Tree Rings

By Elizabeth Oxendine, TIWP Student

There was something about the moment when he found the first wrinkle on her forehead that made her find the meaning of the universe. He’d touched it with hesitance, filled with worry that if he didn’t tread softly enough it’d disappear and the significance would fade with it. He’d been the one to run his fingers down her young skin, turning her in side out and making her believe that she was immortal under his gaze. But as much as she loved being a young wild soul with tight skin and bambi eyes, this wrinkle was a reminder of time vanishing like a cloud of dust in the distance. Trees grow rings for every year they stand mighty in a forest, she would gain a thousand wrinkles if it meant there was proof of loving him for the length that they’d both promised one another.

There was something breathtaking about the moment she’d made him breakfast in bed because he had thrown out his hip taking a picture of her. He’d knelt his knees in the moist dirt and sworn up and down he’d never seen her look so beautiful. She’d sent him an exaggerated wink similar to the one she had sent him walking down a very long isle. He claims from his cocoon among the sheets that it was her ferocious grin that had left him paralyzed even when she threatened to with hold a kiss on the temple if he didn’t admit it was his arthritis he still believed that it was her that had stolen his breath from out his chest. She shook her head and feed him a sip-full of soup, swatting his head when he coped a feel.

There was something cynical and sweet about the way they talked about death. It was a humorous comparison he’d made: forty years ago we’d been shopping for our first house and now we’re looking for our funeral plots. Some would scold them for openly joking about how close they were to slipping behind the veil. But she would always say that death doesn’t scare her anymore because he’s given her enough life that she could die in the next second with a smile on her face and not regret a single moment. He’s always wanted to be turned to ash but being kicked by her in the middle of the night for the better part of a century years has made him want to lie in marble as long as she’s there next to him. She always argues with him on the matter: Don’t you understand, you and I will find each other in the next life, coffin or not.


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