The Strange Tree

I didn't know what exactly I was expecting to see when I chased after Travis through the gate, but I just know that it was nothing close what I actually saw. There were trees everywhere. It didn't seem like a forest, though, nor a jungle. It all seemed very planned and organized, like it was built to look that way.

I looked around for Travis, but I couldn't see anything very well in the shade of the trees. I continued walking and I reached a lake.

A lake? I've never heard of a lake in this town.

It was beautiful how the moon reflected on it. It was terrifying, however, to think about all the things that could lie beneath the surface.

"What is this place?" I asked him.

He turned around to look at me, and he seemed uneasy.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. It's just that I've never showed this to anyone," he replied. "This is the only thing my grandfather left for any of his family after he died, and he left it to me. I don't know why. No one knows why. He had this made a few years ago, before I was born."

"Made?"

Travis nodded. "Yeah. I guess, some of the trees were already here, but the rest of it was carefully designed by him. He was trying to recreate the place where he first met his true love."

"Your grandmother?"

He kept silent for a while. Then, he shook his head. "No."

If I had heard about an old man trying to recreate his past, it would've bothered me. Hearing it the way Travis said it actually made it kind of beautiful.

"Come on," he said. "I have to show you something. It's the only thing that doesn't creep me out about this place. Mainly because it's not here because of my grandfather's past."

I followed him as he walked around the lake and then I saw where he was headed. It was a cherry blossom tree as beautiful as the trees I had only seen in pictures.

"My grandfather had this particular tree shipped from Japan when it was just a sapling," Travis said as he sat down by its roots. I sat down beside him. "When I was little, he told me a story about it. He said that if you wanted something bad enough and you wish for it under this tree, the flowers would fall down and you would have your wish come true. But it can only be done when the flowers are in bloom, of course. Plus, wishes only come true if you deserved them."

"Just like fairy tales," I said.

"But this one's true," Travis replied.

I laughed. "Very convincing. Tell me, has it ever happened to you?"

"I tried dozens of time, even when there were no flowers to fall off it," he said admittedly. "None of them worked. Well, it worked once."

"One in a million, huh? That means it doesn't work."

"It means that the only time I  deserved it or wanted it so badly was that one time," he said softly. "Come on, why don't we try it together?"

"That's too bad," I said with a shrug. "All the things I want are the things I don't deserve to have."

Travis looked at me sternly. "You deserve to have everything. You should know that."

I looked back at him, then he looked away. He wanted to take back what he said. He was trying to hide it from me, but I've always known. He loved me. He loved me with  a love I just couldn't return. I couldn't bear thinking that he felt the same way I did when I look at Spencer - longing and, underneath that, a sinking feeling because I know I can never what Spencer Greene could love. I felt sorry for Travis, but I can't let him go. I was selfish and I needed him.

"You've got nothing to lose, you know," he said, "if you make a wish."

I realized he was right, and I realized I knew what I would wish for. I nodded. "Okay, I have my wish."

"Close your eyes, then," he said, closing his eyes then opening them slightly to check if I had closed mine. So I did.

"Make a wish, Ivy," he said.

I thought about it, his face floating inside my head, and I couldn't help whispering his name. Very softly, I said, "Spencer."

I didn't want to open my eyes. I wanted the silence for as long as I could keep it.

But Travis was saying my name. "Ivy! Ivy, look!"

I opened my eyes and I gasped. The flowers were falling.

I didn't believe in a lot of things. The things I believed in before had left when I discovered I had leukemia. But, that night, I decided that maybe it couldn't hurt to believe in that strange cherry blossom tree.

The End

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