“Batto,” she cried. “Muela!” “Timbri!!” The acrid smoke filled Senna’s lungs as she strained against the arms holding her back from the blaze. “Let me go!” Her body trembled violently; her eyes glazed with disbelief. She had been in town, admiring the new plum trees, when she heard the sirens and ran all the way home. Now she was watching her entire life crumble into crashing timbers, charred remnants, and … Her mind refused to continue.
The townspeople built her a small house and dug a new garden on the land that was now hers alone. Senna barely spared them a glance. None of their sympathy had anything to do with her. Batto and the children would soon be home from their travels. She would plant the trees Batto had gifted her, lavish them with loving care. How the children would love playing underneath, blossoms showering them in spring, luscious fruit calling to be picked at summer’s turning.
The trees became the heart of her life. She measured time by her new caretaking tasks. A time for stalking, and daily watering. A time for thinning and pruning. A mulching time, a time for raking. And so the seasons changed, the trees grew, as she waited patiently for her beloved husband and daughter and son to return.
Five springs softened into green. Five dappled summers danced. Five autumns rustled and glowed. Five winters blanketed the trees with snow.
Senna was awakened on the cusp of the sixth spring by a strange new sound – laughter! Muela and Timbri were playing tag around the trees, while Batto admired the first plum blossoms. They all turned to greet Senna as she came running out of the house.
Senna closed her eyes, overcome with the joy of reunion. When she opened them again, the plum trees were shedding crimson tears. “We came to say good-bye,” Batto whispered as he and the children faded into the mist. Senna bowed her head. A gentle gust of wind christened her with plum blossoms.
An unexpected peace embraced Senna and her family of trees, and together, they wept.