The Trees That Cried This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

August 10, 2011
Out of the corner of my eye, I watched his chest slowly lift. It gave a silent heave, and he gradually let the air out. He was sighing, a big and painful sigh. It seemed like I was always making people sigh.

I looked out the window of the car, turning my head so I didn’t have to see him. I relaxed everything in my body, and tried to make my mind as blank as my face was. My eyes, which were lifeless at the moment, stared onto the wet, gray pavement moving quickly by. I was trying to remove everything from my mind. It wasn’t working.

“I wonder,” he said, “how much responsibility you take for this relationship?”

I thought about that. I knew that he was sure I never thought about anything he said, but I did. Especially about this.

What was happening? We were the best of friends for so long. My childhood years were almost entirely based around him. I never worried about what he would think of me. In the back of my mind, there was a security that was so deliciously safe. It was the unfailing security that he would always love me.

My mind drifted back to the time of the weeping willow trees. I was really young, not more than five. I’m sure he thinks I’ve forgotten this, but how can I explain I’ll never forget it? It was probably late fall, and it was really cold out. But I wanted to see the trees that cried. It fascinated me. So we went out, all bundled up, and talked for hours under those gigantic trees. I begged for an explanation of their name – why they were crying, and I knew he really didn’t know. So he made up the best, most extravagant story he could think of. We stayed out there in the cold, just us. That’s what we were – the best of friends.

The car pulled to an abrupt stop. I looked up at the big school building I now had to face.

“Bye,” I muttered.

“Bye.” One syllable filled with so much pain.

That was the problem. We got into stupid little fights over everything. And when things were fine, they weren’t really fine. They weren’t good or relaxed. It was all so tense, and every time we fought, it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I thought about it, how much responsibility was mine. A lot, I’m sure. Probably most of it is my fault. Sometimes I catch him watching me. I can almost remember what it was like at those moments. But I know I’m a romantic. I make up things in my mind all the time. Like with the weeping willows – I don’t know how much of that is my memory, and how much is my dreamy imagination. Still, at these times, I wonder what he’s thinking. Is he proud of me, of the person I’m becoming? Does he still love me?

A friend of mine once told me that no one really understands him. I wonder if that’s true. At first, I became indignant. I wanted to yell, “I know him! I understand him! Better than anyone!”

But that’s not really true. I’d like to think it is, but it’s not.

Maybe I should just try to talk to him. I haven’t quite figured out yet what went bad. Maybe it’s just our love has changed. It’s not wrong, just different. I’m growing up, and things are different, but I don’t want him out of my life. I still need him, more than ever. Maybe we will never again sit under the weeping willow trees. Maybe that friendship is gone. But a new one can grow. It’s possible, isn’t it?

Because I still love my dad as much as anything in this world.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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