Wanting Rita

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Book: Wanting Rita Read Online Free PDF
Author: Elyse Douglas
mine, preoccupied. She was silent, needing time to adjust to the change of reality, as she pondered my story. “Aren’t you going to read mine?” she asked, pointedly.
    I stiffened and sat forward. “Yeah, sure…”
    My eyes snapped to the pages before me and I began reading her story. By the second paragraph, I realized that it was not only good, it was remarkable. It flowed effortlessly, like the quiet meandering of a river, unraveling the plot and ideas in a natural, sensitive style. It was quality, mature writing.
    It was about a woman who fell in love with a large oak tree that had spread itself generously over a little dirt road, at the foot of a sloping hill.
    The tree told the stories of the people who had passed and paused, using its trunk and shade for rest; it told of the families and the events it had witnessed, of conversations it had heard, and of advice it had given during its long good life.
    The idea seemed a little odd to me at first, but the writing was compelling.
    When the tree saw the girl come into view, it instantly fell in love with her, and vowed that it would always love and protect the girl from any harm for as long as it lived. The girl said that she loved the tree more than anything else because she thought it the most beautiful and magnificent thing she’d ever seen. She lived and slept in its broad, sturdy branches and learned many practical and inspiring lessons from the tree.
    By the sixth page of the story, I was impressed and humbled. I paused long enough to pass Rita an admiring glance. She sensed my gaze and looked at me over the pages of my story.
    “What do you think? she asked, uneasily.
    “I’m almost finished,” I said.
    Meanwhile, a crowd of the curious was collecting in booths and at the counter; they whispered and passed us sideways glances. Rita didn’t seem to care or notice. I swelled with happy conceit, adjusting my proud shoulders. I wanted to shout, “Hey, losers, I’m with Rita Fitzgerald. You’re all just pathetic jerk-offs.”
    I finished Rita’s story about the same time she finished mine, because she’d re-read particular paragraphs. She was silent and contemplative, so I spoke up.
    “Why does the tree die at the end?” I said.
    Rita quickly scratched some notes in her spiral notebook, laid her pen aside and folded her hands, twisting them gently. “Because the girl had to leave.”
    “A little pun?” I asked, trying for a bad joke.
    Her forehead wrinkled, not getting it.
    “You know, leave… Tree. Leaves.”
    The forehead smoothed in recognition. She chuckled, a low throaty sound that struck me someplace deep in the chest.
    “No pun, intended, Alan,” she said, smiling. “No, it’s just that it was a road. The tree lived on a road…”
    “Okay…” I said, still not getting it, but nodding my head.
    “You know, roads and movement.”
    A vague idea struck. “You mean like the road of life or something.”
    Rita lit up. “Yes! Yes, Alan. You got it! I didn’t know if anyone would get that!”
    I didn’t really, but I didn’t want her to know that. Her perfume entranced me. I grabbed a french fry and chewed vigorously.
    “You see,” she continued, “life is always moving. Things are always passing, people coming and going, like on a road.”
    It was almost too poetic for me. “What’s the tree stand for then?”
    “Protection. Safety, I think.”
    I nodded. “Yeah, but you were in love. I mean, the girl in the story was in love with the tree. Why didn’t you stay with the tree? Stay and be protected?”
    “Because the tree also means life—you know, the tree of life. But it has to die, too. I mean, everything dies. Just look outside at the trees. All the leaves are falling. Some of the trees have died since last fall. Birth and death right outside Jack’s Diner. So, the girl realized, I think, I mean, I’m still working on it with Ms. Lyendecker but…the girl realized, at some point, she’d have to go off down the road
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