The Tree

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just a man, chilling under a tree

Submitted: March 22, 2017

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Submitted: March 22, 2017



“Why did they show up? I spent a year, a goddamn year, trying to distance myself and then they just show up out of the blue? Why?”

“Dude. I don’t know, but could you move out of the way. You’re in my spot.” I had no idea what she meant. I was currently sitting under a tree across from a soccer field, which you can’t exactly claim as your own. It’s where I always went when the world was falling apart. The trunk of the tree was just wide enough to rest your back on, but not too wide as to make it uncomfortable. The leaves above made for some great shade and you had a perfect view of the sky. Ignoring your problems is easy when you’re trying to decide whether a cloud looks like a bunny or a gecko.

“What do you mean, ‘your spot’?”

“I mean it’s my spot. I come here once a week at the same time. It’s relaxing and the only thing that helps when I’m stressed out.”

I laughed a little at that. “I feel that.” I moved over a little bit so she could sit as well. She gladly accepted the space and sat down. We were a little closer together than either of us wanted to be, but neither was in the state of mind to care. Once it was obvious that neither of us wanted to break the ice, I bit the bullet for both of us. “So, what’s your name?”

“Why do you care?”

“Well, I figure that if both of us have claimed this spot, I should know who the co-owner is.”

She bit back a smirk as if she thought it’d make her look weak. “Mary, my name is Mary.”

Normally, I’d say something like, ‘That’s a pretty name’, but I could care less about being nice. “I’m O’Neil. Just call me Neil though.” She bit back another smirk, and I was determined to get her to smile. “What bullshit in life has got you down?”

Sadly, this was another failed attempt at getting a smile out of her. “I don’t really feel like talking about it with some dude I just met.”

“Fair enough. So I guess were just gonna sit here awkwardly until one of us decides to leave?”

“I guess so.”

So, that’s what we did for about five minutes. We sat underneath the tree wallowing in our despair. It wasn’t the most enjoyable activity, but it sure as hell beat wallowing by myself. I do enough of that already. Soon enough, five minute turned to ten minutes, turned to 20 minutes, turned to an hour and it was starting to get dark. Weirdly enough, I didn’t want it to end. It was comforting, in a strange way, that there was someone else here. There was another human being who took their despair and planted it at the foot of a tree.

“So, same time next week?”

This finally got a smile out of her. “Sure. Thanks.”


“Because it’s nice to know I’m not the only person who does this.”

“Agreed. Hopefully next week, we’ll actually talk about our problems.”

© Copyright 2019 Joshua Rowe. All rights reserved.

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