Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tall Girl

     Marlene is a tall girl. Quite tall. Her friends all started calling her a tree. She told them she didn’t appreciate the nickname, and they just stared at her in disbelief. Finally one of them, Nathan, spoke up. He said, “But you are a tree, Marlene.” The others nodded their heads in agreement. Marlene didn’t believe them, not even when the birds began building a nest on her shoulder. For how could she possibly be a tree? All her life she’d been doing human activities. Sure, she’d get depressed in the winter months, and remain largely inactive. But wasn’t that the case for a lot of people? Certainly it was.
     And she would have told the birds they were mistaken, but she found their presence soothing, and she felt a need to take care of them, to shelter them as best she could. Of course, this meant she had to postpone her trip to Baltimore, which certainly would have proved her non-tree status. Trees don’t travel to Baltimore. But as long as the birds would remain, so would she. They meant more to her than proving her identity. Marlene could remain very still when she wanted to. She did so now, even when a dog cruelly relieved himself on her shoes. That’s how determined she was to care for those birds. She wasn’t sure how long the birds would be there – she was no ornithologist – and so she didn’t know when she’d get to Baltimore. But, she surmised, Baltimore would still be there after the birds had gone. And then, once and for all, she’d show everyone just what kind of tree she was.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

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