It's a big tree, growing in the middle of the yard. The branches pointed up towards the sun, the roots ran long and wide, creating seats under the spreading canopy.
I played here as a child. The wooden swing long gone now, actually burned away in a fire. In the summer, we laid our checkered cloth, put out the basket, made sure to cover anything edible, cause the flying bugs were always on the lookout for food, as were the ants. No matter the heat of summer, it was always 20` cooler in the shade.
This is where I was married, we hung lanterns from the branches for the reception that night. Our initials still scratched in the trunk, if I had known then as I do now, they wouldn't be there. The children played here too, I made sure they enjoyed the same things that I had, swings, cool summer shade, picnics.
Lately, it had been my sanctuary.. I stared at the letters, J+M .. crudely scratched inside of a heart. I leaned my head back against the trunk.. Maybe I had been neglectful, no... no.. I wasn't going to give him excuses, I wasn't going to condone his fling with an eighteen year old.. and I wasn't going to forgive, my life given to him, devoted to him and my children.. I had been sturdy, strong, stood up to whatever hardship had come along, backed him in all his schemes and encouraged him, even when I knew they were going to fail.
I let the tears slide down my cheeks, the branches above began to sway slowly, back and forth, the leaves moved in the slight breeze.. I was tired, so many thoughts, so many years, I just wanted to shut my eyes.. I heard the song..
don't you cry
go to sleep my little baby
I did.. I closed my eyes and went to sleep..
"I know, it may not be the right thing to say but, this is the most peaceful she's looked in a long time, I think maybe, we shouldn't be sad, maybe she is in a better place, at least her heart isn't broken now,,,, you were a good mother, you were a good wife, sleep mom, we love you."