Story: Garden Tree

Last night I dreamt I went to the back garden, and a tree was there. I wrote this short piece about it, the ending is a little odd because that was what happened in my dream:


One Tuesday, I woke. Late as usual. The sun had hit the right side of the pillow my head was sunk in. With a little manoeuvring I could rest my forehead in that lit patch. I filled myself with the courage needed to leave the room, taking in gulps; dust motes, a whiff of salvia. The very house seemed to creak as my bones bore me, realigned themselves. The stairs hurt, I won’t lie; each one a tooth in a mouth of toothache. I pulled them, wincing, coughing. When I reached the bottom it was easy to turn to the backdoor, the key in the doorknob turned. I was out, in a glare of colour, the garden. The purple hibiscus hurt my eyes, but the green welcomed me. Tinted with gold, it was a moving, electric blanket of leaves, weeds, stems.


I’d forgotten the tree was there, it looked old, it had been aging along with me. The lowest bough had a swing attached, blue plastic rope all twisted and fraying. The tree itself was sturdy looking, thick branched. I sat in its seat, rocked myself gently. When I was younger I loved swinging, I would go to the park by myself to launch my small body at the sky, and back again. So daring, to face the obstinate clouds with their rain full bellies. I began to remember how the ground would pull at your feet, you would kick away from it, hard at first. Now, I gently pressed into the earth and swung. The bough creaked, my body adjusted to the seat and I leaned in the swing. Rushing through the air, I gained momentum, old muscles aching. Just as I faced those demons, trotting out their promises of shade, of storms, closing their swollen, puffy flanks, something snapped and I fell. I lay there, and guilt borrowed into my chest. It made a perfect round tunnel to my heart, and began to munch. Like a slug that had found the core of a perfectly shaped cabbage.


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