Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #495

Note: In the commentary for my Redneck Valentines post, “someone” asked about cards and stories for folks who are NOT in a relationship on Valentine’s Day. Well, I just so happened to have this in the archives…

Jeanne: “Hello, Tree. I’m here once again, sharing my thoughts, feeling a little blue because it’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t have anyone special in my life right now. I won’t be getting any flowers or candy, even though all the other gals in the office will be getting things, with each of them squealing like a stuck pig when something gets plunked on their desk.”

Tree: “Now, Jeanne, we’ve talked about this before. There is no reason for you to be all bereft just because you don’t currently have a man or a woman walking around with your fingerprints on them. Valentine’s Day is a purely commercial enterprise designed to make money. It has nothing to do with real relationships.”

Jeanne: “But the girls in the office… they seem so excited when they get something. Granted, the squealing does get on your nerves after a while, and I often have unclean thoughts about wanting to slap them and hurl their wretched flowers out the window, but still, it would be nice if I could do the squealing one day.”

Tree: “Did it ever cross your mind that the validation your gal pals get from getting something one day a year is a little bit sad?”

Jeanne: “I’m not sure what you’re saying. But this might have something to do with my over-stylized coiffure, coated as it is with severe grooming products that tend to reflect soundwaves. I’m never any good at Bingo, because I can’t hear the numbers they are calling out.”

Tree: “I’m going to skip over that part, because it’s a little insipid and it feels like the writer of this post is experimenting with a humor angle that hit the fail blog. But what I am saying is that love isn’t based on a calendar. Love isn’t a thing that can be defined by buying chocolates on a certain day just because somebody else thinks that you should do so. Love is personal, individual, and there are no rules. Love arrives and thrives and survives because thousands of tiny things come together in just the right way for two people, not by following a recipe or a formula or using your credit card.”

Jeanne: “But what if my thousand tiny things never mesh with anyone?”

Tree: “Well, that’s a good question. And the answer depends on what is right for you, even if you don’t know what that is yet. Some people have many loves. Some people have one love that never ends. Some people have loved with intensity, burning brightly, and then happenstance deals a blow that leaves them alone, and they never want to try again because what they had can never be topped. Some people are quite content with being alone, some of us have natures like that, and there’s nothing wrong with that acceptance. And some people, dear friend, will never find that perfect one.”

Jeanne: “That sounds so depressing.”

Tree: “It sounds like life. The trick is to figure out what makes you personally happy. There is no blueprint, no manual, no right or wrong way. There is only the understanding of what you personally need, not what others expect you to need.”

Jeanne: “Still, the being alone part…”

Tree: “You’re not alone. You have me.”

Jeanne: “But you’re just a tree.”

Tree: “No, I’m also a friend. I have always been here for you. And I have a thousand branches to hold you when nobody sends you flowers.” 

Jeanne: “Aw, that is so sweet of you.”

Tree: “Well, I can get a little bit sappy sometimes.”

Previously published. Minimal changes made.

Status Update: Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit AWOL from WordPress recently. Suffice it to say that I had dental surgery last Wednesday, with an errant tooth being yanked and the foundation for an eventual implant being shoved into the violated space. As such, I’ve not been particularly invested in blogging activities, choosing instead to wallow in the “sick bed” and rue the existence of truculent body parts.

Now that I’m almost back to my regular self (a concept that frightens many a family member, who would much prefer that I remain compromised and therefore can’t pen missives about them), it’s going to take me a bit to catch up on things. In the interim, I hope you enjoyed this reshare of an older post. This entry is admittedly Hallmark Movie Channel in nature, but it’s just where my mind is at the time, with said mind addled by five successive days of Hydrocodone, antibiotics and a satanic solution that I must swill and spit SIX TIMES a day until that wretchedly-enormous bottle is empty.

The madness never ends.


24 replies »

  1. I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.

    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

    A tree that may in summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;

    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.

    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    Liked by 4 people

    • True Story: My eighth grade English teacher, whilst teaching us poetry that year, made it clear that she was not a fan of Joyce Kilmer’s poem. She also made us learn and recite three poems as a project. Naturally, my friends and I got together and decided that we would use the Kilmer poem as one of our selections. The teacher was not impressed… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was lovely, Brian. Thanks for sharing wise thoughts about love. The tree’s soliloquy (beginning with “the answer depends on what is right for you, even if you don’t know what that is yet….) is worthy of Rilke and deserves to be memorialized and shared. We have some very wise trees in our yard. I think it’s time to pay a visit. Hope your dental woes are soon history.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Donna. (And I’m blushing at the Rilke comparison, unworthy of such but basking in the connection nonetheless, even if your words may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek.)

      And now that I reflect on the tree imagery, such symbolism has been factored into a number of my stories over the year. (In fact, if I’m processing correctly, a tree is a focal point in three of the entries in my next story collection. And the final sentence in my “after thoughts” section of that collection has the word “tree” in it.)

      Hmm. I wonder what I’m supposed to learn from this realization?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like Richard Powers’ book, The Overstory, is calling to you. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. If you have read it, that may explain your arboreal eloquence. And nope, not tongue-in-cheek at all. Your writing has chops.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I’m not a fan of dental work, either. And it’s even more annoying that I’m one of those people who is mildly fanatical about proper oral care, with my high-end electric toothbrush and my WaterPik and my vigorous flossing and a professional cleaning every THREE months. But sometimes we can’t control our destinies and things go awry….

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You have my total sympathy with the tooth business. I had one pulled in early December – they actually gave it to me after the surgery. Pretty and I were appalled by the size. It looked like a cromagnon’s tooth or whatever that prehistoric species was called. Anyway, girl, it was huge.
    Good luck with your recovery and implant!

    Liked by 4 people

    • This tooth was rather large as well, akin to a small boulder that some folks might use to accent a rock garden in their backyard. But they didn’t offer it up as a souvenir and I didn’t think to ask. (I just wanted to be out of that evil chair and back in my own domicile, which is basically my thought on any social situation.) And it’s weird gazing at the little metal plate that is now in the space where a tooth once was, awaiting the eventual implant. It looks like a homing device of some kind. Say, maybe I can use it to download movies off the Internet?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Aaaaaaaw Brian,
    Is that the sound of root canal treatment I hear (what a horrible expression)? Maybe in U.S.A there is another invasive treatment. I think you are right to take to your sick bed if you feel like doing so. Hope all goes well.
    As always really enjoyed reading your post.
    Reminds me especially of my last trip to Gambia and my partner (who lives there) making fun and singing ‘Valentine,valentine,Valentine’ one evening. The whole events being put on for tourist’s benefit. ❤️🤩

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hey, Margaret. Actually, this particular tooth already had a root canal and cap done years ago. Over time, what was left of the original tooth had started to erode, mostly due to the fact that I grind my teeth at night and this tooth stuck up a little higher than the others, so it took the brunt of the grinding. It got to the the point where it was becoming lose and no longer “salvageable”, so it had to go.

      I’m sure you didn’t expect all this detail, but I feel comfortable sharing with you. 😉

      As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day, what with all the commercialism and enforced expectations. But I AM intrigued by this concept of you having a Gambian partner. It sounds so international and exotic!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Brian,
        Thank you for the detail. I understand better now and see that the whole experience must have been painful for you.
        Likewise Brian I felt comfortable sharing with you about my Gambian partner.

        Liked by 2 people

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