How she came to be like the old oak tree

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Nagel Photography/Shutterstock

Angel Oak Tree near Charleston, SC

She dragged items of all shapes and sizes;

cardboard boxes and plastic grocery bags held the paraphernalia of her past.

 

There were knicks in the mud where edges had caught on their way,

and murky footprints began to fill when the trickle of rainwater droplets

slid off the leaves of the oak tree standing high above.

 

When she went back inside to recover the mirrors,

she found herself flipping them upside down,

to drag them out the wooden porch,

just so she wouldn’t have to look at herself in the process.

 

She had watched herself destroy her life many times over,

but something about this was different.

There was nothing else in sight,

and she could no longer hear the rumbles of whispers from deep inside her—

voices that showed her the way.

 

So she hiked these mundane items down to the tree where it all began.

The tree of life which she had watched shrivel and rot over the years—

proof that no figure was mighty enough to weather under this sun.

 

And she began to sweat as the items, and her heart, grew heavy

under the weight of the ever-changing sky.

And she took no satisfaction or admittance of accomplishment, no,

she would never be more than this oak tree.

 

As the sun reached the exact middle of the sky,

and the old watch perched on the top of the pile clicked to read “12,”

she reached inside her pocket and revealed a lighter.

 

She remained still for a while,

and in unshakable serenity she turned the object over and over,

she wound it throughout her fingers until it felt like home to her palm.

She knew this next moment well,

had rehearsed it many times over,

and just like she had seen, she flicked the lighter twice until it held a flame.

She stared into it for a moment,

but quickly grew anxious for what was waiting for her

and turned her face downwards towards the remains of her life.

 

With no hesitation she held her hand out,

turned her palm over,

and released the lighter to fall alongside the fragments of her life—

to destroy them.

 

And as it burned she watched,

and she felt nothing but the freeing relief of numbness that ensued

once she let go.