I sit down at the stump where the tree used to be. The one my father and I sat down under so many times before.
When I was first born and the few years after, we sat and he told me stories of the long ago. I would drift asleep in the sun and the breeze. These are my fondest memories, though they are the faintest.
We sat under the tree with little Danny after he was born. I learned a little more of what life was. I understood that he was like I had been and he would become like I was then.
I sat under the tree by myself when I learned that was a lie. That Danny had left us before I ever got to know him. He would never become like me.
My father and I sat under the tree once more when my mother left us, as well. I did not understand why she had gone. I knew she would not come back. All this I knew without my father speaking of it.
I sat under the tree one last time when I was older and I had to leave my father for work. I told him there that I would come back. That I would write every day until I had enough money to rejoin him here.
I imagine that my father sat under the tree when he learned that was a lie. I had not meant it to be. Yet my writing was infrequent and eventually stopped altogether. I had excuses. None of them were good.
I was told that he was sitting under the tree when he went to join Danny and my mother. I had not seen him for a year before. I had not known he was sick.
Without his care, the tree left to follow them all soon after. It had always been full of life, of leaves, and birds, and fruit. When I came to sit beneath it one last time, those were all gone.
Now, the lumber has long been hauled off for building and for burning. It was a large tree and would serve those purposes well.
I sit down at the stump where the tree used to be.