The Miserable Tree

The bitter comment at the tip of Calvin’s tongue was so distasteful Calvin couldn’t resist spitting it out in Ben’s face.

Alone, they were nothing more than a few simple words. But, combined with a heated basketball game, they managed to become a well-watered seed of resentment in the soil of their friendship.

Calvin crossed over, Ben’s feet tangled up, and Calvin rose for a three point shot. Ben regained balance and exploded off the court. He elongated his arm at the peak of his jump, struggling to save face. The ball arched high and rattled in through the rim.

“Where’d you go?â€? Calvin spat. A teasing smirk expanded on his face. “Ha ha,â€? Calvin dug into the ill pleasure of victory, shoveling foul laughter onto Ben—burying him to his neck in defeat.

“Just play the game.â€? Ben spoke with class, but he never did squash that seedling. Soon his friend, Calvin, was unseeable behind a miserable tree. Branches strewn about to rot at the roots of a termite-infested trunk is all Ben can see of him now.

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