I waited for you at the summit of the hill, though I did not know your face, because the fairytale story in Grandpapa’s library told me you would come.
I waited, humming along with the birds, embroidering roses on my skirt.
I waited, bum in the wet grass, eyes on the blinding clouds.
I waited, heart a block of ice, face rippled with the sands of time, hands that never have touched other hands since they left the warmth of Grandpapa’s cabin now clasped together to keep the decomposers away.
Finally, the sun rose, as it has a habit of doing every so often, and in its light I saw an ivory stallion marching forth, toward me. The stallion was beautiful, but the prince on his back wasn’t too bad-looking himself. He grinned at me, displaying a set of jaws endowed with perfect teeth for biting into the rich steak that had surely formed his marvelous figure.
As he approached, I became sure that Grandpapa’s prophecy was coming true at last, in this moment, and here was the prince who would ride with me into some unspecified point in the infinite sky. I even reached out my arms, the better for him to grab me and swing me onto his horse.
He reached me. He passed me. Then I noticed that behind him rode a young girl exuding drunken rose perfume. She blew me a kiss that hit me between the eyes like a harpoon. But I did not collapse. Like the great tree behind me that accompanied me so many years, I stood firm.
Now I turn and contemplate this tree. He has sheltered me from whatever pain the sky has thrown at me. He has been a strong back to my chair of muddy grass. Now the wind whispers the ravings of an aged man betwixt his leaves. It is the song of my soul.
My old bones clamber up his sturdy trunk to lie at last in the embrace of innocent dreams among his branches. He has waited for me so patiently.
Image credit: By Adinbegic (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons