Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Sam. Now she was a quiet girl, not at all like her sisters and brothers, who were outgoing, and open to new experiences. Sam was friendly; it’s just that she preferred her own company to anyone else’s. She was a very bookish girl, reading everything and anything that she could get her hands on. Sam also had a favorite spot to do her reading. There was an oak tree down across the street from her home with low hanging branches, and roots spreading out over the ground. It had perfect niches for her to sit, leaning against it, and read.
Some days, she would place her book down to climb among the branches, pretending to be a pirate rescuing a princess or an adventurer finding a lost land. This tree was her best friend and confidant, Sam told it all about her life and spun tales about things that she wanted to do.
Her family always knew that Sam could be found there, actually the whole neighborhood knew where Sam could be found if she wasn’t at home. And as she grew older, it didn’t change. When her siblings moved away, she was out among the branches, creating stories on what they were going to do with their lives. When her parents passed away, she was kneeling down beside the strong trunk, praying that they were at peace.
As her family dwindled and then grew with the additions of in-laws, nieces and nephews, Sam was the one who always welcomed them into her home. She was the dependable one that was there for everyone, and as her nieces and nephews grew older, she would take them by the hand and introduce them to her tree. Soon new generations were climbing among its branches.
There came a day when Sam could no longer go visit her closest friend, so her family arranged her room so that she could look out it from her bed. She would lie there for hours, talking to her friend like she was up among its branches. She was mid-story when the light finally went out of her eyes, and her breathing stilled. Her family respected her wishes and had her buried between the roots of her truest companion so that they would always be together.