The tree was always there. One of the furthest back memories the girl could recall was of that tree. No matter the season, it continuously stretched out its spindly branches. The girl spent all her scarce free time under the tree’s canopy of leaves and occasional flowers. It brought her a sense of security, something which the other parts of her life lacked.
The girl’s life was chaotic as she had a habit of ceaselessly shifting between hobbies and routines. Furthermore, she was bound by strict time restrictions set in place by her job and mundane daily chores and obligations. As a result, the girl frequently lost track of time and often felt hurried by a self-inflicted fear of falling behind on her half-hearted schedules.
Today was no different. The girl had spent most of her day pacing in circles and contributing small amounts of work to unfinished projects. As the evening turned to night and the sun hid from the awakening moon, the girl chewed on her lip with relentless nerves. The feeling of an unproductive day left her tense and hassled.
A brief flash of movement outside the girl’s window drew her attention away from her tarnished thoughts. Looking outside, she saw a delicate leaf caught in the windowsill. The leaf thrashed in the wind, desperate to free itself, but to no avail. Gently, the girl opened her window and picked up the fragile leaf. It reminded her of the enormous tree not far outside. At that moment, the girl realized what would help calm her; she needed to visit the tree.
The girl quickly shoved her books, a favorite candle, and a handful of matches into the satchel and messily laced her shoes with frantic fingers. Just get to the tree, get away from everything else, her thoughts urged. The girl heaved the satchel over one shoulder as she quietly shut her bedroom door and slinked into the cover of darkness that the crisp night brought about.
Once outside, the girl considered lighting a candle for the walk toward the tree, but she didn’t need it. The girl knew the path by heart. So instead, she took in a deep breath of the night’s fresh air and looked up at the crescent moon as it cast a faint glow on everything in its reach. As the magnificent tree came into view, the girl smiled, a wave of relief washing over her. She gently tossed down her satchel the moment she reached the tree’s intricate roots.
Leaning against the trunk, the girl reached for her candle and a match. The tree felt unusually warm against her back as she struck the match, a bright flame sparking to life. I must be imagining things, she thought, one palm pressed to the tree trunk while the other tightly wrapped around the candle. She picked out her favorite book from the small selection she always carried in her bag. The book’s worn cover was soft in the girl’s hand as she flipped to where the bookmark lay nestled between two pages.
“You’ve been away.” A voice called out from the darkness.
The girl dropped her book abruptly and narrowed her eyes, trying to search the endless shadows surrounding her. “Who’s there?”
“You upset the tree; it’s been waiting for you. I wasn’t sure you’d be back.” The voice grew nearer.
“What do you mean? You’ve been watching me?” The girl questioned, eyes still searching for the mysterious figure.
“I watch everyone who comes here. This tree is important.” The figure replied as he stepped into the candle’s ring of light. “My name is Symmetry. You can call me Sy.”
The girl froze in place as she surveyed the boy before her. He wore a dark coat with matching stiff pants. His hair was neatly combed back, parted perfectly down the middle.
“You’ve thrown off the balance in your life. It’s deprived of essential equilibrium and harmony. If you don’t level your situations out soon, you will risk losing every sense of order you think you have.” Sy warned, his voice calm but eyes wary.
“What if I don’t know how? Everything I try either turns my world upside down or breaks back into old habits.” The girl cried out, pain filling her voice as she watched her candle flicker back and forth. The flame was confined to the wick, endlessly trying to break away, only to burn down its home of wax in the process.
“Life has a natural balance. Rely on your roots, find what is essential and necessary to you, and build around that.” Sy answered, drawing the girl’s attention back to his warning.
“That is easier said than done.” The girl countered. “How do I know what is essential and necessary?”
“That is a decision you must come to on your own. There is a difference between things that make you happy, things you need, and things you desire. So I suggest you start by evaluating and sorting out those factors in your life.”
The girl shifted her attention to the tree. Its vast branches gracefully intertwined above her. “Okay, I think I can do that.” She said softly, but when she turned to face Sy, only the night’s darkness greeted her. Am I imagining things? The girl thought to herself, searching through shadows. Finally, her question was answered by a single pair of intricate, perfectly aligned shoe prints at the edge of the tree’s roots.