The Tree

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

December calendars are filling up, notes about what to cook and who to see; some of the obligations traced lovingly with a smile and some met with a frown.

This week we asked you to use the holiday season to inspire you to write a piece beginning with “The doorbell rang” and ending with “snow began to fall.”

We can’t wait to see where you took this prompt. Link up, but only if you’ve done the prompt, and let us see who was on the other side of the door.


The doorbell rang with its quirky two off-key notes through the empty house. It always rang at inopportune times when it got cold outside. Something about the wiring. It took slapping the wood encasing the button to get it to stop.

She had closed herself up inside the house for months. Her morose soul matched the drawn shades and shadows that took up residence where sunshine had once danced across the gleaming wood floors.

The unconventional tone signaled again and she shuffled to the door to end it.

Opening the door she flipped her palm at the door jam as her eyes routinely scanned the front yard. The porch swing built for two gently swung in the biting wind. A memory she quickly turned from. Nobody was strolling up the sidewalk with news of how the work day was and questions of what was for dinner. A recollection she thrust aside.

A glimmer caught her eye.

Twinkling lights, loosely strung glittering tinsel and reflective ornaments lightly fluttered in the frigid breeze. Her eyes widened in wonderment as her hand flew to her mouth.

Someone had decorated the tree that she had planted in the front yard. The tree bearing the memory of the love she lost. The reason she had allowed the shadows to encase her home and heart.

She shuffled to the tree and gathered one of the ornaments in her withered hand. A silver heart tied with a yellow ribbon. Sweeping the tree with a glance she noted all the ornaments were the same.

Someone remembered. Someone cared enough.

She pulled her sweater tighter as she went back indoors. She pulled the heavy curtains back for the first time in months and gazed at the tree as the snow began to fall.

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14 replies

  1. Sad, happy, and mysterious – all at once.

  2. This was so sweet, I absolutely loved it. My favorite line was this: “The porch swing built for two gently swung in the biting wind. A memory she quickly turned from.” It was so descriptive and gave me a great sense of this woman’s pain and longing.

  3. Beautiful, Alycia! You have true talent, my friend!

  4. I really enjoyed the foreshadowing of the faulty doorbell in the opening. It deepens the sadness of the speaker because she knows there is no one actually there, which develops this sense of loneliness she can’t seem to shake and she recognizes it in her surroundings through things like the porch swing and the absence on the sidewalk. It makes the ending all the more satisfying and believable. Good job!

  5. Your writing has always been such a gift to me. This was no exception..the descriptions and powerful words made me feel the wind, hear the doorbell, peek at that tree. I really liked this.

  6. I loved this – particularly the imagery. Everything felt frozen, not just outside but inside the house as well. Very nicely done!

  7. This is gorgeous! The faulty doorbell is a wonderful touch, as is the yellow ribbons on the tree.

  8. I love the small details you use: the yellow ribbons, the description of her hand, talking about the swing. It truly felt like a snapshot of a life that just didn’t move forward any longer, and then the glimmer of hope in the yellow ribbons, the hint of kindness.

  9. I really loved the magic. Obviously someone who is watching over her cares for her very much.

  10. This was just wonderful. All that sadness, but then a glimmer of hope.

  11. Oh, simply wonderful. I could hear the off-chime of the doorbell…and to have the tree with all the same ornaments….the empty swing….lovely. Gosh, you are so good at painting a picture.

  12. The yellow ribbon really spoke to me. It’s so subtly powerful.

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