The trees at Norland are not very approachable.
“Shhh, shhh, still your leaves!”
“Okay, okay. What’s up?”
“She’s headed this way again.”
“Don’t look! You know, the flouncy one? One of the roaming saplings with the soft, supple trunk, and the—I said don’t look!—the long, ashen branches that hang like a willows. The quick mover with the short roots.”
“Alright, but which one is it? My bark is itching to peel for a glance.”
“I dunno, they call her Marigold or Mari-whoosit or whatever. Look, just kind of lean over subtly like you just caught a low wind. Steady now.”
Abruptly, the clamorous sound of leaves rustling was emitted from the branches of one of the two trees.
“Really? Is that you playing it cool?”
“I don’t know what else I can do; she’s almost leaning on me now!”
“Oh for the love of—is she doing it again? Is she doing the thing?”
“Passing the wind through her branches to make that horrid noise. Whispering ‘sweet nothings’ and other such rubbish I bet.”
“I’d hardly call it whispering, but yes, she’s going on about ‘leaves decaying’ and ‘unconscious pleasures’ or something.”
“What is that even supposed to mean?”
“Beats me. Sounds a bit questionable, I’d say.”
“Well, first of all, I’m a little uneasy about her attempts at dallying with both of us while the other is within hearing distance. Do you recall hearing her going on about ‘basking’ in my shade the other day? Disgraceful!”
“Hmm, yes, that was a display.”
“And once more, I’ve been hearing whispers from leaves passing in the south wind that she’s been philandering in the north garden as well. I mean hello! Could you be more desperate?”
“Oooh! You don’t say? What a coquette. And she doesn’t even know anything about us, really. She just throws herself at any vegetation that sprouts in her general vicinity. She’s as bad as moss.”
“Let’s not be unnecessarily wicked. Then again, I feel sorry for the poor shrub who becomes entangled with her.”
“Sheesh, I’m rustling just thinking about it.”
“You would think that after years of blatant indifference and forward silence she would catch on.”
“Sure! Take a hint, why don’t you! What an oblivious sod.”
The trees both scoffed. Suddenly, Marianne heaved a low, heavy sigh, laden with despair. Then, with a quick hug and kiss to each, Marianne walked away from her well-known trees for what she believed to be the last time—mostly because she was a melodramatic, hyperbolic teenager with no sensible concept of what the future might bring. And as she disappeared into the distance, the trees swayed their trunks in an effort to shake off the feeling of violation which they shared, leaning against each other to brush away any remaining essence of the unwanted affection they had been given, and then they sat in general dissatisfaction for the rest of the day.