Why had he never told Freeda that when the moon shone through her branches it made him glad to be alive? Why had he never told her how beautiful she looked, back when Gertrude was a toddler and Freeda would bring Gertrude into work, held high in her branches? Why had he never told her how much he loved the way her foliage turned orange in autumn and fell off in winter and burst into brilliant red blooms in the spring? What had he done? He had held the tools for those who had disassembled the great love of his life. And why? Because some dark thing in himself had risen to meet some dark thing in Phil.
What was that dark thing, where had it come from, and how could he rid himself of it forever?
He sat and sat, and thought and thought, and was never seen in Outer Horner again.