The Tree Hugger

April 17, 2008
By
The colors started draining out of her vision, blurring the room into one spinning vat of colorless color. The lights flashed on and off, blinking incessantly. Her mind fought for control of her lips and tongue, urging them to speak the words she had planned for so long to utter. It had been so much easier at home, watching her counterpart in the mirror speak the words with her.

But now her comforting presence was quite absent. And the reality of the situation crashed down upon her- the vat of colorless colors rolling over her and heating her up like volcanic lava.

She was ever aware of her pores opening to release a chilling sweat that quickly engulfed her forehead. The involuntary trembling of her disobedient hands was no help, either.

The jell-o she had eaten at lunch seemed to have taken the shape of her limbs because her legs were missing their bones. She was sure they had been there not too long ago.

She tried to focus on the form she knew so well. She conjured it up in her vivid imagination, being sure to get every detail correct. Color started pouring back into the swirling vat of colorless color and the form in her imagination again became a reality.

Instead of being a calming thing, however, it only unnerved her more. She bit her chapped lips. The form was emitting sound- only she wasn’t sure what it was. Her ears were filled with cotton- the very thing her shirt was made out of. How did her shirt get into her ears? That she would never know. Just as she would never know how her lunch had gotten inside her legs.

The words she had memorized floated through her brain. Quickly, she snatched them up with her tongue, but her lips wouldn’t cooperate. The words seemed to be in another language, from another world. Maybe she had been brought to another world- a world in which its inhabitants were paralyzed in a stupor of fear. What was she so afraid of?

She knew she only had to open her eyes and she would soon be reminded.

Her strained little heart beat faster and faster. It beat as irregularly as a bird learning to fly beats its wings and as steady as a broken metronome. She could feel the blood pumping fast through her veins in a race to get to nowhere, as she was as stationary as an Oak.

She felt something embrace her. A tree-hugger, no doubt. Because she was a tree, she could not return the embrace, but took it gratefully. She felt lips on her own. Did trees have lips? Was this person a tree-kisser? That was a novel concept. She was Daphne, her kisser Apollo, only she had no want of being turned into a tree. He tangled his hands in her branches and continued to kiss her. He seemed to be saying something again.

“I love you.” he whispered.

The duplicitous bind which held her still was released. Her tree limbs turned to limbs, her branches to hair, her roots to feet, and she found she could move. She preformed an act rather opposite of a tree- salty water found its way down her face. She was brought back to her world again, restored in almost perfect order. It was a bit blurry. But she could see Him. She found that her lips and tongue were, in fact, working in perfect order again, and his were working marvelously well, too. The words that she had memorized were never said, exactly, for she had to add one word.

“I love you, too.”





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Amanda B. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 25, 2009 at 6:04 pm
When you were describing how nervous she felt, you used wonderful words. I got a good mental picture from reading your story. I liked how you kept the reader in suspense. They want to read on to see what is making the narrator so nervous.
 
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