That day, I got off at the bus stop I used when I was a girl, back when I went to high school. I crossed the park, taking the side path always full of mud, where I risked slipping. The trees were laden with yellow leaves near the swings and the slide was now ruined by time. Beyond the faded pedestrian crossings, I kept going until the little green door, its paint completely chipped off. It led to a tiny corridor, turning left with stairs to the cellars, wedged between a wall and a hedge. In front of me, another hedge, much better maintained than before. The hole in the corner of the fence had been fixed; no cat would cross it anymore, as it used to. And finally, inside the garden, there was what I had come to find: my maple.
Since I was little, I had been told that the maple was my age, growing with me, planted at my birth. Even in my earliest memories, it was tall enough to resemble a real tree, not like the other dwarf maple on the opposite side of the garden. I often observed it from my bedroom window, watching it shine in the summer or glow red in the autumn. In winter, I found it sad, bare, and chilled. I had many photos taken in the garden, next to my maple. With cousins, for my first communion. With friends, in the summer, while playing with water. I forgot about it for a while, looking at it without really seeing it. I didn't go out to the garden often. I hated feeling watched by the people living in the upper floors, that could see me from their windows.
But I was growing, and so was he. During my senior year, on one of those days when I had decided not to go to school to avoid hearing my Italian teacher, when I was thinking about my shattered dreams, my shattered self-esteem, I happened to look at it. Suddenly, it seemed taller, majestic, despite the snow and the lack of leaves. I'll never know why that view shook me so much. Perhaps the years had passed without me noticing. But I forgot about it again until the beginning of university. It was summer, and I found myself peeking at it often while studying in my room. It seemed much taller than before; the garden seemed unable to contain it.
Then, however, came the storms, too strong. The kind you see and think aren't normal in this country, in this city. The wind knocked down much sturdier plants than the maple, while it almost bent, perhaps it had truly become too tall. I stared, hoping it wouldn't break. I didn't understand why I cared so much about the fate of a tree I could replace at any time. Every time the wind forced the tree to lean one way, I prayed that the roots were strong enough, even though we all knew well that the garden's soil was shallow, with car garages underneath.
Yet, my maple is still here. Even after I left that house. I couldn't take it with me. I found myself coming here, to see how it was doing. It towered above the other maples in the neighboring gardens, redder than the neighbor's. I took a photo. Until we meet again.
This story is a mix of truth and fiction, and it's based on personal experience. The story was written in Italian first, so forgive me if there are mistakes!
The link to the original: https://mangiastoriecantastelle.wordpress.com/2023/10/13/rosso-acero/
I hope my story hasn't wasted your time. Feel free to comment what you think of it!
About the Creator
I'm an italian girl who grew up eating many stories. I devoured so many, that I decided to try to do my part.
I hope you enjoy my stories!
My blog: http://mangiastoriecantastelle.wordpress.com