Author: Eoin Carney Published: Oct, 2022
I like to wonder about what goes on behind closed doors. Specifically, behind her closed doors.
She never comes home at the same time. I often have to spend hours waiting for her, imagining all kinds of things. Sometimes she brings men over for dinner. They never stay the night.
She has jet-black hair and a crooked, kind smile.
She knows who I am too. Maybe even guesses that I watch her. Sometimes, she brings me water and, in exchange, I give her apples.
I already know what she thinks of me. She thinks I stick out in all the wrong places. That I’m unkempt. That I might be handsome if I stood straight and tall like the trees near city hall. Still, there’s something in me that she finds attractive. Some kind of dedication and stability. I seem to have deep roots. And the apples I give her aren’t half-bad. That’s what she thinks.
I waited all day for her as the rain beat pieces off me. She finally came home after eleven and she looked tired. Do you have a new job, my dear? A new lover?
She can see me standing in the rain, looking ghastly. Still crooked, but crooked in a way that bends toward her. Her new job is killing her. I don’t know if she’ll be able to pay the rent this month, let alone keep the heat on.
How is it that she can be so kind? I watched her as she cooked for two yesterday evening - one portion for her, and one which she brought out to the homeless woman that stays down the road. You can’t afford it! You’ll die. You’re struggling enough as it is.
How is it that she can be so deceptive? I only ever see one side of her, the real her is behind a closed door. A great distance separates us, and I don’t know how to cross it.
Her kindness…it even extends to my wretched level. A brief period of Autumn sun in this miserable country, and she came out to me. Yes. To visit me. She brought a book and we read it together. A deep kindness, a sensitivity beyond the human. It was the happiest I’ve ever been. She laughed as she read.
I’m have no apples left to give her.
In the cold, wet of December, she finally ran out of heating oil. I watch her shivering through her window. I long to be inside with her, to wrap my arms around her and keep her warm.
It’s midnight now, and the rain hasn’t let up all day. I’m as leafless and bare as the day I first popped my head up from underground. I’m not cold though, I know how to handle the rain.
She appeared before me a little after one in the morning. I caught a glimpse of the axe she held in her left hand as she approached me, her feet covered in mud and her hair wet and sticking to her face. She came right up to me, reached out her trembling hand and touched me. My skin must have felt so rough against her soft, wet fingers.
She apologized softly, to no one in particular, and drove the axe deep into my trunk. With each blow, I felt a deep pain and sadness, because I knew the girl was killing me. Yet, even then, I forgave her and loved her in my heart. I knew she didn’t chop me down because she was wicked or cruel, but because she was cold and she needed my warmth, even if it destroyed me.
Now, I lie in pieces and in a basket, next to her roaring fire. I look up at the girl as she sheds silent tears and writes in her diary about how she plans to go plant a new tree in the morning. In the soft firelight, her face looks more beautiful than I had ever imagined. I long to reach out and touch her.
I have only a few more evenings with her, and then I will be gone forever, turned to ash and thrown onto the city streets. I try to enjoy his time with her, but can’t help feeling sad that it will be over soon.
I pray that in another life we will meet again, and that I can be stronger for her, and tall and straight and beautiful, and keep her warm always.