Tadashi sat under his tree, careless of the ice on the ground.  He thought about the many services he had performed for his Shogun for so many years, the battles he had fought beside him since he was only a youth.  He had carried on fighting for the next Shogun and the one after that too.  Tadashi was as irreproachable in his fealty and honour, as he was fierce in battle.

He had loved his Yuki since they were children.  One fine spring day, they had married under the blossoming cherry tree in his garden.  Their love had endured through distance and time, while he was away fighting battles that didn’t always belong to him, travelling on dangerous missions and supporting his master and his friends.  Tadashi thought about his and Yuki’s children and their children’s children too, more and more these days.  He could almost see them all, playing in the garden, singing and running around the cherry tree.

Then, the earthquake came and nobody was left of those he had loved.  Everything and everybody that counted had gone.  The disaster had taken away his certainties and faith as well.  Loneliness had wrapped itself around his heart like stubborn ivy.  One day, even Kitano, his old stripy cat, went to sleep forever under the cherry tree.

Tadashi endured his solitude for a while longer, until a day came when his tree stopped giving fruit.  He waited until the following spring but the feathery, candid cherry blossoms didn’t appear.  The tree branches remained bare.

That January day was cold and a freezing mist had enveloped Mount Fuji.  Tadashi rested against the tree-trunk.  Suddenly, Yuki’s voice sounded very near.  The hand that took his felt real, the soft fingers closing around his.  Tadashi smiled, as he closed his eyes for one last time and followed Yuki.

Tadashi’s neighbour found him the day after.  He was still carrying a smile on his weathered face, while sitting under his tree, its branches now covered in a cloud of glorious cherry blossoms.

A single nightingale was singing melodiously on the treetop.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Greene, pass me the tissues, no the box! The poor man even lost his beloved cat, and loneliness wrapped itself around his heart like stubborn ivy. This story pulls on the heart strings. Well written Greene, a real weepy.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago
Reply to  Greene M Wills

Please don’t misunderstand my comment. I did see the joy in the story as he was united with his Yuki. I just felt sorry for him.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
1 year ago

Love and death under the cherry tree, but life prevails making the tree blossom again. Bravissima Greene.

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Susan Giles
Susan Giles (@susan-giles)
1 year ago

Beautiful descriptions, such as loneliness wrapping itself around his heart like stubborn ivy. That phrase will stay with me a long while. Thank you for sharing your story.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 year ago

What battles Tadashi faced, professionally and personally. You describe him so well Greene that I can picture him now, weary from battle, a smile on his weathered face and finally at peace under the cherry tree. To know he is reunited with Yuki is a very satisfying ending.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

A great description of an old warrior, having lived, fought and lost everything, and finally only waiting to be reunited with his close ones. You did a great job, Greene, describing his life and his welcoming of death and reuniting with his loved ones.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

In your story love and hope are tightly woven to charm and to mesmerize. Nice job, Greene.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago
Reply to  Greene M Wills

You’re welcome.

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Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

We comfort ourselves from a young age with the thought that one day we will be reunited with loved ones. Tadashi endured so much, but yes, a happy ending and I rejoice with the nightingale 🙂 I think the cat really added to the effect of the story, too. Well done!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

Ah, Greene, a beautiful story, and so moving. I wish I’d had time to read it before the competition voting closed. Very well written and quite captivating.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

I agree with Christer. So touching and moving. Good job, Greene.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago
Reply to  Greene M Wills

You’re welcome, Greene.

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
10 months ago

Hello Greene – this is a memorable story intertwining love, loss, reunion and rebirth. I love that the tree blossomed at the end.

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