Meet Me Up in the Oak Tree

Meet Me Up in the Oak Tree

A Story by Ciara
"

I made my original story shorter to enter in a contest.

"

Ella’s eyes were breathtaking. The color fluctuated between a gold that resembled beams of light and auburn decorated with dark speckles. But their beauty goes past the color with her bubbly personality reflecting through. The first time I met her up in the oak tree, I was captured by her. Ella was my inspiration in life and the reason that I used to believe the eyes were the windows to the soul. But I learned that windows can be tinted with lies.

  Just as everyday, we met at the top of the oak tree. She greeted me with her eternal smile. Ella's warm voice melted my heart; even idle small talk was captivating. But her tone shifted a bit. I began searching her eyes for answers and then something unusual happened. Her gaze became tear filled and jaded. She recovered to her usual self instantly, but her moment of obscure abnormality was unsettling. Before we parted, she told me she would be up in the oak tree. Even though it was our usual phrase, it sounded strange this time. Her falter plagued my dreams. The image of beautiful eyes, reflecting despair, haunted me.

I awoke to the sound of a light knock. It grew louder as I tried to ignore it. Reluctantly I pulled myself out of bed, prepared to lash out at whoever was behind the door. But then I saw my father's tears.

“Son… your friend Ella...I’m so sorry…”

I wanted to hide. I wanted to believe that everything would be okay. I wanted to go back in time to hold her and never let her go. I wanted to not hear what I knew was coming next."I'm so sorry" painted the rest of the picture.

“Ella, she… she took her own life last night. She was found strung up in the oak tree. This was found in her pocket… it’s written to you.”

 My dad barely evaded the door as it slammed closed. My fist smashed through dry wall. "NO! IT'S A LIE!" The dresser was thrust to the ground. "SHE IS STILL ALIVE! SHE IS... she has to be." Gravity increased and I felt my knees drop to the floor. "She said she would be in the oak tree! She said we would meet in the tree!" But that wasn't what she said. Her words were "I will be up in the oak tree."; I, not we. A painful wail sounded through the entire house. "That was her saying goodbye." I wrapped my arms around myself, hoping that I could keep from falling apart. But at this point, nothing could hold me together. She was gone. All that was left was that one piece of paper...written for me. A stream ran down my face as I read,

Dear Eric,

 I love you. You are the only reason I could barely manage to smile every day. But the bruises from my tormentors and the fear of boys using me as their toys, never go away. And at home my parents have already forgotten that I exist. It’s as if I am already gone. I can’t keep hiding behind this fake smile. I am done. Good bye, Eric. Thank you for meeting me up in the oak tree. You almost made my smile real.

 Closing my eyes, I went back to beginning. I remembered the day I lied flat on my back, gazing at the top of the big oak tree. I wanted to know if the view was as I imagined. But, I remained on the ground. I was unsure if my wonders were worth repeatedly crashing down into the dirt. Then radiance came along and stood over me. A pair of beautiful eyes met mine as she said, "You goof! Are you just going to lay there? Follow me! Lets reach the top together!" I followed her every move, but I fell over and over again. Still, I persevered. It seemed worth it because light was waiting for me at the top.

Eventually, I met her high up in the oak tree. "Now I won't sit up here alone anymore! My name is Ella!" Lost in her eyes, I hardly stuttered out an introduction. When I went in for a hand shake, she pulled me into a hug. "Hey, lets meet up here again tomorrow!" she said. Her lively smile was so inviting. I couldn't help but follow her. That became our thing; meet me up in the oak tree.

Nostalgia for our first time in the tree welled up inside me. I realized how oblivious I was to her misery. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, why did I only see false bliss? How could I not realize the pain behind every joke, tears after every laugh, and a struggle for every smile? Her stoic façade concealed the agony of an aching heart, yearning for peace. Enduring pressure from the lie, concealed from her eyes, led to the end. Her last words brought the wistfulness that tied the noose around my neck. The folded piece of paper and a pen fell from my cold hands, my lifeless eyes fixed on the last line on the page, I will meet you up in the oak tree so you won't be alone; to see those angelic eyes and make that smile real. The ink was still fresh.


© 2017 Ciara



Author's Note

Ciara
Help me with grammar. Let me know if you like the complete change in direction or if I should return to The Lie Behind Her Smile.

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Reviews

I like stories like this because it takes me back to my suicidal days and all of the notes I wrote. It's always interesting to see the "aftermath" of what would have happened when you're gone. As far as grammar, I don't have much to say. I don't like writing that feels restrained by "proper" writing.

Posted 11 Months Ago


I used to believe the eyes were the windows to the soul. But I learned that windows can be tinted with lies.

Posted 11 Months Ago


"I wrapped my arms around me" sounds a little clunky. What about "around myself"?

Other than that, this is polished. Lovely writing, and I hope to see this posted to some of the contests. Well done, I can't wait to read the next story.

Posted 11 Months Ago


I actually like this much better. It definitely adds a whole new dimension with a bit more back story. One thing I just realized was the addition of "She became my muse" to a sentence in the first paragraph. The thought would be stronger without that part and with the narrator simply saying that he was captured by her.

Also, the addition to the final line he wrote on the last page, it works but it feels a little clunky with 'to see those angelic eyes and so I can make that smile real'. Take out 'so I can' and it flows much better.

The only other possibility is when he's wailing to himself in his room. I don't think you need him saying 'How did I not see it' aloud. It's one of those understood lines that we don't need. Just the cry that it was her goodbye works great to accentuate how much pain he feels for missing it.

Other than that, this is shaping up into one hell of a story.

Posted 11 Months Ago


Ciara

11 Months Ago

So I went in a made some more edits. Also, I decided to tie 'eyes being the window to the soul" back.. read more
and also dont repeat the word "smile" alot. once is enough. fake sadness is not all in the smiles. talk about her eyes, was she full of life before? involve us into her enviroment but try to compress the phrases to make room for the other important factors like why didnt their parents have time for her... write and compress, write and compress. fit in every valuabe factor without getting into too much descriptions.

Posted 11 Months Ago


Ciara

11 Months Ago

So I did some really weird stuff with this story and kind of turned it into a new story. I set it in.. read more
"fear of boys using me as their toys, never go away. And at home my parents have already forgotten that I exist. It’s as if I am already gone. I can’t keep hiding behind this fake smile. I am done. Good bye, Eric. Thank you for being there for me. You almost made my smile real." this paragraph is so real... keep up with the goodwork.
and also... add some background, write about a scene or two they both faced together in the past. steer a little humour within the sadness, just a little to add some flavour.

Posted 11 Months Ago


This is fantastic! Love the improvements, but I just had an idea for the end that you could edit in, as well. Putting in a line about how with the last words he wrote she was still his muse! It just came to me as I finished it.

I absolutely LOVE edits, though. Adding in his dialogue to himself is fantastic, and his reaction is much more realistic. The only error that I'm seeing, and in truth I'm not sure it is one but it jumped out at me before and it jumped out at me again is the opening paragraph. You say "Ella was my inspiration in life and the reason that I use to believe the eyes were the windows to the soul." I'm not positive but I think the proper usage, is "used to believe" rather that "use to believe". Not sure, but it flows better.

I love it, though, and I'm glad you took the time to edit this. Fantastic job, and while it's definitely a big bit of foreshadowing in the beginning, you have the final line of the first paragraph being that his muse is gone now, but what about changing that line to something about how he learned that the windows of the soul could lie? How he was wrong about that being the window to the soul, because he had never truly seen through those windows? Just a bit of paradox between lines as one of my first readers always calls me on.

Fantastically done, and I can't wait to read more. Keep writing!

Posted 11 Months Ago


Ciara

11 Months Ago

So I did some really weird stuff with this story and kind of turned it into a new story. I set it in.. read more
Excellently written, and I'm glad I found it to read. This one made me feel the pain the character felt, but as you're looking for reviews, I must need point out the few things here that dragged my attention.

The ending is slightly hard to follow. It seems as if you're saying Eric is reading the last line of Ella's letter, but it took me a moment to realize he wrote it himself. Any number of ways you could rewrite that, but I love the sentiment there.

Simple grammar, which I hate point out, but just before Ella's letter you meant to write "nothing could keep me together" and it was corrected to my instead of me. Simple stuff, but it drives people nuts.

Also, to jump around in the story, the beginning of the second paragraph seems off a bit with the way you wrote it. My recommendation would be to either split the sentence up into two, "Just as everyday she greeted me with her eternal smile and warm voice. She melted my heart as we discussed our day." Or take out warm voice entirely and make it a description of how her warm smile melts his heart.

Hopefully the critiques are helpful, and these were wonderfully written. Loved it, keep writing.

Posted 11 Months Ago


Ciara

11 Months Ago

Thank you so much! This was very helpful!
Ciara

11 Months Ago

I did some edits. Please tell me what you think.
Ciara

11 Months Ago

So I did some really weird stuff with this story and kind of turned it into a new story. I set it in.. read more
The first paragraph caught my attention, which is great because that first paragraph is where the reader is supposed to get the gist of the story/poem, such as the events, characters, etc.
Now, the details. First, when you write "I watched her smile fall...", did you mean to write "falter" instead of "fall", or is there another meaning here that I am missing? Either way, I think that it should be written as "I watched her smile falter...".
The next part I am defintely not too sure about, so you can look into it. When you write "...his expression... was it pity?" I think that is should be the next line and go something like this: "His expression... was it pity?". Also, the reader may be a little confused as to whether the father actually approved of the relationship or not (Or it could be there, but I just missed it).
Finally, I noticed a slight mistake. At the end, you wrote "My lifeless eyes were fixed on the last line of the page “I will make your smile real.” The ink was still fresh.". Looking back, the last line of the letter is "You almost made my smile real". I am not sure if you noticed this mistake, or if the main character says to himself that he wants to make her smile real. If the latter, then the last line of the story or the last line of the letter may need to be revised.
Finally, I find that I am the same way as the way in which the main character's "... impatient personality drove me eliminate anything that hindered my rendezvous with Ella". If you want to know why, please send a note. It is something that I wanted to mention, but not share with the whole community. But another reason why I am mentioning this is because the if the reader can make a text-to-self connection, then the work is a success to the writer.
Otherwise, it is beautifully written and emotionally written. If the reader is able to feel the same sadness that the writer felt, then the story is a success. I would also like to mention that I was listening to Ad Honorem by Axl Rosenburg, and found that it is a perfect fit for the story. I recommend giving it a listen and tell me what you think.

Posted 2 Years Ago


Suicide is so tragic. A suicide, because of a suicide, doubly so. Good story.

Posted 2 Years Ago



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Added on September 28, 2015
Last Updated on January 6, 2017
Tags: death, love, suicide, loss