Young girl tears trickled softly down the side of her wooden bed as she watched the withering of the trees. Everything good she knew was of branches and solid breathing twigs; her pencils and the notebooks where she wrote the stories that came flowing complete from beginning to end into her head when she softly leaned a rosy warm cheek against a placid branch yellow by sunrise.
Everything she knew that was not good was stuck inside a black box of steel and metal and a glass window showing images of clouds , grey dust and machines, dirt-green clothed men from distant countries. When she turned 14 she realized she loved trees more than she loved humans. She saw deep red blood flowing from the chests and sculls and did not flinch. She saw a silent blazing fire shatter giant Magnolias in a foreign gold-green forest and her eyes went to deep emerald and she left the silent man and woman she didn't know sitting by the steel box as she went up the white spiral staircase to lie quiet and heartbroken with her pale-pink fingertips pulsating softly against her wooden bed.
When she turned 22 and her hair fell in cascades down her soft-skinned back and the sight of her slender body in an ivory silk dress caused a widening of pupils and heavier breathing in the afternoon streets she crossed, her heart had been broken many times by sugar maples in sharp pink sunsets, never by boys or men.
All the trees in the garden were withered and dying and on a frail November morning after long weeks of disease she decided the trees would no longer cause her body to shatter and grow pale. She took a dust-black train to a city of metal and pavement. She bought shoes with steel-embedded heels that made her look tall, she bought a toaster and a coffee machine that made a loud beeping sound when her morning drink was ready to be poured into a porcelain mug. She slept at night, sometimes with men in dark blue ties who told her they were aiming for something in cold-grey beds with clean white sheets. When she woke in the A.M. with a soft Good Morning Beautiful whispered in the shell of her ear, she knew that as soon as he went to make her breakfast she would walk with silent strokes of her feet to the door.
After drinking her morning coffee from her ornate porcelain cup, she put her hair up with a brass pin and spent the day typing with coral rosy fingertips, letters to people she'd never meet, for a lady with frosted hair and a red suit she would never understand. Every time her calender showed a large blue 1 under a picture of a larger steel building in a city, a letter arrived at the hard doorstep she would hit her toes on, saying a certain number of a value was hers, hidden in a brick building without windows.
On Saturdays she went to the largest building she had ever known, bought little bottles of pink liquid in a velvet glass box and polished it on her nails until they shone. She painted her eyelashes black and ran her fingers through her hair. In the nighttime she went to little dark rooms where everyone danced. Men in shiny black shoes bought women drinks and put their hands on their waists. She sat silently in glass apartments with a view of neon lights and yellow steel cars pulsing through paved stone streets where no one went to sleep. Men with dark blue ties and wine they said was many years old caressed her breasts and let out soft moans when she gently touched two fingers to their collarbones.
She went on a plane to Tokyo with a blue-tie man whose shoes were shiny and black and who stared at her hair as she pretended to sleep and her eyes drifted leniently over the never ending blue sea below.
In Tokyo there was no green. Cars, buses and steel glass buildings surrounded her everywhere she went or raised her eyes to look. The man with the shimmering black shoes took her to restaurants they needed to be in elevators to get to. Her blood froze inside her as the escalating mechanisms showed her one hundred buildings, windows, lights and cars in less than seconds through the frosted glass. She was slightly dizzy when the man took her arm and walked proudly or maybe timidly through rows of linen dressed tables with little silver forks and polished knives. She at first didn't understand when he pulled from his left dark blue suit pocket something oval and of steel with a little stone glimmering almost like the neon lights nauseating her as she gazed out on the city view.
She was married in a white dress with little bronze pearls in her hair and moved with the pair of shiny black shoes to a large city apartment with glass windows in metallic frames. She bought a new coffee machine and a wispy pale white orchid that died after four days. Black shiny shoes looked at her tenderly and asked her if she wanted to have a child with him. She gazed back at him with dreamy clear green eyes and three years later she had four children.
She was thirty-two and sat quiet in her steel glass apartment, staring at her coffee maker, her face pale blanch, still beautiful. She pushed, suddenly, her chair away from the cold table. She pulled with pallid wrists the thin synthetic shirt and fabric underwear off, away from her skin and crept silently onto the floor holding her arms softly around her waist, leaning her cold pink cheeks against the wood, her nose leniently breathing in the most familiar scent. Her youngest daughter came home from school and stared for little minutes at the only woman she had ever known. The child began weeping and the woman stood up and made her daughter a bowl of cereal. Her husband got home from work and she asked him if they could redo the floors. The year she turned thirty-three the floors were carpeted and smelled of woolen fabric.
She turned forty and her husband threw her a party in a large uptown apartment in the building of his company. A tree brought in from New Zealand stood in the corner of the city view window. Loquacious voices growing faint, she went slowly over to it, idly caressing the lenient leaves and the steadiness of the wood. She let her frail fingertips run across the wispy green, taking in the scent of young girl feet and soft warm cheeks leaning against a giant maple and knowing it was life. Her chest began to hurt as though something inside her shattered, her waist sweeping the mellowness. Her thoughts turned bland and velvety and when she opened her eyes she noticed the ceiling was blue and ten or fifteen unfamiliar faces were staring at her with worrisome looks.
She went to work. The red suit lady touched her collar bone and asked her what she was going to do with little fragments of time she told her she had saved. She looked out to the pale white outside the windows and a week later, her husband smiled watching her slip bathing towels into a brown-handle bag, carrying it softly on her wrist as they boarded a plane. She let her fingers rest carelessly on the skin of her thighs, breathing in soft sleight-of-sleep rhythms, gazing with pale eyes to the still blue water. She watched her daughters, light wavy locks sweeping their necks, soft transparent-skinned creatures she didn't know. They smiled at her, waving, swirls of sand embracing their ankles as they ran laughing, sunbeams swimming smoothly through their hair. She rested her head against a beautiful coconut tree and while passing out, she remembered before closing her eyes that the red suit lady probably wanted her to sit by the black desk again, and that she should go back.
She went to work, went home, went to dinner, went to sleep, went to work. She worked longer, went home faster, cancelled dinner, didn't sleep. Red suit lady led her to a square grey metal room with sharp edges and told her that the amount on the piece of paper in her dark green mailbox would be bigger when the wooden forest house on her calendar flipped and turned to hillside landscapes. She didn't sleep and her daughters looked at her with worry in their frost-blue eyes. She went to work and went to bed and didn't sleep. She fixed her gaze at the cool steel alarm clock, her skin growing pale. Black shiny shoes put his arm around her, asked her what she needed. She shivered and closed her eyes. On a cold February morning, little snowflakes frosting pieces of her skin, she went silently out to her balcony, frail wrists pushing the glass-door open. She remembered, suddenly what she needed, smiled and let go, drifting to sleep.
Her eyes went to a clear wide emerald and she felt the air brush softly around the skin on her shoulders. The sun was setting, casting yellow reflections of daylight over the lenient leaves of the honey crisp trees. There were hundreds of them, silver green oval droplets resting on a supple curve. She let her feet slip silently from her shoes and felt for the first time in too long little green strands teasing the creases between her heels. Her wrists were weak and light and the thin linen dress caressed softly her waist as she walked into the field of trees. Lucid fingertips went smoothly to the rough, the touch sending little vibrations along her neck. The sun descending coral-glazed behind the hillside, she pressed her cheek softly against the sturdy frame, a throbbing filling her chest as the most basic of scents filled her nostrils once again. Breathing in the wooden air, she placed her wrist beneath an arched droplet curve, sensing with eyes closed, thin sunlit softness sweeping her skin. She pressed her lips together, letting them lift apart as she brushed her waist against the wood, the last sunset beams on resting mellow eyes. Little strings of every feeling bonded at the touch of a tiny curved crease in the wood, a surging in her heart as a coral finger filled it, and with the softest movement she rested a soft rosy cheek against the green.