My wife turned me into a tree.
She hasnâ€™t told the kids. Said Daddy is on a business trip.
There is something to be said for being fixed in one place.
My wife comes out at night, usually after dinner, an enormous glass of red wine in hand, and talks to me. All movement, the wine sloshing as she sways, words slurred. Explains how she thought this was best, that things were kind of falling apart between us. How I seemed so distracted and this was a way to slow things down. To anchor me.Â Other times, she tells me about the kids or local gossip or things in the house that she wants to change.
One night she tells me she loves me but had forgotten until now. She then sits down on the ground, her back against my trunk, folded arms on folded knees, her glass drained, and takes the longest time to speak, a pause as long as life. Finally telling me she doesnâ€™t know how to turn me back into what I was. That it would have to be different.
She hires the best tree surgeon in town, who takes pains to cut me limb from limb without damaging the house. Ropes and cranes and sun-burnished men straddling me with spiked boots until all that escapes the shredder is a six-foot segment cut from the base of the trunk that is rolled into the garage before they drive off.
After an adult education class and a YouTube video or two, my wife labors every night after work for a month, carving me into a chair.
Itâ€™s not the best chair, an uneven rickety thing.
But I creak when sat on, a sound that says: Iâ€™m still here.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in New Jersey, David L. Hudacek is a writer in the Boston area. His novel-in-progress Small Town Echoes of Metallic Minds was shortlisted for the 2022 Masters Review Novel Excerpt Prize. Much of his previous work has been in playwriting and screenwriting. His plays include I Woke Up in a Sam Shepard Play, staged at the Boston Theater Marathon, and The Presentation, performed at the United Solo Festival in New York on Theatre Row. Screenplays include Anna Blue (optioned by Cannes award-winning director Jerzy Skolimowski) and The Scouts, a top 50 screenplay at the Academy of Motion Pictureâ€™s Nicholl award.