Isobel couldn’t start the morning without having a cigarette and cup of coffee. Before she got herself ready for work she would sit at the kitchen table, a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Her husband, Barry, didn’t like her smoking but he knew better than trying to tell her to give them up. Isobel had a temper that you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of.
Mason, the next door neighbour had gotten on the wrong side of it. There was a falling out over Barry cutting down the tree in the back garden. Mason had wanted it to stay where it was, it provided him with privacy but Isobel demanded that it be cut down. She was tired of it blocking the sun from coming into the garden. Every summer she would lie in the shade looking at the tree annoyed that it was blocking the sun.
She didn’t listen to Mason’s pleas when he called to the house. He tried to explain that the tree was there longer than both of them but Isobel wouldn’t listen, she was determined that it should come down. The following weekend she got Barry to hire a chain saw and what took seventy years to grow was cut down in two hours. In an act of sarcasm Isobel had asked Mason if he wanted the wood from the tree for his fire. He didn’t answer her.
Isobel spent the summer lying out in the garden, feeling the sun shine on her body for the first time in years. She didn’t give much thought to the fact that Mason wasn’t speaking to her, it really didn’t bother her. He was twice her age, they had nothing in common and she didn’t see any reason to be nice to him. He couldn’t do anything for her. It was Barry who tried to heal the rift.
He had called into Mason to apologise to him for cutting the tree down. He explained to Mason that he had no choice, that Isobel wasn’t the type of person you got on the wrong side of. When she got an idea into her head, she wouldn’t let go of it. As a peace offering he had bought Mason a small fledgling tree. It was only three feet tall but Barry hoped that Mason would understand that there was nothing else he could have done. He had to cut the tree down.
Mason thanked Barry and immediately went into his garden to plant the tree. Isobel thought it was hilarious, every weekend while she was in the garden sunning herself she would see Mason coming out and watering the little tree. She really didn’t care. All that mattered to her was that the sun was still coming into her garden. It would continue to shine in the garden, long after Mason was gone, his little tree didn’t mean anything. However Barry saw things differently, even though Mason mightn’t see the tree grow, he knew that he would. In time it would grow as tall as the old tree, a point that was lost on Isobel.