There is a tree in my backyard.
Many backyards have trees, so you may not think this tree is special. It isn’t, honestly. I would say it’s just a tree, but it’s more than that as well. The tree, which I’ve named Coralie, is magic. I can talk to her for hours on end, and her cherry blossoms will sway in response, telling me that she understands.
I’m not a shy kid. I love being outgoing, but I’m really not. In school and in public, I put a mask over my face. People that pass me on the street only see a happy teenage girl, when inwardly, sometimes I think I’ve broken myself beyond repair. A thousand fragments of stained glass that used to make up a window.
Coralie is the only one who understands me. When I failed a math test, she was the one who told me to go study harder next time. When I lost a softball game, she told me to practice more than others. When I couldn’t make a choice between the Fall Play and Chess Club, she told me to follow my heart.
As a result, I aced my next test, kicked ass on the next game, and starred as Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
Today I come to her with more emotion than other times I’ve talked with her. Her blossoms sway in the gentle wind, calling me. “Hey, Coralie,” I say, sitting down beneath her branches that shelter me from the surrounding world. “I have something I want to show you.”
I pull up a live news feed, and we watch the sea of red and white swarm the Capitol like flies swarming an open jar of honey. We watch the windows crack and eventually smash. We watch as our democracy catches fire and begins to burn. The wind hasn’t stopped, but Coralie’s branches have stopped moving. Just like I have stopped breathing. We can only watch the horror that unfolds in the nation’s capital.
We only watch for about half an hour; not enough. But if I watch any longer, I know I will damage myself even more. I look up at Coralie and her pale pink blossoms. “How could people let this happen?” I whisper, desperate for answers. She has led me this far and given me so many answers to the pending questions I have; surely she can answer this.
She doesn’t reply for a long time. At first, the silence is blissful, but then I begin to worry. When I’m about to ask her again, she says, “I cannot say why people are like this. No one can. It is sometimes merely human nature to show people how powerful you really are.”
This doesn’t make sense to me, and I think she knows it. But Coralie will not elaborate any more, and I am left to ponder this.
There is a tree in my backyard, and her name is Coralie. I love her to death and she loves me back. She is who you go to for advice, though no one can hear her except me. She knows the secrets of the universe and she will give you answers if you desire them. But sometimes she doesn’t give you a direct answer, and that annoys the majority of us humans. We are so used to having an answer to our problems presented on a silver platter, complimentary side dishes included. But sometimes, we have to figure the answer out to things ourselves.
I don’t know what I’d ever do or who I’d ever go to if Coralie and I were to be separated. But I do know this: even if we are parted, I will still be able to go up to a random tree and ask them to find Coralie for me. And it will be the same as old times once I find her: me in the wooded cage of her arms that’s studded with cherry blossoms, only this cage has no lock. This cage has only love.