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The oak tree was young so its bark yielded easily beneath the thick, sharp blade of Frankie’s buck knife. Frankie’s tongue poked out of the corner of his mouth as he concentrated on carving the heart. Inside it read “Frankie + Valerie Forever.” Valerie stared up at Frankie with a dreamy expression that could almost convince you that there’s reason to believe in happy endings.

“Do you think it will be forever, Frankie, really forever?”

“Forever and always, baby. I promise.”

Then they kissed and kissed and kissed…

Five years later Frankie proposed to Valerie in the shade of that tree. Five years after that their first child climbed in its branches. But all those years stacked on top of each other like wrecked cars in a pile-up, and Frankie and Valerie stopped visiting the tree.

Frankie didn’t think about the old oak tree until 75 years from that first day. It flitted through the back of his consciousness a couple days after Valerie’s funeral while he rummaged through a shoebox of old pictures and letters. The memory of the tree managed come to a rest on the frail edge of his memory like a single bee buzzing away from a swarm and coming to rest on the petal of a flower.

The tree, he needed to find that damn tree.

Frankie managed to groan out of his chair and reached for his cane determined to find the old tree. He didn’t have a clear reason articulated in his head, but he felt it was the right thing to do.

Finally Frankie, after consider searching, stumbled on the very park where he first kissed Valerie all those years ago. He walked up to an old tree with names carved in it, and became acutely aware of how dark it was. He started worrying about things. He was seized with aimless terrors.

“Why am I here,” he moaned. He looked around grasping in the twilight. He sat down at the bottom of the tree and pulled his arthritic knees to his spongy bird-chest and cried tearlessly. He didn’t know where he was. He didn’t know how to get home. He was hungry, so hungry. He was confused. His mind grew cloudy. His memory, like many things these days, wasn't what it used to be.

Date Written: September 14, 2004
Author: scoop
Average Vote: 4.125

09/20/2004 qualcomm (4): ah, that's cute. however, if you ever do this
The memory of the tree managed come to a rest on the frail edge of his memory like a single bee buzzing away from a swarm and coming to rest on the petal of a flower.
again, i'll beat you brainless, you little cunt.
09/20/2004 anonymous: Dear OSS,
"The mother dead these fourteen years did incubate in her own bosom the creature who would carry her off. The father never speaks her name, the child does not know it. He watches pale and unwashed. He can neither read nor write and in him broods already a taste for mindless violence. All history present in that visage, the child the father of the man."
Love, Cormac McCarthy
09/20/2004 Joe Frankenstone (4): Can I take back what I said about emotional truth?
09/20/2004 Ewan Snow: Author, what's your point with the Cormac McCarthy quote? Seriously.
09/20/2004 anonymous: McCarthy is a tool, and that example that OSS targeted was an example of toolish writing. That's all. I just pulled a random sample from Blood Meridian, in the hopes of rankling one's chancre.
09/20/2004 qualcomm: i think he's admitting that the sentence i cited was overwritten
09/20/2004 qualcomm: yes!
09/20/2004 anonymous: i.e. what he said.
09/20/2004 qualcomm: yes!
09/20/2004 Will Disney (4): something a little new...
09/20/2004 Litcube (5):
09/20/2004 Pix (4): brave
09/20/2004 TheBuyer: whoops. that was me
09/20/2004 Jon Matza: McCarthy's only a tool...what's important is how we use him.
09/20/2004 Benny Maniacs (4): McCartney played bass. Not a lot of people know that.
09/20/2004 Mr. Pony (4): good on scup!!!
09/21/2004 John Slocum (4):