When It Didn’t Fall

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The four of us, finally, were in the car on our way to the concert.

A pile of willow branches, nearly equal in height to the car were parked along the driveway next to the dry creek bed. My dad had mentioned the fall earlier, when I first drove up the driveway, and again now that we were all looking at the pile.

“When did that happen?” my sister asked him, from the driver’s seat, placing her phone into the holder attached to the dashboard.

“This morning. There was a loud noise, and when I came down to look it was massive, just all over the bridge. Pretty wild.”

“Oh. I heard that too.” my sister said, putting the car into reverse. I looked up out the window from the passenger seat, my parents in the back, and finally saw the trunk of the tree and what remained, a fresh break about ten feet above the bridge.

“I’m glad it didn’t fall during the wedding,” my dad said.

“Or on the car,” my sister commented.

I added, “Or fall onto the gate,”

“During the Solstice?” she asked.

“Yea. Onto the park gate.”

There was a long moment in which I began to laugh at how weird it was to be worrying about a thing that didn’t happen so long ago; over a month, or nearly a year ago. I turned around a bit to face the middle of the car as we continued to back out and made one of those gestures with my hands and philosophically comment, “Well, that really kind of says everything about each of us, huh?”

My sister laughs, and I think my dad in the back seat did too, as she replied in agreement, “Where each one of us is at and cares about.”

“Yea. And when we’re at. Out of the three of us, you were the closest to now.”

“In the present.”

My mom hadn’t yet commented on when she was glad it hadn’t fallen, because her hearing-aid batteries needed to be replaced and she didn’t recognize that until after dinner. The tree had fallen and she didn’t hear the conversation about the sound.

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