Chapter 46 – Story time

As you might have guessed from the title, it’s time for another story. Flash fiction this time! I read a prompt on Novel Notes, and the prompt was three words: trees, a ring, and a mother.

I think this turned out pretty well. The word count is 492.

Picture by Walt Stoneburner

The trees had been her idea of a lasting impression. Of something that would stand time with them, from day one to the last. She’d planted the first tree on her wedding day.

It had been a mere sapling then, a few fragile branches and a soft, bending trunk. She had cared for the tree like she would a child, making sure it received proper nutrition and had someone to talk to. Her husband found it endearing.

She had planned the next two trees after giving birth to her handsome twin sons. Years passed and the trees grew, from bendy and weak into tall and sturdy, forming the pillars of their life. The trees grounded them, offered a place for picnics and fun, conversations and, eventually, her son’s wedding. That day another sapling had appeared on the yard.

Her project grew with every happy occasion. From a lonely twig had blossomed a garden of love and caring, a garden where everyone was welcome. Everyone found solace in the beauty and serenity, and more than once she had shared softly-spoken secrets with the trees.

But today she wasn’t there to plant a new tree. Today she wasn’t there to enjoy the cooling shadow or the sweet scent. Today she was there to mourn.

On the tallest tree, the one who had rode out more storms than the others, was a ring. She had slid it on a branch on the first anniversary of her wedding. A memento to always being them joy.

The branch hadn’t stopped growing. It had become wider, longer, but the simple band around it hadn’t changed an inch. Now the golden ring was firmly stuck in the tree, squeezing a dent into the branch. But the tree didn’t seem to mind. In fact she always thought her garden had become even more vivid, more lush, afterwards.

The ring still remained as did the tree, even though their inspiration had wilted away.

She had contemplated on cutting it down. A new tradition for funerals, perhaps. But she couldn’t bring herself to accept it. Her ever growing garden was a celebration, an ode to life. What would be left of the symbol if the trees were taken? If the memories were taken?

No, she had decided. The trees will stay. Especially the one with the golden band, the simple, cheap ring bearing the name of her late husband. It would stay and twinkle hope in the dusk, exactly when she needed it the most.

And she knew the garden would always continue to grow. Her sons would plant new trees, and so would their children, and their children. Even if the hands of men failed, the trees would expand their territory.

The wind would carry the seeds across the lands, reaching wherever it could. And they would all carry the story of their mother, the mother who had breathed life into a garden of love with the most beautiful, shiny ring.


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