It was the oldest tree in town, reaching seventy five feet into the sky and it enchanted Sally. Her first sight of it was when she was eleven, not quite as tall or grand but even then it had an endless reach toward the heavens – this glorious Sycamore. Trees always spoke to Sally and this one spoke in wonder. She longed to climb it and know its secrets and started to but skinned her knee in the attempt. Not because she wasn’t an agile climber of trees for Sally had conquered many but because of the tow-haired boy who surprised her by yelling, “Hey!”
The peeling bark of the old syc was merciless as she slid down its trunk. “Hey what? Look, you made me skin my knee!” She grimaced at the fresh blood and broken skin.
“That’s my tree and you can’t climb it!” The boy’s blue eyes matched the morning sky but there was a little danger there too.
Sally huffed off, feeling those eyes watch her until she disappeared from their view. His tree? He must have been one of those Halligan’s. They owned most of the town and truth be told she was trespassing whenever she visited her tree, the Syc. His tree?
But she could never stay away from it, though always on the look out for the blue-eyed boy, she visited her tree, her tree, every chance she got. That had a heart in its trunk left by a broken and removed bough, that had a dancing man and woman made of twisted branches at the top. And they weathered the seasons together – in Spring Sally sat beneath it and wrote poetry, in Winter she left bread crusts in the heart for the birds and squirrels who refused to go south, in Summer she clung to its shade and in Fall she collected its blazing leaves and pressed them in books. Yes, her tree. Her Syc.
And when Sally left home to discover her own life, she brought the Syc with her and kept it close in mind and heart, longing to feel the rough bark, smell its musky scent, feel its sway with the wind and time. It was a special place Sally could go to when life was cruel and uncaring. Her life had fallen away from the simplicity of home, love refused to oblige her, work refused to fulfill her and the sky was never blue enough, never the color of that boy’s eyes. “Come home,” Mom had written so many times in so many letters. Sally resisted that request for years until the story about her tree.
Mom sent a copy of it in a letter. “Look what they’ve done with your tree, Sally,” was all the letter said. The Halligans had parceled land to the town and a park was now the permanent home of her tree. Her Syc. And she had to go see it again. Go home. Leave the empty place of small city apartments, commuter trains and singles bars.
Sally sat in her car in wonder, parked on Main. The town had changed so much – but the tree never changed. It had only grown higher and stronger and she didn’t have to worry about the blue-eyed boy, the Halligan who once claimed ownership. She could climb it now and she would.
“What are you doing with that ladder?” Dad asked seeming to know what she had in mind.
“Never mind, Dad,” Sally said and pecked his cheek as she grabbed the keys to his truck.
“The town won’t let you climb it either,” he said as she started for the door, “They’re more strict than Will Halligan ever was.”
Sally stopped and turned. “Will Halligan?”
“The boy who made you skin your knee,” Dad said. “He’s still around, loves that damn tree as much as you do.” Dad giggled a little and shook his head. “Have fun, honey.”
The sun had left only traces by the time Sally got into the park and she drove the old pick-up right up to its trunk, next to the heart. She wrangled the ladder from the truck bed and rested it firmly against the Syc. “I will climb you now, my friend,” she said rubbing its bark and feeling giggles rising up from her eleven year old soul. And when she reached the top rung, Sally clung to the Syc’s trunk, still unable to find a foothold into its arms.
“Hey!” the man’s voice startled her and the ladder rattled.
Sally looked down and there he was, that boy, now a man – Will Halligan. And though there was only moonlight to illuminate his face, the eyes were still morning sky. “What?” Sally asked annoyed and embarassed that she couldn’t move without falling.
“You’re going to break your ass trying to do that, darlin’.” Sally heard the smile in Will Halligan’s voice.
“Go away, I’m busy,” she said. “And this isn’t your tree anymore, so just go mind your business.”
Will was already in the truck bed putting his hands on the ladder to steady it. “Okay, I’ve got you, you can come down now.”
Sally looked over her shoulder and down at Will Halligan who seemed to be enjoying the view a little too much. “Who said I want to come down? I’m going to climb this tree,” she insisted.
Will laughed and it was sweet and boyish, his laughter. “Well you’ll be there quite a while. You’re going to need a cherry picker to get up there. You want me to call Bert, I think he has one. Though I don’t know if he’ll come down here at this hour…”
Sally’s arms were aching from trying to keep her embrace on the massive trunk and her pride was slipping too. “You’re an ass,” she said. “Get out of my way, I’m coming down,” and she started her descent, secretly hoping he wouldn’t let go of the ladder.
“Okay darlin’,” Will said, “you’re fine, just keep coming,” and Sally felt his hand on the small of her back to steady her. Sally was thankful for the moonlight because it wouldn’t reveal the blush that rose from her toes and reached to her face.
“I’m fine now,” Sally huffed, “you can let go.” And they stood face to face in the truck bed, in the moonlight and the blue eyes no longer held danger but something else that frightened her more. “What are you looking at?”
Will jumped down from the truck bed and grinned. “Why do you love my old tree so much?” he asked.
“Why do you still call it your tree?” Sally retorted. “It’s not your tree anymore,” she pointed out.
“Darlin’, it will always be my tree,” his grin grew wider and Sally thought she saw a wink. “So, why do you love it? Tell me.
Sally stood in the truck bed looking down at Will and resisted the smile that forced itself on her face. “Because it is perfect, because it is glorious, because I could see everything from the top, if I could get there. Because it enchanted me from the very first time I saw it,” she whispered.
Will reached out his hand to Sally and she took it and came down to solid ground but never let go, and they stood in the moonlight, beneath the Syc, looking at each other for the longest moment. “What?” Sally finally asked.
“You enchanted me from the very first time I saw you.” His eyes were liquid sky and mirrored the stars.
PANTHER IS ENCHANTED HERE AND CHRISTINE’S ENCHANTEDNESS WAITS HERE
13 thoughts on “Enchanted – Theme Fridays”
A lovely story, Annie. Autobiographical in any way?
Thank you. The tree is real and the facts of the tree have been molded to fit the story in a fictional sense and of course there are parts of me in all my stories. So I’m not sure what the answer is to your question but that’s what I’ve got. 😉
What a beautiful beautiful beautiful story dear Annie. I loved it from ‘endless reach toward the heavens’
Its just perfect. I love how she just says ‘what’. aww! A perfect story with such an enchanted tree and words. I love the ending.
Thank you dear Annie.Its very exciting that the Panther has joined Themed Fridays.
Have a great weekend,
Thanks Di, I’m glad you loved it. I loved it too for so many reasons. Yes and we finally had a happy ending, eh? LOL.
Yep Panther is a great addition to our little fiction corner, isn’t she?
Have a great weekend too.
What a beautiful Friday morning for me. Very enchanting in so many ways.
Thank you all Three of you.
Me too, totally enchanting. Aren’t Fridays, great?
A fun story for a Friday! Thanks for sharing!!!
Jamie Grove – How Not To Write´s last blog post..Say Hello to Your Inner Critic and Write Faster
Hi Jamie and welcome to my little dive,
We love Theme Fridays around here – let’s us spread our wings a little. Glad you enjoyed it.
I loved it. I lived on a farm and had many trees I climbed and felt much the same as Sally. I had pecan, pear, poplar, chinaberry, but my most favorite was the mulberry tree. I’d sit there when the mulberries came ripe and eat them while I sat in it’s cradling limbs. It not only let me climb it, it fed me, too. Even the hurricane that hit in 1960 didn’t break it when the big cedars by my grandma’s house broke and fell in the strong winds. I was home recently and it’s still there. That’s why I liked your story.
Jim´s last blog post..What’s Been Happening
How’s it going? It’s interesting I think how trees have meaning to people, they have always enchanted me and I too, like and you, have climbed many a tree and have always loved being there looking down on the world – eating any fruit it had to offer. I also had Mulberry in my backyard when I was a kid which fed me and my siblings too. But my favorite climb in the yard was the crab apple tree that grew up out of the center of the patio and gave me a great bird’s eye view of what was happening in the neighborhood.
Thanks for reading.
Ahhhhh……that was beautiful! It’s interesting how our three stories have more of a common thread than just the word enchanted. Wonder, return to childhood and innocence. Way cool!
Urban Panther´s last blog post..Creative collaboration
Thanks. It is interesting how the threads do seem to interact from the themes. I love how that happens and yet too the takes are so different which is what makes it a lovely surprise. We’re so glad to have you on board, hope you want to stay with us for a very long while.
One last comment, if I may. I requested several years ago that when I die I wanted to be cremated and my ashes be put in under a new live oak so that I may become a part of that tree. Knowing that the remains of my body, its chemical makeup and such would be absorbed by the roots as the tree grew became a fascination to me. I would in a sense live on.
I’m glad I can come back here to read your imagination as it unfolds.
Jim´s last blog post..What’s Been Happening
My father had his ashes cast out over the harbor that he loved and ‘became’ part of the living earth again. It makes sense to me. Glad you enjoy coming back and reading. Thanks.
Another great post Annie. I used to “have” a tree too. But this one was dead. Dad wanted to cut it down and for years I wouldn’t let him – I know it sounds strange to be enchanted by a dead tree but the shape of its branches was amazingly beautiful. Everyone else looked at it and saw a dead tree, I can’t explain what I saw but it did fascinate me. I haven’t been there for a long time so maybe I need to go and see if its still there.
Welcome back! 😉
I totally understand what you mean about ‘your’ tree. I have found some dead trees amazingly beautiful, the shape, the form the final pose if you will can be exquisite. And I wonder too how something that is supposedly dead can emanate so much life in that way. It may all be a matter of perspective, eh?
so lovely, annie ..
you …… your writings …….. amazing. leavin’ me in awe.
Wow Ms. Red, what did I ever do to deserve such a lovely comment? Thanks sweetie, that means so much.
Now that’s some enchanting story, Annie. 🙂
Just charming and romantic. i’d love to see this expanded into a longer short story.
i like how your female characters are so fiery and heartfilled.
You know, I’m thinking a few of these theme friday ‘stories’ may expand into larger pieces. Maybe inadvertantly they really are all pieces of a whole, eh? I have to admit I loved this story and it came from the heart, truly. Thanks Chica, really thank you.
a charming love story on three levels.
Jade´s last blog post..ego
Thank you – I’m just curious, what are the three levels? 🙂