The tree that became my life

Written in response to: Start your story with two people planting a tree together.... view prompt


Contemporary Drama Fiction

If i have to point to a day that i was the happiest girl in the entire world, i thought it would be the day James proposed to me. But I was wrong, it’s today and today isn’t even our first wedding anniversary. Our journey wasn’t filled with happy memories, and if I have to be honest, our path so far has been one hell of a challenge and I must have fallen down and given up so many times that I lost count. But, James was always there to pick me up. Before, I was this woman who was afraid to fall. The current me is someone who’s still scared but courageous because I know in my heart that there’s someone who will help me to climb back up no matter how hard things get.

James proposed to me six years ago, and I could still remember every single detail. It was a cold chilly autumn night and we experienced the first snowfall of the year. I was mesmerized and ran outside the door leaving my family and James still inside the warmth. Out of all the seasons, winter is definitely my number one. My friends made fun of me saying I like the gloomiest days of the year. Maybe I did. Winter reminded me of the battles I've gone through. I was a sick kid ever since I can remember and whenever the hint of chilly weather blows, I was confined into four walls. My parents weren’t strict but when it came to me, I was forbidden to go out. Back then I considered them to be spawns of Satan, but now I understand that they did it out of love.

The day six years ago marked my eighteenth birthday and before anyone could protest, I ran out to experience the first snowfall of my life. The moment I stepped outside, the wind blew past me and I shivered, yet, with every strong blow I took steps farther from the four walls. I was beyond ecstatic when I touched the snowflakes, that James later said that I looked like “a child jumping up and down with a big smile that would melt anyone’s heart.” Maybe he was right. That night he proposed to me in front of everyone, and vowed to protect me and take care of me. In sickness and health, in happiness and sadness he said. 

He did just as he promised me. In less than a week I was screaming in pain and doctors made me go through so many tests until they diagnosed me with stage three breast cancer. When he asked me whether i experienced any pain before, i said i did, but i didn't think too much because as a child who’s always sick, i was numb to pain most of the time. I spent so many days confined within four walls yet again until they removed a part of me. I refused to look at the mirror and whenever I saw other women, I was silently crying and screaming. Chemo and medicines didn’t work and that was the only option, they said. I agreed because every day I was dying with the pain and chemo. I was never plump, but when I accidentally saw myself in the mirror and all I could do was scream. That day, James hugged me so tight that I was afraid he would break me before I broke myself. 

The tightening grip around my waist brought me back to reality and I opened my eyes the moment his lips brushed mine. I smiled and looked. We stood in the backyard of the new house we bought. It took six years for us to buy a house because James was adamant on saving and buying one himself. When my parents wanted to pitch in he refused and I was happy but at the same time there was a part of me that was guilty. If I wasn't sick, he didn't have to work day and night and do double jobs. Whenever I brought up the topic, he would always say “you’re worth it.”

When we were dating, we promised each other that if one day we ever get married, we would plant a tree and see it grow together till the end of times. He let me choose a tree and I said I wanted to plant an apple tree. We both loved apples and whenever we went to the market, we always bought a dozen only to go in less than a week to buy more. But that wasn’t the main reason why I chose apples out of all the trees. When I was in senior high school, my literature teacher said in ancient mythology, an apple tree was considered to be one of the most sacred trees and that it symbolizes good health and future happiness. Good health is definitely something I wished for after going through hell for several years and I don't want my health to get in the way of my marriage life and make me stay in hospital for another several years

Just like the tree represents love, we spent most of our time together under the tree getting blessed by Aphrodite along the way. The blessing came after several months and we were both overjoyed and nervous. Under the tree our love blossomed and we were blessed to become parents. I was able to go through the stages without any issues and for the first time in my life, I wasn't afraid of getting sick. Every passing day, I was glad that we planted an apple tree because I was indeed blessed with good health. Except for the cold that came with the changing seasons, I did not get sick. I was able to dance around the tree in the winter and gather the fresh fruits in abundance when the time came. Our child was to be born during the harvest season and I was looking forward to it and blessed every day, and did my best even when my body became heavy to carry. 

Maybe my obsession with the tree made me forget to take the step that ultimately destroyed the life that I looked forward to building ever since I got out of the hospital. The baby wasn't born during the harvest season, but it came to us on a very cold day, when most plants were sleeping because they couldn’t handle the harsh winter. Maybe it was because the day was freezing and the baby couldn't handle it. When I touched my sweet pea, she was already too far away from my warmth. No matter how much I screamed, she was already gone into the hands of God, said my husband. He said we have a chance again and that we could try again. But I was lost. I neglected to the point that I lashed out at the tree that I took care of with love and warmth. Exactly a year later, it was freezing yet again and I looked out from the window and my mind screamed in whispers that I couldn't handle. The tree was cut down and my life passed right in front of my eyes, and the memories that I treasured with my whole life, made me become a part of the tree that I came to love so much. When winter passes, spring always comes, but after that winter, spring never came.

ps. it's been a long time since i wrote. This maybe awkward writing but i definitely want to get back into writing again. please ignore any typos.

December 04, 2022 11:36

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