By Ivan Aidun
I walk into the concrete courtyard. At one time friends, colleagues, acquaintances, enemies, and persons of yet more disparate connection alike would flow through, consumed in their thoughts and their conversations, completely irreverent of the stone walls around and cement walkway underfoot, not suspecting how significant those would one day be. There were trees then. A few of them would grow leaves in the spring, but most of them were dead even then. But they were beautifully dead. It seemed that from day to day nothing about them was different: they never grew branches, never lost them; they never blossomed or waxed verdant; no dramatic transformation of any sort ever befell them; and yet, as year after year passed, I couldn’t help but notice that they weren’t the same dead trees we first had met. I could look at the trunks and identify the scar that was left there when those kids were running around scratching their keys on everything in sight, or the “x” that the two idiots who thought they were in love had left. I could see the branch I had broken when Her … or, perhaps not Her, but She had labored over the moth which had fallen from his flight when attacked by our less savory comrades. And I could distinguish marks yet older, from two or three or ten years before we could even conceive of this place, and often would I wonder about the stories they had.