“If a Tree Fell”
by Danni Klein
Something was wrong as I crashed through the woods on my way to my shaded sanctuary. The birds were not singing. Not only that, but the birds were nowhere to be seen. I understood why the moment I saw the state of my beautiful banyan tree. It was my home away from home. My favorite place in the universe. No place was like it, no place brought back just as many memories. But there it lay, on its side, its branches cracked, broken, and bare. I had found it here three years ago. It had a disease, and I read about the illness and nurtured it back to health. But this spring it didn’t bloom with pink flowers, and I knew that this day was soon coming. I knelt respectfully in front of the fallen warrior and murmured a few words of goodbye. After a few moments of silence, I stumbled blindly back towards my home across the woods, feeling cool, silent tears trickling down my pale cheeks.
I lay on my bed like a statue. I was silent, but my sister Saoirse still padded in and pulled herself onto my drab gray covers and snuggled into the nook of my arm. She could tell without me saying a thing to her that I was broken inside. Saoirse understood me like no one else could- more than I could, even. She looked just like me with black hair, clover green eyes. But her hair was silky and curled at her chin. My hair was straight all the way down to my hips.
The next morning, colorless November light flooded through my shades, onto my face. I had tear streaks from the night before still marking my pale cheeks.
The night before I had decided I was going to sit with the tree for the whole day. I knew it was just a tree, but it meant more than that to me. I flung open my closet and pulled out my best dress. It was stunning- there was no other way to describe it. It was long and flowy, and the palest blue imaginable. A silver braided belt cinched the waist and the bottom was flowy silk.
Saoirse followed me out the door and into the forest. The wind howled through the branches above me. It dragged my hair out behind me and pinned the front of the skirt to my legs. I ducked behind a tree and pulled my hair up with the black ribbon I was wearing around my wrist, pulling Saoirse close.
When we reached the tree, we sat down against its fallen trunk, using each other for warmth.
The ribbon was ripped out of my hair, and got caught in a branch. As I reached to grab it back, something flew in from the other side of the tree and the wind pinned it to my hand.
It was a banyan seed.