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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Alexander Jankiewicz

The Gifting Tree

The walk really wasn’t anything special to me at the time. I was just a little kid going somewhere outside the city. We were walking on a path in a forest when my father pointed out a tree. He asked if I noticed anything special about it. I told him that I didn’t. I remember how he looked at my mother and smiled. He then told me to move closer to it. I did.

“What do you see?” he asked.

I looked up and down the tree. I answered that I saw letters carved inside a heart.

“Initials,” he replied, “and do you know whose they are?”

I said the letters out loud to myself. It was theirs.

“That’s right, Son. I carved our initials on that tree right before I proposed to your mother. This is where I asked her to marry me.”

“What did she say?” I asked.

“I said yes to your father,” my mother answered and gave me a smile.

“Why?” I inquired.

My mother let out a chuckle. “Because I loved him very much.”

I could see her eyes start to water.

“I was irresistible, Son,” my dad said as he let out a laugh.

All I remember after that was how I investigated all the bugs that were around.

***

It’s many years later when my wife and I decide to take our two daughters for a walk down that same path while on vacation. I point out the tree to my daughters. I ask them if they notice anything about it. They walk up closer, stop, and stand still together.

Then almost immediately, my younger daughter says, “Your initials are on it inside a heart.”

“And Grandma and Grandpa’s, too,” my older one blurts out.

“How did they get there?” “Why are they there?” they say in unison.

I explain how Grandpa proposed to Grandma here, and how I proposed to their mother here as well. They both look at my wife for confirmation of the story. She smiles at them and nods. She then looks at me and lets out a chuckle, saying, “I thought your father was irresistible.”

cicada shell –
a childhood memory
clings to a tree


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