tree’s fault," John had said. 

 

Even when she suspected village youths were using it as a hiding place to smoke and drink and goodness knows what else, he would still not countenance the idea of getting rid of it. 

 

But he was gone now. She was now in charge. She would speak to the farmer. Get him to chop it down. After all these years of suffering its presence it would be gone. She glared at it from her darkened window.

 

It stood on the far side of the narrow lane, defying her.

 

She flung her dish cloth into the sink and hobbled from the kitchen. She snatched her coat from its hook, dragged open her cottage door and tottered across the lane, struggling into her coat. She stopped in front of the tree. 

"You're coming down," she said gleefully. 

She frowned. Had she heard the tree groan? Was it still defying her? 

"Oh, yes, you are!"  

Yes, there it was again. A creaking moan, a defiant sound. 

She stepped closer, scowling with irritation. The tree towered over her small, frail figure. 

"You'll be down before the end of the week." 

The tree creaked at her. She scowled back. There was a tremendous crack. She looked up, saw the great branch crashing towards her. She screamed. The bought fell on her, crushed her. Above her lifeless body, a breeze set the leaves to a gentle, victorious dance.

copyright Martin Marais 2019
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