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His parents are dead. A plane crash. I guess the pilots these days aren’t always capable of knowing when lightning is going to strike the tail of a 400 passenger airliner. Wyatt Greenly’s life is ripped away from him in five seconds. A moment of electricity happened to hit his only hope; his only love. A fourteen year old boy now stranded; lost in the midst of eight billion strangers. An orphan. Alone.
Wyatt stopped talking after the crash. He especially didn’t talk once he moved in with the Willow family. John and Ellen Willow were among the most loving and caring people on Earth; but to Wyatt, two more meaningless strangers. They’re a wealthy family; big house with a pool on four acres of land. A dream life. However, Wyatt only came to appreciate one thing in his new life, the trees. There were hundreds of them.
It’s been two years since the crash. Wyatt is sixteen now. His schedule is as follows: get out of bed at 7:00, take an eleven minute shower, put on semi-nice clothes, complete about six hours of homeschooling, and for the remainder of the day he makes his way to one of the tall Oak trees in the woods with a peanut butter sandwich and a Pepsi. Two years he’s been doing this. However, it’s not all bad. Wyatt finds solace in the trees. This is the one place where Wyatt can feel loved. He talks to the trees. He loves the trees. He’s not crazy. The trees are the one thing in his life that remind him of his parents. Like his parents, the trees protect him. For a while, the trees are Wyatt’s everything.
It’s summertime. This season is Wyatt’s favorite because the trees are full in the summer. Still no friends and no human love, only love made of leaves, roots, and bark. July 15th; new neighbors. It is a small family with two daughters; sixteen year old Anna, and three year old Joyce. Both are brown-haired, blue-eyed, beautiful young girls. It’s a hot Saturday afternoon. Anna and her mother go to the Willow’s to introduce themselves; a friendly gesture. They ask if they would like to join them for a barbeque. Ellen thinks it sounds wonderful and asks Anna to get Wyatt from the backyard. Once Anna reaches the backyard, there is no one there. She makes her way to the front, but she hears a cough from somewhere behind her. She turns and continues to search. After a few minutes of looking, she notices a foot hanging from one of the trees, and sure enough it’s Wyatt.
“Hello!” Anna called, “My name is Anna Collins. I just moved in next door with my family. I think we’re having a cookout tonight.” There’s no response. She notices that he is awake, but he just wasn’t responding. After many failed attempts of coaxing, she goes to Ellen and before Anna could say a word, Ellen says in a low voice, “He won’t come down.” It’s silent. “Well he can join us next time!” she replies to Anna. “Joyce would you like to come set the table with me?” asks Ellen. So, they went on with the planned cookout, but Anna was preoccupied.
It’s Monday. Anna made plans to visit Wyatt at his tree when she got home from school. When she gets to the tree she notices Wyatt is sleeping. “Get up sleepy head!” He jumped and looked at her. It was quiet for a moment as they studied each other. Wyatt turned away and focused on something else, but Anna continued, “Well, I was born on March 3rd. My family moved out here because our last neighborhood wasn’t too great. My middle name is...” Anna told Wyatt almost every detail of her life in these little visits.
She soon made it a part of her daily schedule to visit Wyatt from 3:15 everyday until 4:15. Sometimes she would tell him about her school, other times it was television and events in the news, or something personal; Anna began to trust Wyatt. Anna began to love Wyatt.
It had been three months of daily visits from Anna; 92 days of one sided conversations. It was October 16th, a Wednesday. Anna made her way to Wyatt’s tree, but he was gone. There was a note. “It’s my birthday today. Family went out. See you tomorrow Anna.” This is the first interaction that he’s made with her. Though she couldn’t visit him face to face, she was ecstatic.
Another two months passed. It was a Friday. Anna had had the most awful day at school. She went to Wyatt and just went off, “We had that stupid math test! And then I got yelled at for the dumbest thing. This was the...” The conversation soon moved to, “You know, it would be a lot easier if you just came down! Why do you even go-”
“Anna.” Wyatt softly said. Do you want to know my story, Anna? I figure you’ve been slowly trying to pry it out of me, and trust me, it’s better than you ranting.” He smiled. She stared. He spent the next hour telling Anna the many things in his life; from the death of his parents to his favorite subjects to study. Once he finished, she sat in awe of what had just happened. He finally opened up to her.
“Wyatt, you must come down! You’re wasting your time up there Wyatt!” Anna says reassuringly. “It’s not that simple Anna.” said Wyatt. “There are reasons for why-”
“Just come out and see the beauty of the world and the people of the world for yourself!” Anna interrupts him. She went on with this unneeded pressure until Wyatt finally yelled, “Anna! You don’t understand! I want you to just leave. Leave Anna!” Tears began to flood her cheeks, she was just trying to help. After a moment, Anna slowly walked home.
Two weeks pass. No visits from Anna. Wyatt is alone again. He begins to think of the things Anna had said, “Come and see the beauty of the world...” Wyatt then realizes that it’s been two years since he’s gone outside of the town he lives in. After this time of loneliness, the memory of him being alone returns. Off of pure luck Wyatt decides to go to Anna. He knocks on her door. Anna answers. Before anything could come out of her mouth, Wyatt hugs her. After a moment he pulls away, looks into her eyes, and says, “Thank you Anna. You have opened my eyes. I love you for that Anna. Thank you.” For the first time since his parent’s death, Wyatt feels loved. Wyatt feels that there is a place for him in the world. Wyatt finally belongs.