Happy Belated V-Day


1. Then, as quickly as his journey had begun, he found himself at a home. He did not enter. Instead, he wound his way around on its broken, weed-covered walkway to the backyard. A short chain link fence guarded the sparse lawn, a closed but unfastened gate beaconed him inward. He strangely realized that he had smoked his last cigarette. Inside the gate, he stood and observed in the pale yellow light from that which was cobbled to the rear of the house, attempting to illuminate the yard but instead casting only shadows across the blades. Nature was on the take in this penal system, but it struck a good balance-backyards, he thought, should have a foot in the wild. He then noticed the tree. It stood directly in the middle of the yard, stoic in its minisculality.

2. He took to the tree. It looked familiar to him, yet only familiar, not identifiable. It's tiny, barren branches reached out into the night like the gutted homes of his neighborhood's skyline. And yet, he found himself, step by slowly-strode step, next to the tree.

3. He knew that he was to care for it, and he did, yet he had the feeling that it was actually caring for him. He spoke only briefly to it that evening, but would return, never too infrequently, yet somehow not often enough. He brought cups of water, biscuits, cheese, and would share them while they conversed-he in hushed tones, she in such mysterious silence as to render God quantifiable. His offerings were always accepted with grace, his trip back from the spot shorter than that there.

4. Eventually, spring came and with it a single green leaf bud on a single spindly branch. Its bits spread slowly like a hand opening for a surprise, eyes clamped shut, mouth quiveringly open. The man realized at that moment that he did not know what to say or do anymore.