Saturday 24 June 2023

'Long Exposure' by Catherine Buck

Chelsea’s lifelong ambition was to see a rainbow eucalyptus tree up close. When she was in 5th grade, she’d read a science book about them in her pull out special literacy instruction group, and the image of the bright streaked bark had never left her mind.

Was it real? She’d asked her teacher, the impossibly sophisticated and kind Miss Rivera.

Incredibly so, said Miss Rivera with a gleam in her eye. I’ve seen it.

No. Chelsea’s jaw dropped. In a hush: maybe I could too.

I believe it, said Miss Rivera, resting her hand on Chelsea’s shoulder. It was kindness and encouragement, nothing more, but the electricity of it fused with the photo of the Technicolor tree in Chelsea’s memory to the point that now, a decade later, they were one and the same.

The message was clear: find the tree to feel the lightning. Find the tree and fall in love.

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