I do not know when or where it originated, just that it seems to stretch back as far as I can recall. The secret wish for a willow tree. Under the yellow-green waving canopy, spread out on a blanket. Each time I look at her my heart wells up so much, giddy and faint. A summer breeze wakes the dangling branches and they rustle gently before falling still again. There is no depth or time to it. It is only a dream, yet it plays before me each time I pass a willow.

I remember watching the willow trees bend from my window as a child. I was young, I was small, I was scared. The wind shook their feeble branches like I knew it would shake me if I left my warm bed. I watched these trees move and felt more like the shadows of their branches that fell on the pavement below than the living, breathing thing above.

I would hide under the piano whenever the wind picked up. Thunderstorms were the worst. The piano seemed so much heavier when the lightning was flickering. I could almost feel it move above me, like the wind, like the willows in the breeze.

Now I am different. I revel in the chaos of storms and pianos are my enemies. I am the branch, not the shadow. Sometimes, though, as I lie in my warm bed and think of my childhood, I become that small, scared girl. Sometimes, I even miss her.

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