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Our Treehouse

“Aren’t you hungry, dear?” Mary asked, concern thick in her voice.

“I haven’t had much appetite for … awhile,” George said. A faint shadow fell over his face, and they both looked toward the sky.

“That one looks like a treehouse, don’t you think?” Mary pointed to the large, fluffy white cloud directly above them.

“It sort of does, yes,” George said.

“Do you remember that treehouse you built for Greg when he was nine?”

“Yes, of course.” George smiled at his wife. She was always amazed at how youthful he looked after all these years, especially when he smiled.

A car door clicked closed somewhere downhill from the open patch of grass where they sat, and George’s face dropped.

“What day is it?” he asked.

“It’s Sunday.”

“We should start packing up, then.” He folded the cloth napkin around his sandwich and placed it in the picnic basket.

“Why, George?” Mary’s voice held a touch of panic. “We’ve only just begun.”

“We can’t be seen together, Mary. Not yet. People won’t understand.”

He quickly gathered the rest of their spread and packed it in the basket.

“I don’t care!” Mary said.

George touched her on the hand and smiled.

“Soon enough, dear,” he said, and kissed her on the cheek.

She grabbed for him, but her hand was too weak to hold on.

“Mommy?” a sweet child’s voice sounded from behind her. “Why is that old lady sitting on the ground like that?”

“Shhh, honey,” a woman’s voice whispered. “She’s just visiting someone she once loved, same as us.”

The shadow of George’s headstone stretched out on the grass in front of Mary. It sort of reminded her of a treehouse.

Published inFlash Fiction

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