The Loving TreebyMr. Unsexy©
The weathered cracks of an old man's crumpled face ran up to the sky, reaching gnarled branches and green leaves which blew with the gentle wind. Seated at the base of its trunk were two friends, a boy and a girl; twenty and twenty-one, respectively.
They were students at a nearby college. The two had been mingling for six months, and this had become their favorite spot. When they sat at the base of the tree together like this, they would talk for hours. They both adored nature, and to them this was as nice as it got; sitting against the massive tree and enjoying each other's conversation in a large empty meadow. Today they were smoking. They did that every now and then with one another, and as the smoke swayed upward it caressed against the tree's trunk.
Slowly the tree came to life, and immediately recognizing the sweetly sour odor, excitement came over him. He looked down and sure enough, there they were. The tree loved it when they came to visit him. He loved to listen to them talk, and he loved to watch them. They were his only friends, and they had no idea. The tree didn't see many people in his green open space, but when he did they were usually just passing through. He often sensed unhappiness from them. Though they could move around at will and the tree could not, he was never resentful or bitter. He was always cheerful.
Still, he had to admit that he could get very lonely. He was firmly planted in the middle of a green meadow, and nobody cared to spend time with him. That is, until recently, until this lovely pair befriended him. It wasn't with anyone, anything else but this boy and girl that the tree really felt human happiness. This was how humans are supposed to interact, he thought. They listened to each other happily, they had no greed but for the other's company. And they were in love, but they didn't know that yet.
Every other day they would come and sit underneath the tree, and he reveled in their company. They loved to talk about art, about philosophy, and the tree took such delight in listening to them. They spoke in a way with which he had no familiarity; with enthusiasm. They were of the same pleasant disposition as the tree; they didn't speak negatively and they were never upset. He didn't have any real grasp of what was boring or interesting, he just loved everything they had to say. Their voices hit his bark and reverberated inside his trunk, all the way up to his skyward branches and through his rustling leaves. As far as he was concerned, this was heaven.
"Did you hear about Professor Van Doren?" the girl asked.
"Yeah, and that girl," the boy answered, chuckling.
"It's not funny!" she snapped. "That's abusive physical contact."
Here they went again. The tree loved this; they could debate for minutes or for days, and he would listen intently to every word. He didn't know who was right, but it didn't matter. He could tell that the boy and girl didn't care either. They were wonderful like that.
The boy laughed again. "It's a man's first amendment right."
"Shut up," she laughed back. "Nowhere in the constitution does it say anything about it being okay for a guy to pinch a girl's ass just because he feels like it. That's how most men are, though.. they just see women as sex objects."
"No way," he protested. "If anything, women see men as sex objects. If they didn't they wouldn't wear all that makeup and perfume, and not to mention skirts, shoulder baring tops... they just see men as animals and think they can manipulate them using sex. You don't think so?"
She gave him a gentle shove and they shared more laughs, bathing in the sunlight which crashed through the tree's leaves. That's how they always were together, and the tree felt so privileged to witness it, to be their friend.
Soon autumn approached, and while his thin branches grew scant, his boy and girl still came to see him. There was an afternoon in particular when the tree saw something downright elating; the boy and girl clumsily rose from the points at which his roots would bury themselves into the soil(he loved it when they sat there). They were going to go their separate ways, and they gave each other a familiar look. By now the tree had memorized their movements: the boy's hands would be in his pockets with his head sinking slightly in between his shoulders, looking up at her. She would look back, her hands clasped in front of her, her head cocked gently to the side. They would share a warm smile, and soon one would either nod their head or wave their hand, and the other would mimic the action. Their eyes seemed to glow with eagerness, like they couldn't wait to see each other again. This was when they would say goodbye. But this time something different happened; the boy walked to her and opened his arms wide to either side, and the girl opened hers. Then they wrapped themselves around each other, her head resting on his shoulder and his atop hers. They were holding each other tightly, and while this only lasted for a moment, the tree was blown away.
All night the tree thought about it, listening to the singing of the crickets and the applause of the wind. He knew that they loved each other, and he pondered the meaning of that sort of embrace between two humans. He was familiar, thanks to his friends of course, with the concept of a soul, an inner entity within all people which is their pure being, their essence. He imagined them together again, and this time he thought about their souls. That maybe they loved each other so much they wanted to press themselves together, so hard that their very souls could touch just beneath their shells. Oh, how he wished he could do that! He too felt much love, and he longed to express it, to show his friends that he cared as well.
He understood. More so than most humans, he felt. He remembered cartels of girls passing him, giggling about boys, warning not to give anything up easily. Or clumps of boys bragging about girls, talking about waiting to call them. They didn't understand. The tree knew that no such fickle rules existed in love; his boy and girl had shown him that. It wasn't necessary to control anything, just to love. To be honest and faithful. It was so simple, he thought.
The next day, while the tree listened to them as happily as always, he noticed the tone of their conversation taking a new turn. Just listening to them gave him a light, fluttering feeling and he knew what was happening.
"What was your favorite story when you were little?" the girl asked the boy.
"Little Red Riding Hood. I was perverted even then."
"Haha what are you talking about?"
The boy turned to face her. "Okay look - you've got this young girl, probably around eighteen or nineteen, in this skimpy red outfit prancing along in the woods with a basket."
"Oh of course," he smiled. "That's how I've always pictured it."
"I guess I can see what you're talking about.. then the predatory wolf comes out.."
"Yeah, I wouldn't have wasted my time going to the grandmother's cottage though. I would've nailed her right there."
The tree watched them with deep fascination; they had never had this sort of conversation before. He could tell because the energy between the two was something new, something unrecognizable to him. Even their eyes showed a new feeling, they way that they were looking at each other as they spoke was speaking a whole new language, one the tree was not yet used to. They contained a pure honesty, the type found in letters never meant to be read. He watched them bring their faces closer, and he watched their lips touch.
The very moment when their mouths made contact, their eyes closed, their hands reaching out for each other, if the tree could have exhaled he most certainly would have with great earnest. He was so happy; the very beings he loved the very most were showing him what human love was. They bared themselves for each other before him, and the tree watched entranced. It almost made the tree sad that this was something he could never do himself, but the beauty of it was so overpowering that all he could do was watch jubilantly as the boy and girl made love on the ground beneath him. The tree was not covetous though; he loved their love and he was thankful.
After that, they were always very close. The girl would rest on the boy's chest and he would read poetry aloud. The tree watched their hands wander over the other's bodies and looked to his immovable, gnarled branches; he wished he could do the same. He wanted so badly to thank them for all they had shown him; to display his own affection.
A week passed. The tree was enjoying the sun littered meadow and suddenly he saw the girl approach, with a very curious look about her. She was dressed in a small red skirt and hood, and she carried a basket. Her eyes and smile exuded coyness as she came to the tree. Then he saw the boy come, walking slowly, almost creeping to her.
"Well hey there, little girl.. where are you headed?"
"Oh, I'm going to my grandmother's house.. she's very ill."
Ah, the tree thought. They're playing a game.
They talked for a while further before he knocked the basket from her hand. Taken aback, the tree watched as the boy ran his hands lustily over her body. She turned, so her back was to him, and she fell forward, her palms hitting the jagged bark on the tree's trunk. Her hand sent shockwaves through him; a certain intense energy he never had been taught. A shiver ran through his trunk and branches as she arched her back, bent over against the tree as he lifted the girl's skirt, pulling her panties down her spread legs.
The tree watched them with zealous wonder, observing the contorted looks on their faces, the moans of the girl, the way he was grabbing at her. They were very odd indeed, he thought. But that was exactly why he loved them.
He didn't see his friends for a while after that day; he waited a long two weeks to see them again. When he saw them coming, he was overjoyed. Overjoyed, that is, until he saw their faces. They didn't look like their normal happy selves. And they were carrying heavy looking silvery links.
Once they got to the tree they wrapped them around him, and he felt the cold steel graze against his bark. It tickled slightly and the tree was slightly taken aback by their forcity. They then locked themselves against the tree, and he was mildly perplexed.
That was when he saw the men. They wore yellow hats and dirty shirts, and they had mechanical weapons and a large robotic beast. Then it occurred to him; these men hated the tree. They wanted to be rid of him, he who had done nothing to them. He had never even met these men, and they wanted to get rid of him.
But his friends wouldn't allow it. His dear, dear friends, they came to his aid. The tree felt a strong gushing sensation in his trunk at these thoughts; they did love him back. They knew what they meant to him and they were showing that they felt the same; even the men with their buzzing weapons seemed small at this point. Everything the tree had thought of the boy and girl was true, and he was brimming with joy.
If only he could do the same, he thought. If only he could gesture in return. He looked at his two longest branches and concentrated on them. He dedicated every bit of his will to them, and he saw them start to move. Their resistance eventually gave way as his energy gained more momentum, the branches coming closer to his friends. This was so exciting for the tree; he could prove to them that he was capable of love just as they were. They would be so proud, so pleased.
The tree's branches were now near their faces, and the tree's excitement was almost unbearable. He was going to hold them, just as he'd seem them do with each other so many times before. They may even feel compelled to return it, he thought. He glowed brightly until the girl screamed.
What was this?
The boy too now, was screaming. He grabbed the girl, shielding her with his body, as though the tree were some wicked fiend. His friends, his best friends, they were afraid of him. The tree did not understand; he only wanted to reciprocate their expression of love. They had betrayed him. The treasure trove of love within the tree had been gutted. All the warmth which he'd held inside crumbled, and he felt frail enough to blow away with the wind.
He didn't even notice the men running to him. Nor did he feel when their buzzing blades cut into his branches. They fell free to the ground, and the tree could only watch as the boy and girl freed themselves and ran from him. In horror. They had rejected him because he loved them.
The tree felt nothing as the men killed him, his life had already been taken. He bitterly wondered why he'd been so eager to accept these humans as his friends, to believe their lies. The last thing he saw was the sky; he couldn't bear to look at them again.