10 comments

Jul 24, 2020

Drama

Starlight filters through the leaves of the massive old oak tree. A refreshing breeze cuts through the heavy summer air. Here I lie on the moist grass, midnight dew soaks into my clothes, but I don’t notice. I gaze at the stars, millions of them; scattered throughout the heavens. I know they are always there, but tonight is different.


The night sky, black as a raven’s wing, makes each tiny star shine like a jewel. I remember a song my mother used to sing to me when I was a kid—Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are? Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky... In an instant, I appreciate all the insignificant things in my life.


I make poor choices in my life; it’s my thing. I’m impulsive, irrational, and reckless. I never think about the consequence of my actions or who might get hurt. This time I took a risk that changed my life forever. I can’t blame anyone but myself for the outcome.


Luke, my fiance, broke up with me today. It was my fault; I started the argument. I accused him of spending too much time with his friends. I told him he was self-centered and not worth marrying. I cussed him, threw my engagement ring at him, and stormed out. Honestly, I wanted all of his attention. I was jealous and selfish. 


After the fight with Luke, I wanted to go out. I wanted to have fun. My best friend, Cass, agreed to go with me for a girls’ night out. I wanted to drink away the pain. I didn’t care where. We ended up at a sleazy bar outside of town. 


So tonight I drank away a lot of pain—pain I didn’t even remember. I wanted to forget Luke and forget that I screwed up the best thing that I had in my life. Cass begged me not to leave the bar with the guy in the beat-up blue truck, but I didn’t listen. I never listened to anyone. 


I want to call Cass and tell her how sorry I was for taking off without her. I yearn to hear Luke’s voice, to work things out with him. I need to call my mother and let her know I’ll be okay. I think of a thousand words I want to say to the people I love.


The old oak is ablaze with crimson and gold. There’s a crispness to autumn that ushers in thoughts of bonfires, toasted marshmallows, and hayrides. With each gust of wind, the tree reveals more of its branches. I lie on the damp, frosty ground surrounded by a blanket of fallen leaves. The sweet, musty smell of wet earth and decay drifts through the air. The clear blue-black sky holds a brilliant orange moon. I see the moon, And the moon sees me; God bless the moon, and God bless me. I gaze at the flickering stars.


Thanksgiving will be in a few weeks. My mother invariably makes too much food; we eat leftovers for a week. I want to smell the aroma of her fresh-baked rolls, homemade pumpkin pie, and sweet potato casserole. I want to play football in the yard with Luke and our friends. I want to sit in front of the fireplace with Cass and string popcorn garland for the Christmas tree.


Here I lie on the frozen ground, gazing through the naked branches of the old oak, gnarled and weathered by time. Its limbs creak under the weight of ice. The birds left weeks ago, flying away to a warmer, more welcoming place. The sky is blank and silent; gray clouds hide the stars tonight. A hazy moon tries to peak through the thick veil. I sympathize with the heavens as I lie here abandoned and empty. The biting wind drifts snow over me like a winter quilt. 


I want to go Christmas shopping for the perfect gift. I want to ice skate in the park with Cass. I want to share a cup of hot cocoa with my mother and watch old movies. I want to celebrate New Year’s Eve, watching fireworks over the lake, and sharing a long, tender kiss with Luke.


With renewed vitality, the old oak awakes. Tender leaves cover its once bare limbs. A gentle shower washes away the remnants of winter. The world around me springs to life. The birds are back, making their nests in the shelter of the old tree. Here I lie on the rain-soaked ground and gaze at the blue-black sky. The moon is full and bright, alone amongst all the stars. 


I want to have an afternoon picnic with Luke and stroll in the park. I want to go bike riding with Cass and have lunch at our favorite bistro. I want to spend the weekend at the lake, lounging on the dock reading a book. I want to plant spring flowers with my mother and hear her sing to me.


Moonlight streams through the thick leaves of the old oak tree. Here we are again, old friend. Ironic, you were stark and barren a few months ago now you are full and green, and I lie here nothing more than a pile of bleached bones. The old oak sways in the summer breeze. I have solace in knowing the magnificent oak will not abandon me.


I want to tell Cass what a best friend she was to me. I want to tell Luke how much I loved him and take back all the hurtful things I said to him. I want to hear my mother sing to me one last time. I want to go back to the night I left in that beat-up blue truck. 


Here I lie, under the darkness of the old oak, gazing into the star-filled sky. Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight. But not all the wishes in the world could undo my fatal mistake.

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10 comments

Rhonda Hyder
12:30 Aug 28, 2020

Jan, this is such a beautifully written story! Your descriptive passages are captivating. The ominous build up through subtle repetition is enthralling. I could hardly wait to get to the end to see if my suspicions were to be proven correct. I was even tempted to skip down to the end to see if I was correct. I didn't. Funnily enough, I actually wrote a short story some while ago that was a bit similiar to this one, but I wrote it from the point of view of a growing sapling that grew over the bones of the murdered girl. The tree refuse...

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Jan H
16:16 Aug 28, 2020

Rhonda, thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. It made my day to see you wanted to read more of my stories. Your story sounds amazing. I would love to have been able to read it.

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Rhonda Hyder
07:32 Aug 29, 2020

JUST FOR YOU JAN H! The Secret The baby rabbits who had heard the piercing screams late that afternoon had scuttled back to the comfort of their mother’s warren. The grey sky, witness to what had happened, turned its face away and was obscured by the darkening clouds of a late summer storm. The birds in the forest were stirred into a fearful cacophony of shrieks and took flight to roost far away. A new green shoot on the forest floor, traumatised by the event, shrank back, repulsed. The night came softly and saw what had happened. Th...

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Jan H
13:26 Aug 29, 2020

Rhonda, this is so sweet of you to let me read your story. This was so sad and beautiful at the same time. The POV from the tree works so well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

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Keerththan 😀
06:03 Aug 10, 2020

Short and cute story. Love the way you write. The descriptions were great. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my story "The secret of power?"

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Jan H
12:54 Aug 10, 2020

Thank you Kerththan, I appreciate the comments. And I don't mind reading your story, I'll do that right now.

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Deborah Angevin
11:41 Jul 31, 2020

Uh, I loved the way you write the descriptions. It conveys the imagery well! Would you mind checking my recent story out, "A Very, Very Dark Green"? Thank you!

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Jan H
12:21 Jul 31, 2020

Thank you, Deborah. I appreciate the comment and for reading the story. I'd be happy to read your story.

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Charles Stucker
14:10 Jul 25, 2020

When I saw the words "leave the bar with the guy" I immediately thought she must be a ghost telling this story. When I see the part a paragraph later about leaves of crimson and gold, I look back at the start because I thought you mentioned summer. Then I look at the title (because OF course the page layout makes that a bit awkward on my machine) and then I can see the rest of the tale. Summer to Autumn to Winter to Fall to Summer and the final mention of death. It was very predictable for one of your stories. A twist might have been for...

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Jan H
14:21 Jul 25, 2020

Charles, I so appreciate your feedback. You give such detailed insights. I get so rushed to get a story out and don't take time to flesh out the details. Your twists to the story sound amazing. It inspires me to take a deeper look into my stories. Being told that I have talent makes me want to keep writing. Thank you so much.

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