There was nothing but weeds and rubbish at the end of the alley before the sapling appeared. The locals dumped bin bags there, and foxes looking for food tore them apart. A woman, taking her usual short cut home wondered who would bother planting a tree here?
Days later, she noticed that someone had shoved an umbrella into the sapling’s branches. Its spokes were broken, its limp canopy folded like crow’s wings. Eventually bin men cleared the rubbish but the umbrella was left behind. The woman could see the sapling and umbrella were growing closer, nestling together. The streetlights illuminated them at night. It was an unlikely romance.
One night the woman was caught in icy rain. She stood for a moment and thought of pulling the umbrella from the clutches of the sapling – maybe she could use it, prop it open with her fingers until she got home. But the umbrella’s handle was hooked protectively around the sapling’s trunk. And she knew the sapling would tug back, cling to the umbrella. So she left them alone and made her way home.