Choking a Tree

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After they cut the tree down everything began taking on the sound of a chainsaw. She went to work and the old vacuum had mysteriously been replaced with a model that sounded of trees about to be felled. She asked her boyfriend if the blender worked and plugged it in– it whined like a mighty and vibrating chain about to snap wood. All around things felt on the brink of being cut down.

When they first met he read her Haruki Murakami’s short story, “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning.” She wept as he read aloud, his voice raining over her in low sheets; she’d never felt so much like a blank page. He cleared his throat, nervous, as if he had written the words just for her. She knew he hadn’t. She knew it was Murakami’s words falling out of his mouth like love notes and cherry blossoms in spring– but he had consciously chosen the piece, his blue eyes had scanned the rows of books, his hands had dusted the binding, his fingers had parted the pages to find the right words.

The tree had to be cut down. Ivy had been strangling it for years, a slow and suffocating death. The tree faced its fate with dignity. It still stood tall, elegant even, under the weight of vines constantly crushing like hundreds of boa constrictors. Memories were just as invasive a vine.

Pen perched like a pole saw between fingers, she began hacking at the past– wanting so badly to be that blank page, that “100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning.”

**Illustration by Vincent Van Gogh

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