Lilly knew that the trees never moved other than swaying in the wind, so the day the trees moved, she knew it was special. She just wasn’t sure if special was good or not. Lilly wasn’t skilled in the art of divining good from evil. She wasn’t even sure if they were actually opposites, good and evil, good and bad. Did that mean that evil was bad?
The day the trees in the park across the street from the family’s brownstone apartment moved, it started when there was no wind and no swaying. Instead, the trees reached, bent, straightened, turned, and uprooted themselves. “Trees don’t walk,” said some. “You must be mistaken,” said others. But the trees didn’t care what anyone said. They clearly had something in mind, and to Lilly, they seemed angry, intent on punishing someone. Lilly understood anger and punishment. Those were easy for her.
The trees, however, seemed to want to punish Lilly. The trees started by throwing stones at her window, but trees were not designed for throwing and they were not very accurate. The trees soon gave up throwing stones and Lilly climbed out from under her bed where she was hiding from the angry trees and the stones they threw to look out the window to see what they were up to. The trees were striding across the street, planting themselves close to the front of her apartment, and they were swaying.
Again, there was no wind, or nothing but the trees that the wind saw fit to move, and yet, the trees, relocated as they were, swayed and struck at her apartment. The brick walls were stronger than the trees, but the windows were too brittle, like Lilly. The trees crashed against the windows and glass shattered everywhere, even under the bed where Lilly had hidden herself again. She covered her ears and shut her eyes to the trees, but she knew they were still there, angry and smashing at her, punishing her. Had she been bad? What had she done? Lilly didn’t know, but sometimes punishment came without knowing. Someone knew. The trees knew and that was enough.
The pounding stopped, Lilly could tell because she lay on the dusty hardwood floor and could feel when the trees stopped. She felt the thudding change to grating and creaking as the trees uprooted themselves and walked back to the park. Lilly was afraid to look, but also curious about what she might see. Curious was another thing Lilly understood. She slid out from under her bed, brushed the dust and glass from her smock, and peered out the window.
The trees stood tall and unmoving in the park across the street where they belonged. Lilly wondered again what she had done to provoke them. She’d loved the trees before today, as much as she understood of love, and wanted to hold onto that feeling, but now there was another feeling along side of it: fear. What had brought the trees? Why had they planted fear? Had she done something bad? Was bad the same as evil?