TREENEMIES • by Jane Brown

Neighbour,

Your tree grew too much. Blocks my view of the ocean. I will come tomorrow to cut the top off.

Neighbour from Number 32

***

Hello Neighbour,

Thank-you kindly for your note. How lovely to hear from you for the first time, two years after we moved into our house next to yours. May I suggest in the future perhaps not sliding an envelope under our door at 2am — I confess it gave me a little scare!

Regarding the eucalyptus in our front yard, I’m afraid we would prefer to keep it tall. My 3-year-old daughter loves watching the rainbow lorikeets who frequent it.

Sincerely,
Jasmine Green

***

Mrs. Green,

I have rung the council. They say you must cut tree.

A.Trczinski

***

Dear Mr. Trczinski,

But the tree is on our property?

Jasmine

***

Mrs Green,

You must keep trees to the same height as when you moved into your house. It is the law.

***

Mr. Trczinski,

I searched the council bylaws and it appears you are correct. How sad. My daughter and I love that tree. I have arranged someone to come and trim it next weekend.

Meanwhile, are you free tomorrow afternoon? We are having a little party with our other neighbours. It would be lovely if you could come too?

Jasmine

***

Yes. I will come. I will bring vodka.

Antoni Trczinski

***

Jasmine,

Thank-you for the party. I had fun. Your daughter Ruby is the same age as my granddaughter in Poland. She loves birds too. I noticed lorikeets nesting in the Eucalyptus. We wait till after springtime to cut the tree.

Antoni

***

Dear Antoni,

So glad you enjoyed our party. It was great to meet you in person. How heartbreaking you haven’t seen your family for so long because of the pandemic. My Ruby adored you especially when you broke out the dance moves. I hope I can still shake it like that when I’m 82! Yes, the lorikeets are nesting in the hollow. It’s very exciting. Thank-you for letting us postpone the tree trimming. Ruby will be so happy. Especially after the news today that her dad won’t be returning home from overseas for another three months.

Jasmine

***

Dear Antoni,

Gosh you gave us a scare, finding you collapsed like that! We’re so glad your hospital stay went well and you will be home soon. Ruby has missed you. Yes, Mister Whiskers is being well looked after. Please do not even think about finishing that treehouse for Ruby when you return! Just rest.

Jasmine

***

Dear Jasmine,

Thank-you for keeping an eye on Papa these last few months. It’s difficult to be so far from him, especially as he keeps to himself. But we are reassured to know he has such good neighbours. The doctor told us how lucky you called the ambulance when you did. Papa is blessed to have you in his life. He talks about you and Ruby constantly.

Sincerely,
Halina Trczinski

***

Dear Jasmine and Ruby,

I changed my mind. Tree is beautiful. We let it grow.

Antoni


Jane Brown is a programmer and short fiction writer from Australia. Her stories have been published in MetaStellar, The Centropic Oracle, Etherea, and elsewhere.


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