A Short Story by Josh S. Rose, 2023

Josh Rose
5 min readMay 9

The frequency of falling leaves had grown through winter and on into spring. Normally, Grady swept on Sundays. Sundays were slow days, with little much to do aside from chores. As a child, like all children, Grady hated chores. But as an adult, chores brought with them a certain peacefulness. It filled the time, staved off boredom and came with a small sense of accomplishment. Accomplishments, for Grady, had always been hard-fought. Sunday chores were easier, lighter, and in ways, nicer than those achieved through hard work and upwind battles.

Grady’s backyard was normal-sized, but it had one giant, imposing central figure — a landscaper he had talked to once told him it was a coral tree. A thick and gnarled fellow; the coral tree sat in the middle of the backyard, intertwined with an impressive two-story treehouse, built by a previous owner. Together, the large tree and overly-sized treehouse struck a mighty, dominating presence. Nary a guest would come that did not stand before it, lightly-shocked.

The treehouse was constructed by someone who knew home-building. Rather than have the tree support the dual-platforms of the structure, the builder of it surrounded the tree with four support poles planted into concrete. The tree started out thick and stately at the bottom, but quickly, within five feet, set off in three directions, with branches that might as well have been trees themselves cradling the structure. For years before Grady lived at this house, the tree and treehouse sat in a balanced equilibrium. It bore the names and marks of previous families’ children, as well as his own. But over the last decade, the growth of the tree had slowly, but confidently, split and pushed out the fence of the lower platform as well as brushed up and scraped various parts of the upper treehouse walls. Superficial damage, to be sure, but a slow demolition was underway.

In grade school, Grady’s first love was writing. He loved stories; reading them and writing them. He saw things, characters and interactions, in the sides of cliffs and sidewalk cracks. But he came to dislike his own writing. Later, he took up the more immediately-gratifying art of drawing. But he came to dislike his own drawings, too. All of Grady’s creative endeavors eventually bothered or embarrassed him. Not all at…

Josh Rose

Filmmaker, photographer, artist and writer. Writing about creator life and observations on culture. Tips very very much appreciated: https://ko-fi.com/joshsrose