Posted by: jolantru | January 14, 2010

First Branch: The She-Oak

I woke up to dappled shadows, waving gently, as if I was underwater. The spots of shadow and light shimmered, stirred into motion by the cool breeze. With a soft sigh, I sat up, stretching my body.

It was a new day.

The bed was still warm with two distinct hollows, one with hints of sea salt and another of masculine musk. I was sandwiched in-between, cupped and spooned. I smiled. They protected me far too much.

Children’s laughter drifted from the open window. Morning classes had begun. I was due to give a lesson in about two hours’ time. The tree branches rustled softly, whispering their songs. Their green reminded me of the seaweed fronds. I was far away from home for a long time. At times, I felt like the lone sea-oak in the courtyard.

Josh had the she-oak planted when she was just a sapling. She took to the soil well, growing rapidly and enjoying the sea breeze. He told me that her genus was once used as wind break, growing along coastal areas. They coped well with sea salt and relentless winds. It shed its evergreen needles and spindly brown seedpods (“Not pine cones,” Josh had said with a twinkle in his eyes) all over the courtyard floor and into our bedroom. I loved collecting the seedpods and often used them for craftwork. She-oaks were rare when I came from. It was uncommon where Josh came from as well. He bought it from a nursery specializing in Innerlander and unusual evergreen flora. Within a span of three sun circles, the she-oak had grown with her pointed crown reaching the second level of the School House.

I caught sight of myself in the bronzed mirror. Rounder, I thought with surprise, as if seeing myself for the first time. I had gained some weight. Was I that thin seven sun-circles ago?

The bedroom was an eclectic blend of three personalities: mine, Josh’s and Auri’s. Oyster shells decorated the mantel. A beautiful porcelain tea set rested on the main dining table. Josh cleaned them daily, lovingly. They were a gift from his grandmother. Auri’s glass mobiles tinkled and sparkled next to the window, catching the morning and evening sunlight. Their golden and azure tones were beautiful additions to the dappled ceiling, brilliant when they reflected the light.

The resonant School bell rang once, twice.

I quickly washed up, donning the light green robes I used for teaching. The fabric was soft, reassuring. Auri had left ayam stew for me and I ate gratefully, savoring the rich taste.

With a soft prayer to Ma-Tzu and to my family, I started my day.



  1. Evocative images.

    I did notice a couple of very minor spelling/grammar errors. Would you like the ‘corrections’ in a private message or as a comment? As I pointed out on AT – TRM, it is sometimes difficult to be your own editor.

    • You can send the ‘corrections’ in a private message, thanks. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on A Wolf's Tale and commented:

    Oysters, Pearls and Magic, a YA story that started as a web serial.

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