The Tallest Oak Tree in All of Lake Oswego

Reads: 455  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story about former lovers.

She sat beneath a tall, twisting oak tree on a park bench looking up and admiring it, when he came. Hello, he said. Hello, she replied. How are you? How do you expect, he sat down beside her on the bench. With nothing to say, she began to look up once more. What are you looking at, he asked while following her gaze. The tree, she said. Why? Because it’s beautiful. There are millions of oak trees. He lowered his gaze. There are millions of people, she replied. People aren’t oak trees. On the contrary, she said. Oak trees aren’t people. People have personalities, he said. And feelings. She looked at him. Please don’t be upset, she said. He looked at her for a moment, meeting her gaze, then threw down his head and looked at the ground once more. People care for one another, he said gently. Oak trees cannot hurt one another. They are still and only create. She paused, looking up at the branches. They are only beautiful. He began to mumble and make faces at the ground. I’m sorry, she said. For what? For not being an oak tree. I never wanted an oak tree just like I never wanted a dog. You never wanted much, she said briskly. He became mute. She began to look at the scenery. It seems to be a nice day. He grunted. They sat in silence once more, not knowing exactly what to say. He looked up from the ground and examined the branches as she looked around the park. It is nice. What? The tree. Oh, she said. Yes, of course. That’s what I was saying. But it’s still not the same to me. Well, of course not. It grew up. But still nice, right? I guess so. He looked at her and she at him. She smiled a little, he forced a grin. Then they both looked away. There is also the grass and the dirt. Those are not beautiful, he said. I think they are all beautiful. I think you are wrong. She did not respond. He looked at her sit with her arms crossed and regained his composure. But I do like the tree. Just this tree, she asked. I don’t know, he said. I’ve never really looked at any others. I have, she said. He became flustered. You would. I have, she said harshly. She turned away from him and looked at the ground. I’m sorry, he said. She did not look back at him. He put his hand on her shoulder. She took his hand and turned back to him. It’s fine, she said. She looked into his eyes. He looked down. No, it’s not fine. He paused, releasing her hands and pulling back. I don’t like the tree. The tree gives you life. I don’t like it. It helps you survive. I don’t like it. It gives you shade from the warm sun and air to breathe. It gives food to the animals. It blows in the wind and looks beautiful captured in paintings and photographs. The tree is a wonderful thing. I don’t like the oak tree, he said again. She pushed her lips together. But... But nothing. I don’t like it. He looked up at the oak. Are you still upset? Of course I am, he said. People don’t just forget, you know? Just like this tree will remember. And what will the tree remember? Those who do not appreciate its beauty. He looked at her eyes as he stood up. Kneeling down at eye level he said goodbye and turned to the distance. She sat on the bench and began to cry. Slowly, she lifted her head to the great oak above and sat.

Submitted: February 13, 2011

© Copyright 2023 ksteinba. All rights reserved.