Tree of Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Stuck in a desert , he wandered on. No one in sight, no one to call out for. That is when he saw a tree that had waited all these years, just for him.

Submitted: June 06, 2011

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Submitted: June 06, 2011

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Tree of Love
 
I had a dream yesterday. I was in a desert. A vast desert whose ends my eyes could not meet. I did not know what time it was, but by the fury which the sun shone down on me, it must have been sometime close to noon. The only thing that I could see around me was an endless stretch of golden yellow sand. There was no one in sight. I was trapped all alone in a desert with the sun beating down ferociously over my head and not knowing where to go. I walked indefinitely, my legs scooping away large masses of sand with its every step. I kept walking and suddenly I saw a distant image of something that looked like a small tree. I decided to walk towards it. I walked, walked and walked and finally reached my destination. It was a pine tree. It looked quite old, worn out by the sand storms and the heat of the sun. Anyways, I decided to take shelter under the small umbrella of shade that it offered. After my long walk, I was feeling very thirsty and there was not a drop of water in sight. I sat there leaning on the pine tree’s stem, trying to quench my thirst with the shade that it offered. “Are you feeling thirsty my boy”, I heard a voice echoing out of nowhere. I was startled and looked all around me. “Are you feeling thirsty my boy”, I heard it again. Now I knew where the voice had come from. It was from the pine tree. It was a talking tree. I examined it with utter amusement as it repeated that caring phrase again and again. “Yes, I am very thirsty, I need some water to drink”, I replied. “Alright, dig down beneath me near my roots and I’ll give you some water that I have extracted from the earth deep down”, the tree said. “Won’t it disturb your stability”, I asked the tree with concern. At this the tree laughed and told me not to bother about it and just go on and quench my thirst. I obliged and started digging under the tree until I found its roots. Now, the tree told me to bite its roots and suck out the water from it. “Wont it hurt you if I bite your roots”, I asked. The tree again laughed and told me to just go on. As I bit the roots water oozed from it into my throat, down to my stomach cleansing every part of my body on its path. I felt rejuvenated with just a gulp of the root water. But I felt the tree squirming every time I bit on its roots and knew that I was hurting it. So I decided to stop though I urged for more of the magic potion of water. I covered the tree’s roots with sand and again sat down to rest under its shade. I was just about to doss off when a swooshing sound awoke me. I opened my eyes and looked towards the direction from where the sound was emanating. I saw a small cloud of sand move towards me, getting bigger and bigger as it neared closer. “What the hell is that”, I asked the tree. “That’s a sand storm my boy. Now get up and hold onto me tightly until it subsides. Otherwise it will take you along with it”, the tree replied nonchalantly. I got up hurriedly and hugged the tree tightly. Now the cloud of sand had transformed into such a huge mass that it blocked my vision of the desert. And then it hit me with great force trying to take me along with it. I held on to the tree with all the strength I had and I also felt as if the trees’ branches had stooped down in an effort to hold me in its embrace. After a while, the storm subsided completely and I thanked the tree for helping me. The tree again burst out into a laughter which annoyed me. I again sat down beneath the tree and tried to resume my sleep. But now I felt some uneasiness in my stomach. I was feeling hungry and I addressed this to the tree shamelessly. “They say my inner barks are edible, and the nuts hanging on my branches are eaten by birds. So you can have them for your food”, the tree replied. I was just about to address my concern when the tree said, “now, please don’t ask me whether this would hurt me. Just go on and have your food my boy.” This time both the tree and I burst out into laughter. I tore a part of the bark and ate it. I then climbed on the tree and had some of the nuts too. It tasted fine and most importantly it quelled my hunger. Time passed and it was soon dark. The simmering heat gave away to a chilling cold. I did not have any provision to protect me from the cold. I hugged the tree tightly to escape the cold. But it did not help. I climbed onto a branch and sat there among the leaves. That too did not help much. Seeing my helplessness the tree asked, “Do you know to make a fire my boy, the way the cave men did by rubbing stones or dry wood”? ” I have seen it on TV but never tried it”, I replied. “Alright then try it now. Break one of my branches and try it”, the tree said. “Oh! No way, I am not going to do that, it is just a matter of time, I can sustain this cold till morning”, I replied. “The cold has just begun my boy, it will get severer into the night and by morning you will be dead if you stay like this”, the tree said. After some time of persuasion I decided to do what the tree asked me to. I broke one of its branches and started out on my mission to discover fire all over again. After a lot of trials and ceaseless motivation from the tree, I succeeded. I hugged the tree and we laughed out loud like a pair of madmen, rather a madman and a mad tree. But soon the branch was burning out and it was getting colder by the minute. The tree understood this and told me to break another of its branches. Though I felt bad for the tree, I also wanted to survive and so I continued breaking its branches throughout the night until only its stem and roots were left. Eventually all the branches were broken, burned, and had turned into ash. Now I decided that even if I am to die of cold I will not hurt the tree anymore. But the tree was persistent. It said, “Look my boy, I was just a pine tree in the middle of this desert serving no purpose at all to anyone. I was living my own boring life evading sand storms and chilling cold all these days and nights. But when you came into my life, you made my life interesting, you made my life purposeful and you made me laugh. Now I only have one purpose in my life and that is you my boy. I wouldn’t mind ending this life for your welfare. After all I am just an old tree, while you are the young blood and you need to conquer a lot many things in your life. So without uttering a word, dig beneath me, uproot me and put me on that fire”. I had tears running down my cheeks after hearing this. But I did not have anything to speak against the tree. I wiped my tears and started digging beneath the tree. Soon I found the root, the same root that had quenched my thirst, the same root that breathed life into me, the same root that provided the life to the tree. With all my strength I pulled the small tree out, kissed on its bark and then placed it cautiously on the fire, as if that would alleviate the pain the tree was about to experience. It started burning and I felt warmer, but I couldn’t stop the incessant tears that were tumbling down my cheeks and into the fire, dosing a part of it just for an instant. I then cried out at the tree, “ This is just not fair, you have helped me out in this lonely place, fed me , quenched my thirst , gave me shelter, held me tight in a desert storm, and what do I do?, I kill you, so that I could live, this is just not fair”. Turning into gray ash by the minute, the tree broke in, “Okay, I’ll make it fair enough then. I am going to ask you for a favour”. I was delighted to hear this. “Anything for you my tree”, I cried out. The tree replied, “Alright, this is what I want, I want you to give me a name and call me by it before I turn into ash completely. Tree is such a boring name I say”. I was perplexed to hear such a favor but the tree remained persistent on it. I had to name the tree now; I closed my eyes and started to think. What would you call someone who will always be there for you even when you are all alone and everyone else has turned their back against you, what would you call someone who is happy to experience any amount of pain just to feed you, what would you call someone who would stand by you and hold you tight and give you courage in times of storms and adversities, what would you call someone who will even sacrifice his/her life for you, just to see you happy. And then it struck me like a thunderbolt, there could only be one name that encompasses all this. I opened my eyes and found that the tree had completely turned into ash by then. I took a handful of the ash, looked at it and cried out loud, Mother! Mother! My tree of love. I cried out so loud that I woke myself up. I was sitting on the bed and was still crying. My mother came running from the other room. Seeing me sweating profusely, she asked me ever so lovingly, “are you feeling thirsty my boy”.
 
 


© Copyright 2019 Srikanth Narayan. All rights reserved.

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