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Cherry Blossom

How did this happen? Thoughts – memories – twisted through me again and again. Everything had been so good, so happy, so…perfect. How could it all change so suddenly? But it did; in just one sweeping gust of the ash-filled air. His words played through my mind, caressing my ears, but scratching my soul. Those images ran across my vision as if permanently trapped for my guilty eyes to forever view. I couldn’t make sense of anything in my tangled mind.

I climbed past the last of the twisted branches and finally emerged from the confusion of the forest. Stretched in front of me as far as I could see was a dusty field. I vacantly wondered how long it had been since the last rain, but my mind was blank again before I could ponder for another second. The field was lined on either side by the forest which continued ahead for who-knows-how-far. I made sure to stay centered and was careful not to sway even an inch toward that jumbled mess for fear of being lost yet again.

Slowly, the feelings began to loop away from each other and straighten out. The recurring images faded slightly into the scenery, the volume of the voices snapping in my ears was somewhat tuned down, and the clouds covering my mind began to subside – though none of these painful reminders disappeared completely.

The field extended on still farther than my sight would allow, but in the distant horizon a figure stood out against the ashy-white sky. Was it a mirage?
Maybe.
But maybe not…
Time passed – possibly only minutes, but it felt like hours; or maybe days. The shape was now much closer and far off in the distance a dark cloud had made itself visible. Maybe it could bring rain to this dried-out, dismal place; but I knew it could never travel here and that was only wishful thinking.
I sorted through my mind, striving to piece it back together – or at least enough so that I might be able to function almost properly. Suddenly everything clicked. It was all clear to me now. I was, and would forever be, completely and utterly alone.
Then all of the memories – the voices, the images, the faces – all of it left as soon as I approached the figure that had been growing larger with every passing hour. It was a tree and it stood alone in the center of the dirt, completely out of reach from the far-off trees which bordered the sides and beckoned to it, reaching their stabbing arms in an effort to drag it into the forest’s depths. The tree slouched isolated, broken and surrounded by a number of its fallen branches. As I gazed more at the fallen branches I realized that they were powdered with millions of tiny, dried-up blossoms. Cherry blossoms. This old, desolate mass was once a beautiful cherry blossom tree; its life probably was once good, happy…and perfect. Now it was left here to decay and die alone.
But it wasn’t dead yet…
I wasn’t dead yet.
Just because my life was crushed beyond repair, it doesn’t mean that I can’t restart. Just then my eyes flickered to something. Peeking out from a broken branch was a single cherry blossom, still vivid and white in color with pink swirling through the soft petals. I stooped to pick it up, and then stopped. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something and reached down to run my hand across the dirt. A few blades of grass – no more than a millimeter high – were spreading out around the tree trunk. Maybe the tree would grow, too, just like the blossom. At that moment something tapped my hair. I squinted up towards the sky above me. Something warm touched my face. The comfortable, familiar feeling had almost been erased from my memories.
Hm, so the cloud had made it after all…





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