Indispensable – Short Story



It is amazing how beautiful something so insignificant can be, when you truly stop to look at it, when you eventually notice it. The fallen leaves that scatter along your driveway in autumn, before you hastily brush them away; do you ever stop to look? To see the array of different colours and the way the leaves still have veins running through them although they are dying; stripped away from its one and only life source.

I never have.

It is funny; it has to take an extraordinary event to change your entire outlook on life, why have I wasted so much time? Every water droplet that has raced down my bathroom window, every smile I did not return, the ends of my hair that get cut off and meaninglessly thrown away; never have I acknowledged what is going on in the background of my life.

I mean, how long did it take me to grow my hair that long only to have it chopped off?!

Here I am, walking aimlessly through a dampened forest. The air feels closed off, the numerous trees blocking any kind of breeze. It is much too humid, almost suffocating, the moisture has settled along the tops of my eyebrows. Reaching up to wipe my forehead I notice something, the signal I didn’t realise I’d been looking out for.

The aged, fallen tree lying in the ground before me still has the long piece of red wool tried around its smallest branch. Although the colour has faded and moss has begun to descend over the fraying material, I know I am close.

It still smells the same, the scent of a thousand memories. My heart flutters as I step over the decapitated tree, the pathway of leaves crunch under my heavy feet,  unknowingly guiding me to my destination.

The trees along side me wind and bend, a natural walkway, it is no wonder a seven year old me discovered the most secret of secrets with a pathway so tame and beautiful. The way the branches create an archway above, shielding me from the blaring sunlight, creating a magical tunnel to my beautiful never-ending.

Almost there, I can feel it.

The familiarity is overwhelming, like finding a ten pound note in your coat pocket you had once forgotten about. A slight gust of wind whips around my face as the trees begin to thin, approaching the border the land before me opens up into a small meadow.

The grass is longer than I remember and there is no longer an array of wild flowers, sprinkled amongst the tree stumps, which time has long forgotten. One tree still stands tall, proud, and almost doughty. The subject of my adventure is still perched uneasily on the trees thick frame, tilted slightly and aged with time.

The notorious tree house I see does not match up with the memories that have plagued my adult life, I have spent too much time trying to recreate the feeling this dilapidated wooden structure gave me; a cycle of events which has lead to this point.

I have almost forgotten what even lead me here; it seems so insignificant now as realisation quickly washes over me.

It has been a long time coming.

I step forward but stop before I take another step, I can’t do it. The wind has now picked up, lifting my now shortened hair creating a wild aura around my whitened face. Letting go has never been something I have been good at.

All the love I once felt in my heart, in my soul, is gone. Washed away with the dreams of bringing my own children to this once majestic, mysterious tree house. I did love him, I honestly did but time heals; even if you don’t realise you need healing. I came to this comforting place to find peace, but I have only created a roller coaster of disappointment. The deadened grass watches as I stand there, still and aware.

The windows are cracked, breaking the safety the tree house once radiated. Although the hairs on my arm are standing on end, I know this is not where I need to be. This is no longer the home of my soul, I came here to let go and let go I shall.

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(Original photography).

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