Laughter spews into the streets; families gather in the warmth of there homes, hidden from the brisk winter night. Juan drops his head and quickens his pace, He listens to the clatter of cutlery on a wooden table, a dance of fingers across piano keys; the village mocks him. Why does it mock him? Juan erupts into a sprint, tears streaming down his face. He needs to escape. A rogue wind howls, blasts against him, it does not want him to leave. But, Juan must. He bends and drives his feet into the rubble, step by step; he inches closer to the edge of town. The town shrinks behind, and the hill rises before him. There is nowhere else to go, nowhere else to remember. The wind cannot reach him here; the hill is his protection, a wall. As Juan stamps into the ground, dew springs off the grass and onto his bare legs; water dribbles down into his socks and shoes. Each step is a cold, mushy inconvenience. On top of the hill stands a lone tree, abandoned, forgotten, and grown with freedom. The branches twist in wicked ways, shaped by wind and loneliness. It’s where Juan’s father used to take him, where they would sit a watch as the world passed by. Juan reaches the tree and drops to his knees, he fights to regain each breath, each inhale an icy sting. In shame, he gazes back to the village he escaped. The starred sky above shines like its perfect mirror. Dad would have loved it, he thought, a perfect night in another’s eyes. Juan cuddles closer to the tree, the earthy scent of bark and dirt, his only comfort. He shuts his eyes and listens to the wind, as it soars through the darkness. “I’m sorry,” Juan whispers. “I’m sorry I wasn’t a better son.” He drops his head against the tree, picturing it as his father’s shoulders, and sobs into the wild winters night.