By Noe McCurley
He always liked the pretty trees. The ones you see in a Monet painting, with strong straight trunks and branches, with bright green leaves that glitter in the sunlight. On our Saturday hikes, when he would drive me to some random state park in our old ‘99 pickup, we would walk for miles surrounded by the Georgia pines, maples, and hickories. These trees were strong and majestic, with a plethora of sunlight in their young life to lead to deep roots and a life that would last a century. But what of the twisted, gangly tree that never seemed to grow right? The one with knots and bends to only build her abnormal gothicism? No, he never liked that tree. She, the tree that had to twist and turn to reach the sunlight, to survive. Constantly in the shadow of the big, strong trees, she would reach adulthood deformed and repulsive. He never looked at the tree with sympathy. How could he? There was something wrong with her, the ugly tree. Why couldn’t she be like all the other beautiful trees? The tree was just born like that, with all her issues and complications that made her grotesque. Nevermind if the tree was an outcome of her abusive childhood, that in her youth, her father tree right before it, blocked the sunlight. Her father, all she had without her mother, betrayed her. He hurt her and neglected her and stripped her of all of her beauty.
She strived and yearned for the light until she grew to become what she was: ugly. She stayed there, surrounded by all of the beautiful trees that had flourished in their youth, only to be viewed as ugly and bitter.
When my father would drive me out to some random state park in our old ‘99 pickup, he always liked the pretty trees. My father ignored the twisted, gangly trees with all of their deformities. He ignored the ugliness caused by the beautiful trees surrounding the one tree that could never reach the sunlight. He ignored the truth behind the tree, the trauma that had caused the tree to be remarked as ugly and deformed. And if he could never accept the truth, the ugly truth, of the tree, how could he still love me?