It Was Left in the Tree

“Theo, you get down from there,” his wife called through the winter air.

Theodore clung to the bare limbs, continuing his ascent. He cursed her under his breath, words he wouldn’t dare say aloud. The smell of cold wind across dormant grass stung his nostrils. It smelled of quiescence. The smell spoke of an end of things. He thought it smelled like death.

“Theo,” she called again.

“Not now, woman,” he shot back, hoarse from the climb already, “I’ve got to find it.”

“It, it, it,” his wife chirped, “Always with the it, it, it. Pheh, you’re as mad as the day I met you.”

“No, you’ve driven me even more mad, Lucille.” He knew that was a mistake as soon as he said it. She was off on a tirade again, tongue flapping like his scarf in the breeze. Eyes rolling, he continued the struggle upwards. He had to find it, the key. All those years ago, he carved it there, left it behind.

If only he could find it, then would come the Spring to chase away the November chill in his bones.

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