The moon and the stars were always covered by the trees. So each night my mother and I would climb up a special tree that we named, "Le Plus Grand Arbre." Meaning the tallest tree in French.
My mother would often bring up a blanket so we could stay warm but tonight wasn't like the other nights this time; She didn't come.
The tree's hard surface was rough against my hands. I tried to reach the next branch but since my mother wasn't here I couldn't get it without help. But I was still determined to try.
I reached for the branch with my right hand and put my foot down on the branch below me.
I took a sharp breath and jumped to the taller branch but I failed, I fell off the tree and landed in a pile of leaves.
I clenched my hands undaunted by the setback. I placed my foot on a branch and placed my other foot on the tree. I grabbed a branch and climbed until I reached the top.
Finally, when I reached the branch where my mother and I so many times watched the stars, tears started to come. I wiped at them, but they kept coming. Eventually, I let them run free.
I stared at the pale moon as I whispered to myself what my mother had told me the last time we watched the stars,
"Look at the moon it will always be in the sky, I may not always be with you physically, but mentally I will always be with you when you look at the moon."
It felt like it had been years since I'd seen my mother but it had only really been a few months.
I smiled as I thought of my mother looking at the moon from her California home, thinking of me. After seeing the stars one last time this night, I climbed down the tree and went to bed.
In the morning I chopped wood.
Normally, my parents would do this but since I couldn't live with my mother and my father always had to go to work in the morning and sometimes at night,
I had to stay with my grandparents until he came to pick me up to go to his house.
As I hit the wood I thought of my mother and how I couldn't look at the stars with her anymore. I had tried to get my father to watch the stars with me but he was always doing work.
When I couldn't cut any more wood, I retreated to the forest.
In the morning light, the forest was beautiful. I took a deep breath, I could smell the sweet aroma of pine trees. I walked through the forest until I saw the "Le Plus Grand Arbre" tree.
I paused as I saw my grandfather sitting against. His eyes smiled as he saw me. He patted the ground next to him and grinned. I bit my lip and then joined him.
"How are you, miss Talia?"
I smiled as I saw he was carving some wood. "Good, what are you carving?"
He chuckled and took a breath. "The moon."
I nodded and looked at the ground. "Talia, you don't look too happy."
I nodded and pointed at his carving. "She said that every time I look at the moon I should think of her, but every time I look at it I feel like she left me.
Sometimes I only go up there because I think she might be there..."
He nodded and placed a hand on my arm. "Well, I suppose since you're so sad I'll show you something."
I turned to him. "Show me something?"
He nodded and stood. I searched his face for the answer but found I couldn't find anything. He motioned for me to join him so I stood and slowly walked over to him. He led me to the fields.
Usually, we weren't allowed in the fields because wild horses ran around here and there were sometimes stampedes. He pointed out in the field to a pack of wild horses. "Can you see them?"
I nodded and he put my hand in his. "Tell me, what are they doing?"
I squinted my eyes to see them. "Eating," I answered.
My grandfather chuckled and shook his head. "Not what they are doing right now, but what they are always doing."
I stared as one horse galloped and the others ran. "They're always galloping."
He shook his head. "Not quite."
I frowned in frustration. "Then what are they doing?"
His eyes sparkled as he answered, "Running free."
I looked at him, confused. "Talia, no matter how much you feel trapped, you will always be free."
I nodded as he motioned that we should go back. When it was time to go to bed, I didn't go look at the stars, instead, I laid in my bed thinking about what my grandfather had said.
At nine that night, my bedroom door was opened.
"You awake?" It was my father's voice.
I sat up and nodded. He smiled his crooked grin and sat on the side of my bed. "I'm sorry that I couldn't get out of work earlier."
I nodded and he began to stroke my hair. "You alright, pumpkin?" I nodded again. "You're not saying much. Are you mad at me?"
I paused for a moment and then shook my head. "No, I'm not mad. I'm just tired." He nodded and kissed on the head.
After he left I got out of bed and went outside to the "Le Plus Grand Arbre" tree.
I didn't climb it, instead, I just stared at it. Eventually, I fell asleep with tears in my eyes and in the morning I was found by my grandfather.
"We were looking for you everywhere, miss Talia." His eyes danced as he saw me.
"Including my father?"
He laughed and sat down next to me. "Yes, your father was looking for you."
I looked at him. "But?" His eyes dimmed. "He had to leave for work."
I looked at the ground. "Talia, he has to support your family."
I looked at the forest as I replied, "What family?"
He grabbed my hand and squeezed it. "Your father, your mother, and you are a family."
I frowned. "No, we are not a family, at least not a whole one. We are broken like a mirror."
His eyes softened as he saw I was crying. "Your family may be broken, but that doesn't mean you should be broken too."
I burst into tears and hugged him tightly, not wanting to let go. While I cried he put an object in my hand. It felt smooth against my hand, except for some dents in it.
"What is it?" I asked in between sobs.
"Look," Was all he said.
I slowly pulled away from him and looked at what was in my palm. It was a wooden carved moon.
I smiled as I remembered what my mother had told me, "Look at the moon it will always be in the sky, I may not always be with you physically,
but mentally I will always be with you when you look at the moon." My throat was so tight that all I could say was, "Thank you."
He nodded and stood. "If you need me, I'll be running free." With those words he left.
I leaned against the tree and studied the carved moon. In large cursive words it said; Talia. After a few moments of studying it, I decided I should go see my grandmother.
I placed the carved moon near the tree and walked to the house.
When I got into the house, I saw my grandmother with a rolling pin rolling out some dough. As she rolls it out, she yells at it.
My grandmother had always been an excellent cook but you never wanted to be in the kitchen while she cooked.
When she saw me she pulled me into a tight hug with the rolling pin in her hand and yelled at me.
"Where were you?! We were looking for you everywhere! Don't scare me like that again!"
I pulled away from her and answered, "I was at the "Le Plus Grand Arbre" tree, I fell asleep when I was there."
My grandmother being a very strict woman hit me on the head with the rolling pin. "You are not to go out there without telling someone!" I rubbed my head as she pointed to the dough.
"Now roll that do out or you'll get another whacking!"
I nodded and did as she commanded. Obediently, I rolled the dough out and did as she said. After half an hour of cooking, she commanded me to get my grandfather for lunch.
Not wanting to get whacked again, I ran out the door. I searched in the forest for my grandfather but found no trace of him. As I remembered what he said before he left, I searched the fields.
During my search for him, I saw a rattlesnake. I froze. At first, it sounded quiet but it soon began to get louder. I searched for where it was coming from, then I saw it.
It was a stampede, and it was headed towards me.
I closed my eyes and waited for them to trample me. But as I waited someone hit against me and I fell to the ground. I opened my eyes and saw it was my grandfather.
He yelled something but I couldn't hear him, All I could hear was the stampede.
I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what I could do. I glanced at the stampede and saw it was almost here. I stood with my eyes closed and waited to die.
My grandfather noticed what I was doing and right before the stampede hit us, pushed me out of the way. My eyes were still closed, all I could hear was the thumping of the stampede.
As soon as it happened, it's over. I opened my eyes and stood.
I looked around for my grandfather but couldn't see him. I studied the ground as I went. There near where I pushed was the rattlesnake.
It had been trampled to death, I hoped that the same hadn't happened to my grandfather. Finally, when I couldn't walk anymore I sat down in the middle of the field.
All of a sudden I heard a groan. I stood and ran to the groan. On the grass, I see my grandfather and he looks fine except for his arm. Tears well up in my eyes as I hug him.
I want this moment to last forever.
He slowly gets up and returns the hug. I whisper in his ear what I always say before I go to bed, but this time I really mean it, "I love you.
" The words he said echo in my mind, "No matter how much you feel trapped, you will always be free."
It had been years since I had been to the special tree and it almost seemed like a dream as I sat down against it. As I looked down at the ground I saw a small little carved moon.
After living with my grandparents for so long it was so hard on me when my grandfather died.
When I couldn't live with my mother he had been my hope and now it seemed as if he was connected to this tree somehow.
I wished that he could be here with me as I grabbed the carving of the moon and pocketed it. He had made a great impact in my life, I only wished that I could do the same for him.
As I walked away from the tree I felt as if he was there with me.
By @FilmRose (Please excuse the changing between present tense and past, this is a story I wrote a long while ago. Also excuse any incorrect French.)