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“Hey, you!” a tree called out. I looked around for the source of the voice but didn’t see anything unusual until I noticed that one particular tree had grown some arms and was waving at me from afar. “Nice to meet you,” it said in an eerily human-like manner before returning back into stillness as if nothing happened at all. That’s when I realized this wasn’t just any old oak on my way home; no, these were talking trees.
The first time it happened was during my last years of high school when we would routinely go up there with our textbooks or science project ideas to avoid teachers’ lectures about how little attention spans students have nowadays (we always did get good grades though
I used to walk through the woods near my house and hear them whispering Vietnamese. They’d laugh at how I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but it was still comforting to know that there was someone out there who knew me better than anyone else.
The trees never seemed judgmental of my shortcomings, or ever tried to tell me what I should be doing with myself. The secret language between us felt like an unspoken bond; we both had our quirks and oddities but for one reason or another, neither of us minded not being understood by others so much anymore…at least when we would talk in this special way.
One day as I was walking past some small bushes on the outskirts of the woods, I heard someone laughing and my name being called out. “Ivy!”
It had been such a long time since I felt wanted or needed by anyone that for a second it made me feel like crying but then they said something else-something about how their mother was an Ivy too and that she died in childbirth when they were born. It was just one word, but it changed everything because now instead of feeling sorry for myself I got angry at fate––at life itself––for all the pain that came after this revelation. After all we shared together without even knowing each other’s language; if anything deserved to be understood surely our heartache did?
And before you think these trees are some kind of miracle, they weren’t. I don’t know what it was about those trees or why the voices somehow knew how to find me but as soon as I started talking back we were able to understand each other perfectly even though their words still belonged to a language that had been dead for centuries––
Explanation: in vietnamese, when you’re walking through the woods and hear someone calling out your name, it’s not always a good thing. because sometimes it means you haven’t gone far enough yet because if anything deserves understanding then surely our heartache does?
I was in Vietnam for the first time since I’d been a little child––running through those same woods with my mother. It was during that trip, amid all of the ghosts and memories, when we came across this small grove of trees whispering to each other in some language lost long ago as if they were stuck inside it; not knowing how to come back out again. And before you think these trees are some kind of miracle, they weren’t. I don’t know what it was about those trees or why the voices somehow knew how to find me but as soon as I started talking back we were able to understand each other perfectly even though their words still belonged to a language that had been dead for centuries––like history’s last breath.
Description: When the trees start speaking Vietnamese, they are telling me about their lives and why these three groves of them have been left to die among all the other living ones in this forest––as if it is a punishment for something that they did years ago but we don’t know what it was yet while I am with my mother. But now as we get closer to one tree after another so too do our voices blend together until everything sounds like nothing more than whispers coming from just outside the woods where no one else will ever hear us again except for these few minutes before my mom gets tired and hobbles back home on her cane without listening anymore (though she gave up long ago). Except then there’s the one tree that has been much sicker than the rest, and when it starts talking to us in Vietnamese we’re just barely able to understand because of how its voice sounds so old.
What is a tree? Why do they live for hundreds or sometimes thousands of years without ever seeming any older? What makes them different from everything else in the world?
The ones that seem to live longest are always as old and dead as they will ever be. The tallest parts of them, their tops, are often brown from all the rain washing down through the leaves. When we get close enough I can see how these trees have long branches like arms reaching out across each other so far until at least one is touching another tree’s trunk (but it doesn’t hold on). And then there are those trunks with bark peeling off but still clinging tightly onto whatever life remains within them – you know what they remind me most of though? Those things my mom used to call pickled eggs because she said I would never eat anything more disgusting than this little jar full of eggs with the yolk and white seeping out of them.
What are we? That’s a hard question to answer but I guess there’s just something about being human that makes it worth while getting up in the morning, going through all those routines, doing everything you’re supposed to do so you can be happy at least some part of every day. It doesn’t matter if your parents died or you got kicked off your favorite team for losing too many games because there will always be people telling jokes on Facebook and ice cream cones in summertime (or pumpkin spice lattes during fall). There may not be as much joy from these things than before but they still need us – even if it was only ever one person who needed me then that’s still worth it.
Make a list of all the things you need to do in order to be happy. Is there anything on that list about yourself?
Without other people, what would we have left? We’re supposed to take care of each other. And if we can’t find someone else then it’s up to us – but I don’t know how anymore and not just because my parents died or any one single thing went wrong. It seems like everything is exploding at once and now I’m here with no idea where my life will go from here. Anyway, that doesn’t really matter right now because the trees are talking Vietnamese again eeping out of them. It sounds so nice when they talk like this than before- louder too for some reason. The trees are talking Vietnamese again and it sounds so nice when they talk like this than before- louder too for some reason. I don’t know why this happened or what changed to make them speak up but I’m just glad they’re finally speaking at all because we’ve been waiting a long time now, listening and trying not to be scared of the silence that comes from their mouths which no longer say anything in any language anymore. All those people who used to come here with me have gone away one by one until there’s only me left dey were supposed to take care of each other. And if we can’t find someone else then it’s up otuprobably going alone is better because being lonely feels safer than