Memories from the Eucalyptus

The first memory of you I have is from kindergarten. Both of us were about four, I guess. It wasn't a formal school is all I remember. And more than the school, I have a lucid memory of returning from school. And of being neighbors. In that uncomplicated phase of childhood. You didn't live next door. Our houses were not adjacent of course, like apartments these days. You lived with your maternal grandparents for the summer, or probably the whole year. Your house was three storied, hidden aptly behind the ample foliage of coconut and mango trees. My house was a little further. We had our trees in the backyard, and our house was pretty much exposed, except for a sole eucalyptus near our front door.

This eucalyptus tree was the cynosure of my life back then. I would sight it from a distance from the wooden lorry that drove us home from school and feel happy. I got down at the eucalyptus tree. Sometimes you got down with me. Your grandparents lived alone and didn't talk much to anyone, let alone my family. Only somehow we had procured their landline number to call and tell them you were with me. And we would play house. Probably we were too young to play anything else.

The wind blew seeds and hid them in the crevices of the eucalyptus tree. In the rain, these seeds would shoot into saplings and burst out into small plants. With leaves very different from that of the eucalyptus, their host. Some saplings lived to grow tall and strong. All this made the tree appear very composite. Several trees within itself, like a thriving plural phantom from my dreams.

But they chopped down that tree one day. It was so sudden and immediate that I just found the tree gone when I got back from school. My landmark, my cynosure was no more. I mourned in my own quiet way but you found out and shared my loss. Then onward till the end, we played at your house. Until, I switched schools to a proper one and you left your grandparents alone for good. 


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pSyn0 said...

Wow! Felt like my own forgotten memory.