There was an old tree, crooked and bent after all these years, at the back of their property. It was obscured from view if you were in the house or yard by the jungle-like growth of the taller hardwood trees and vigorous undergrowth. In the winter, it couldn’t be seen from the house since it was over a small bank and near the 40-foot dropoff down to the creek. She never came back here. He considered it his tree. His wishing tree.
When he looked at his wishing tree now, it looked like it was decorated for the holidays with all the colorful pieces of cloth attached to the branches. It was a wild area. He was sure people occasionally hiked down the creek bed below when it was dry. They must have wondered about the old tree with the colorful cloth. They probably thought children tied the cloth to the branches or some eccentric old person. Children didn’t do it. He was getting old, but he didn’t think he was eccentric. He’d had many wishes over the years, all having to do to with her.
Maybe his expectations of her had been too high. Maybe he’d never given her a chance. They came from very different worlds. He had started at the bottom of the old tree, hanging his colorful fabric for each wish. The branches were covered all the way to the top. So many wishes. Too many expectations.
Things were better now. He had realized his expectations had been too high. He had finally let her live her life. After all they’d been through with each other, it was a miracle, but she seemed to be responding to his efforts. They laughed together now. She seemed to enjoy being with him. She smiled at him for the first time in years. They weren’t young anymore. Maybe they had just needed the wisdom that age brings. He felt the beginnings of happiness for the first time in so long.
He had a feeling he wouldn’t need his wishing tree in the future unless it was for wishes for the two of them. He knew what wish every piece of cloth represented. Smiling, he started at the bottom and began to remove them. She was his wish come true.
Thanks to Sue Vincent for providing this wonderful writing prompt.