When I was growing up, one of the grandest features of the house was a fir tree with more tops than trunks.
Our garden was next to the train line and when we went to take the tube, we could see the tops of the trees as the train went by, like a friendly wave sending us out on journeys to go shopping and meet friends.
That’s our house, we’d smile at each other.
Then, as the train rolled us back home, the treetops welcomed us home.
Occasionally, a black and white stream of fur would rocket into the garden and up into the tree after a squirrel. She never managed to catch one – although other “presents” appeared from time to time.
As the years went by, one of the trees went brown. Yes, it’s better for it to go, nodded the tree surgeon. The other might live. And the other trees around it.
The cat slept on my bed the whole time the tree surgeons were at work.
Not long after, the trees around disappeared. Sad trunks stood in their place, the bracken persisted.
Then the remaining tree started to go brown too.
Rage paced snarling within the walls of the house. It was a giant’s house. But no space for anything.
One afternoon we received an email from the tree. It just said, I miss the other one. It’s just not the same.
Time ago, a red-bellied woodpecker started dining on the inhabitants of the tree, and yesterday it was there. Cloaked in an enchantment of snow and a whirring wind blows ice flakes across the garden and the local streets. A fleeting aroma of a past grandeur as the hours slip by.
Perhaps we’ll plant a new tree, says the cat, over breakfast, pouring me a quiet pint of tea, before the day’s opportunities began to whir.
An idea grows in my mind. A beautiful tree with fruits and singing birds.
No need for fruits, purrs the cat, sweetly.