In the last five years, Janice’s mother died, soon followed by her father. Her closest sister moved hundred of miles away with promises of postcards, but her mailbox stood empty. Her bills piled up as her career vanished, and she lived a frugal life from the little her parents left her.
She was lonely.
She sought comfort in the arms of her lovers, but they left her just as everyone close to her seemed to do. One by one until there was Derek. Derek liked to argue over everything, which Janice despised, but when he asked for her hand, she was too afraid to say no.
But a few months later, just like all the others, Derek left. In the middle of the night. With no note. Sorry. Or even a goodbye.
She sold the ring for $1000 and ate Oreos for every meal for at least a week.
Her loneliness grew to bitterness and her bitterness grew into a tree. She rooted slowly, her legs rotting one by one, while her hair turned to branches. Her leaves thick and lush blew gracefully in the wind.
One day, she woke up under a blue sky with birds chirping by where her ears used to be, and she cried over the human life she wasted on sadness. She smiled through the tears as the neighborhood children swung from her branches, pulling her hair for art projects and played rounds of duck-duck-goose around her broad base.
Her life as a tree was a lot less complicated. She played with squirrels, flirted with the breeze as it tousled her leaves and fell in love with a cloud.
The cloud blew her kisses on rainy days that would leave her shivering with dew. Janice forgot her name and put every single effort in forgetting the life she used to know.
She smiled at the lumberjacks, teasing them with her branches, tickling their suspenders as they passed. Suspicious and superstitious, they left her alone, knowing if they chopped her down, they’d have to deal with a force much bigger than their axes.
Janice grew taller and prouder each year. Finally, tall enough, to meet her lover in the sky for makeouts. She was never lonely again.
They cried tears of red apples and no one even noticed, shaking their limbs, climbing on their branches and harvesting their sadness in buckets. The trees wept till they were bare and watched in horror as they ate their flesh, too weak to stop them.
One day Lily stepped out onto the hot pavement and realized that something was missing. She thought about all of the great things she had in her life: husband, children and a career. Am I happy? She asked herself and she sincerely thought yes. But there was still something missing.
She started experimenting in the kitchen. She started with onigiri and maki rolls and ended with coq au vin. She conquered the cuisines. Indian. Korean. American. She had tried them all. She felt satisfied in her abilities as a cook, but still felt like something was missing.
She took painting lessons. She learned to sign. She picked up the guitar. She went to the opera. Ballet. Jazz clubs. Comedy clubs. Night clubs. Swinging. Kama Sutra. Fishing. Hiking. Kayaking.
But she still felt a void.
One day as she paddled alongside her husband, she looked up into the sky and saw a tangle of branches. The most perfect tree. A tree so vast and massive that she pulled over to the side, got out of her kayak and stared. Hugged. Fell in love with that tree. Her husband shrugged. Her children sang Ring Around the Rosy and held hands as they encircled the tree. They could feel its life.
Then it clicked. Her new home. This tree. A childhood fantasy turned reality.