Underneath the Chestnut Tree

She glanced through her window, beyond the lace curtains, at the chestnut tree that stood guard and shielded her window from the street. She looked down and saw a flash of white beneath the chestnut’s lower limbs. The glimpse quickened her heartbeat. Is it him? she thought. She backed away from the window ever so slightly. She remembered his instructions. Wait for a sign. Then make some gesture of acknowledgment. Now she was frightened. If this was real, could she now really leave everything behind? Could she really say “to hell with them,” and run off into the night?

Back to the window. Something moved below. A small light flared up. A cigarette. He was there. The slight glow illuminated him for just a second. She caught a glimpse of his neck where his shirt opened. She saw his mouth and the shadow of his hand. It was him. He was there beneath her chestnut tree, watching her, just as he said he would some day. And he wanted her to know that it was time.

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