• mustbefately

The Thing About Trees, part 1

The thing about trees is, they grow slow as heck.

At least the good ones do, anyway. See, my mother loves magnolia blossoms. So when she married my father, he promised to buy her that one house with the big magnolia tree in the yard. Every summer she'd have more flowers than she could count, he told her. She was smitten at the thought.

But then he got a better deal on a different house and bought it instead.

Don't be silly, he told her. It doesn't make sense to be so upset about a tree. And besides, he said, he would go to the nursery right then and buy a baby magnolia to plant in the yard. She would still have her tree, and more blossoms than she could count.

But the thing about trees, is they grow slow as heck. That baby tree didn't put off a single bloom until the summer I turned sixteen, and by then, it was too late.

I don't mean too late for their marriage writ large. Let's not be melodramatic. My parents are fine. Happy, even. But by the time I was 16, my mother had befriended a local florist, who delivered us dozens of magnolia blossoms every week in the summer. My mother had accumulated magnolia-patterned dishes, magnolia-printed pillows, even painted a mural in her bedroom, all by herself. All by herself, because she had learned not to ask my father for anything she couldn't do without.

Again, I don't mean to be too theatrical here. She asked him for stuff all the time. And he pulled through, usually. I'd say maybe 80, 85 percent of the time. Depending on the professor, that's a B, maybe even a B+. A better-than-average husband, especially by the standards of the time. He bought her a nice car. Mowed the lawn. He watered that damn magnolia with feverish zeal. But if she needed something? I mean really, NEEDED something? She did it herself.

(to be continued)

P.S.- This has been the first installment of a shortish story that's been growing in my notes app. I have another few installments queued up, and I'll post them eventually, but I'll definitely get around to it sooner if some folks comment and say they like it. So do that, if you want.

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