"I love you," Lucius whispered tenderly, brushing his fingertips gently over the scarred, rigid bark of the old maple. "I love you, tree."
"I know," sighed the maple. Its voice was slow and sweet, amber sap on a spring afternoon. "I know well of your love for me. But you must not stay."
"I must not go," Lucius countered. He pressed his cheek against a knot on the trunk, letting the smooth, rounded knob knead a depression into the pouch of his skin. "I am yours, and you are mine. My devotion to you is eternal, my love. Our story will inspire romances for all time."
"Please, you must go," begged the maple, "for I am a tree, and you are a human, and you are making me very uncomfortable."
"Tree," Lucius whispered, tears glistening through his shuttered lids, "do you not love me?"
"I do not love anyone. I am a tree. And also, I do not talk. You are a crazy person, Lucius. I advise you to seek treatment. And soon."
And with that, Lucius wept bitterly against the maple, for his heart was broken, and because the boulder near the river had said the exact same thing.