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Our Tree

I met Marian below a blossoming young tree on top of a grassy hill. Surrounded by a small field, the hill bordered my grandfather’s plot.

The sun blinded me through Marian’s long black hair. I sported my best smile and tried not to look too exhausted from the walk. It felt like an eternity that we stood there, the sun lowering behind the hill. I found myself lost in Marian’s dark brown eyes.

We’ve talked a lot about who said what that day, or who actually spoke first, but we left that tree together, hand in hand, strolling into our future.

Since then we visited our tree on top of the grassy hill every year. And every year the tree grew bigger and stronger. Marian gently touched my shoulder as I carved our names on the base of the tree. We kissed and, with one knee pressing into the lush earth, I proposed.

Her white wedding dress flowed like angelic clouds as she made her way across the field and up the hill. We hardly noticed the guests. The tree radiated with a life unlike the world has ever seen. By the time our kids were able to climb into the safe arms of the tree, it was fully grown.

With time my grandfather died and left us his house. We waited for the kids to go off into the world – in search of their own trees – before we moved into the house.

After that we started taking long romantic walks up and around the hill every weekend, watching the sun set over the river. Sometimes we’d hold hands and stare at our initials, kiss, and make love beneath the bright green canopy.

Then one morning the tree appeared pale, almost lifeless. Every day it grew weaker. No one could say why.

We took fewer trips up the hill after that. I went alone a couple of times at Marian’s request, to take photos of the tree, but I never had the heart to show them to her.

In the early hours of a fine Sunday morning, when the sun was just high enough to warm my old bones, and all our kids said their goodbye’s, the tree died.

With the help of my children and grandchildren we planted another tree on top of the hill. We used the lumber of the old tree to make a bench for me to sit on. The part of the tree which held our initials now forms the wooden cross adorning Marian’s grave.

Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long before I get to see Marian again.


Joe Mynhardt is a South African speculative fiction writer and teacher. While having dozens of short story publications in several magazines, e-zines, websites and anthologies, Joe also tends to a tome of story ideas scraping for a chance to be written. Read more about Joe and his creations at or find him on facebook at ‘Joe Mynhardt’s Short Stories’.


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