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Catherine Anne Hayes, The Tree

The tree
a memory

I love trees...
Their calm... their strength...their stories.
I love to lie under a tree and I remember once going deep inside a tree
to hide during a game of hide go seek.
I must have been in my early teens...
and all of the sudden I was not alone in that tree.
One of the guys that was the son of my mother's friend...
he was about 18 I think...takes my chin in his fingers and
lifts up my face to him....I could not make out his
face because, even though we were in that tree, patches
of sunlight could make their way inside.
They haloed his head and darkened his face.
He bent down and kissed me...
gently...fully.
As he pulled away my lower lip was caught between his
as if he did not want to break away from me.
I remember he tasted like cold coca cola.
He then let out his breath and said "Beautiful...grow up fast"
and disappeared out of the tree.
I tried to follow him out but it was like he vanished.
I never saw him again.
He was killed in a boat accident down in Florida where his family spent the winter.
I never forgot that kiss.
Funny...I don't even remember his name but sometimes when I drink a
cold coca cola and I lick my lips with my cold tongue he comes to mind.
He was the first to kiss me like a woman.
The first to make me feel womanly...beautiful.

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