Since the time I remember the “big red tree” was always there, where the gate to my house should have been. Those were nicer times of bamboo fences that automatically adjusted itself to the growing width of the tree. Eyes of the childhood I just saw the blossoming red flowers of the tree hence the name.
I studied in a boarding school from the early years of my education. When I came home for a holiday, the first thing I did was hide behind the “big red tree” and send my father to tell mother I hadn’t come home though I always revealed myself by my giggles however I always have and will believe it did baffle her a little bit at least. This was my only activity with the “big red tree”. My innocent heart believed the tree was the beginning of my world where even though just for a few days I would be pampered and the evil “homework” would not dare enter or maybe it was only stability I sought.
Every time I had a visit home I noticed it had changed. No! It didn’t grow bigger or taller just that majestic redness had increased. The flowers bloomed all year-long; more in my presence I always assumed, celebrating my homecoming. I never knew the actual name of the tree, neither did I try to find out; nor do I know it now.
During one of my winter holidays a serious conversation among the adults stirred up, the tree’s branch would eventually touch the electricity wire propped up on the poles near it; which I now know is dangerous but back then it was just some adult hocus-pocus.
Cutting said one will help induce the tree to grow more beautifully, “we all eat lies when our hearts are hungry”; hence the grown-up decision was made to cut it the next day.
The day dawned and unlike other days I didn’t go out to play; did anyone notice I think not. I just closed myself in a room from where I could hear the commotion but not see the “big red tree” hurt. Every thud on it trunk was silenced by the raised volume of the TV; “Tom and Jerry” failed to entice a smile as I bawled my eyes out.
Though I avoided seeing it all day curiosity got the better hold of me, I looked and there stood just inches of the trunk instead of my “big red tree” which never grew to show us its full majesty again.
The next time I came home a metal gate stood there and the game of “hide and seek” just abruptly stopped.
image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delonix_regia