Flash fiction, of the familial kind.
|Brock escaped from his puce apartment building, his shoelaces undone, into the front yard. He traced the heaving fault lines of splitting plastic turf, strokes on a map, until he arrived, summoned, at the base of the tree that guarded his bedroom window.
It stood so tall and broad, Brock was sure down to his breakable 5 year-old bones that should it choose, it could reach down and lift him, comforting him against its ancient core. He hugged it back, as he did every day after his turtle Tut was fed red worms from the jar his mom bought on her way from the ABC store.
The tree reveled in peeking into the boy’s room, in following the path of his mobile planets circling his warped and bloated desktop. It stood bemused as he dressed each morning, struggling to make sure his shoes were on the right foot, and shook at the sad hilarity when he got it wrong and came home with them still unchanged. It loved his frail hugs, the way he hid army men beneath pines and cones. It commanded squirrels and dogs to filch them, reinforcing the boy’s yearning that they would reach deep and take root and grow to be a friend, a papa. Peering into other apartments, the tree knew innocence existed nowhere but in the boy’s room, where he would mutter to himself and build safe havens with his blankets and feel shade against his skin, learning without knowing what sanctuary was.