“Roots”

This is a little one-page story about the trauma of moving. I remember how difficult it was for me as a kid, and I try to tap into that.

Marshall stacked what things he was going to take with him by the door. The rest lay in a mound on the opposite side of the apartment. The move to California was long, and he couldn’t afford to rent a moving truck or try one of those Pod things, so he bought himself a gold Saturn station wagon and decided only to bring what he could fit in the back. That meant the desk he’d written so many lyrics on, the bass amp, the old navy blue nightstand he’d had since he was a kid, they’d all have to stay and either be sold or thrown out in the end.

Many of the objects he was leaving behind held no importance. The white, aluminum-framed bed was cheap. He’d buy a new one out there. The dresser, the bookshelf, the pots, the pans, all of the little things he’d leave behind, while they weren’t very meaningful, they did all add up. The forks felt like his fingers, the set of heavy orange mugs, his hands.

He was reminded of when he was kid. He and his brothers had to take out an old square shrub that had become horribly overgrown. They dug around the thick stem, and once a few feet down, they attached a heavy bend via a chain to a winch system that was, in turn, attached to a thick tree across the yard. He remembered how they cranked and cranked, and the tree barely budged. They dug further and then cranked some more, and little by little the shrub began to pull toward the tree. With each crank, there was a “POP!” sound. Little roots snapping, sending the shrub an inch more toward the tree. The longer they’d gone on, the easier it had been. Smaller roots gave way easily, until the whole thing fell to its side. When Marshall and his brothers tried to pull it away, they saw that there was still one root attached: the tap root. Marshall’s brother pulled and Marshall hacked at the tap root, and as it cracked and splintered from his chops, the whole shrub came loose.

Marshall lifted the last of his boxes, took one long look at the mound across the way, then shut the door, locking it behind him.

About Adam Nannini

The greatest writer of his generation ... which isn't saying much.
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