Willow the tree has been watching her family for the past eight years. During that time, they have endured a terrible trauma, but there is nothing Willow can do. She is merely a tree. All of that changes when Malan, the eldest brother of the family, returns home from college and Willow realizes that she would do anything to speak with him, and the feelings she has for him she cannot explain. She believes there is no hope. There is no way to change from one life form to another. When a white dove tells Willow that she can trade her thirty remaining years of life as a tree for one year as a human, she quickly agrees. But in making that choice, she realizes that she may have signed on for more than she bargained for. After all, a year is hardly enough time to heal a human heart.
“How are you doing, beautiful?” asked Malan, leaning out of his bedroom window. “You waiting there for me, like usual?” Malan climbed out of his window on the second story of the house. Tonight he wore plain pajamas and no top, and his hair was in disarray. As he climbed down the decorative ladder with wild vines on it, love pounded through Willow’s body. Malan made his way over to her and smiled so broadly that she knew he was happy to see her—maybe even as happy as she was to see him.
“I want to become a human no matter what it costs me.”
“And it will cost you a lot.” The dove examined her with large, bright eyes. “Once this has been done, it cannot be undone. There are terms and conditions before you turn human.”
“What are they?”
“As a tree, you will have forty long years of life,” the dove said. “As a human, you will get one year until you die. That year is yours to be with whom you wish, but the moment your time is up, you will perish and die regardless. Are you willing to give up thirty more years as a tree to be a human for only one? Think carefully.”
The quality of life as a tree wasn’t bad, but humans had something more. They could laugh, dance, and play. As a tree, she could echo her thoughts to the birds and send messages to her friends, but it wasn’t really the same thing. Now, as she stared at the house, she realized what she truly wanted¯to be a human so she could be a part of that world. Especially Malan's.
“I want to be a human.”
Suddenly, Malan began to remove his clothes. Willow jumped backward, frazzled. She had seen his body when he was younger, but now things were different¯now she was human. Her face became hot due to feelings she could not explain, and she jerked around, pretending to examine a woman with an endangered species of bird upon her underwear.
“You know,” Malan said with a joking tone, “if you want to hang around with me, you’re going to have to look at me in a swimsuit. I brought you one, too.”
A red bikini hit her square in the head, knocking all embarrassing thoughts from her mind.