Chapter 12

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Will gazed up from the split log bench through the leafless willow branches.  He marveled at how large the willow had become since Emily had planted the tree twenty long years ago.  Though chemotherapy had made Emily feel ill, she had found the strength to go out to the bench in the early mornings to watch the sunrise.  Often Will would wrap a blanket around her cold shoulders and hold her frail body to keep her warm.  Emily found comfort next to him.

Emily knew Will had concerns about the progress of the treatment so she told him that she had decided to plant and watch a tree grow tall.  Watch as the tree aged with them.  Will had suggested the now fifty-foot tall weeping willow and told Emily the seedling would thrive next to the lake.  Will did not tell Emily why the fast growing willow tree had been his choice, yet she knew.  Will’s hope that Emily could see the seedling grow to a tree kept her going.  So shivering and weak Emily had put the roots deep into the ground.

Sitting on the bench, gazing through the branches of the tree that had thrived next to the lake for those almost twenty years Will lost himself in thoughts of Emily.  Thoughts where Emily was still alive, always exuberant, never weak, never dying.  He felt her presence there.  He felt their youth.  He was not alone.

* * * * *

William Bellen and Emily Allen met during her college break when Emily took a summer job detail painting for Will’s father.  Will barely said a word to Emily the first weeks she worked at the studio.  The studio was electric when Emily was there.  Her detailing on the urns was as dazzling as Emily herself.  Emily wore her chestnut hair to her shoulders making her hazel eyes all the more friendly and inviting, like her laughter, and she always wore a sleeveless blouse and Capri pants that came half way down her calves.  Will did not say much to her.  He could not think about anything else.

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