Tara stood at the kitchen window staring out into the backyard. She was focusing on the tree, the one her mother had planted. She still remembered her mother’s words the day she had presented the sapling to her.
“Tara, this is a citrus sapling, no idea what kind of fruit it’s going to produce, just thought it’ll be a good addition to your garden”
“Amma, we don’t really have space for another tree”
“Taru, I assure you this one’s not a big tree. It doesn’t need much space to grow”
“No amma” Tara had been firm.
She relented when she noticed her mother’s downcast face. Her mother chose a sunny area, dug up the earth herself and planted it with great love.
It had grown slowly but surely over the last few years.
Wish amma had lived to see it thriving.
3 years had gone by since her mother had passed away and in the nine years since she had planted it, the tree had neither flowered nor fruited. It also occupied more space that her mother had foreseen. Nothing could be planted next to it.
After her mother passed away, Raj’s mission had been to convince her to have the tree cut. Every time they talked about the garden the conversation invariably landed on her tree.
“Tara, the tree is just a waste of space, we don’t even know what kind of fruit it’s supposed to bear. My friend is willing to give me an imported Malta lime and I really want that.”
“Raj, that’s the only connection I have with Amma.”
“Tara, a whole year has gone by when we decided that we would give the tree more time and nothing has changed. It’s just mere sentiment on your part. My patience is running out. We’ll decide once and for all when I get back from Spain. Your tree will have to face the axe” he had said 2 days before he left.
She stepped out into the backyard and placed her cheek on the tree’s trunk. I wish you would fruit, then you’ll be with me forever she whispered to the tree.
Two days later she was doing the crossword when she heard her gardener call out to her.
“amma, see what I found”
She looked at his outstretched hand
“Orange? I had forgotten, it’s the orange season, isn’t it? How much for a kilo?”
“amma, I found this in our garden”
“Come with me”
She followed him to the backyard. He pointed to her tree.
Tara looked at the tree and burst into tears. Her love for it had created magic. Her tree had reciprocated by gifting her something really precious, her mother’s love in the form of oranges. Her favorite fruit since her childhood days.
She placed her wet cheek against the trunk and whispered “thank you for the orange”
For the first time since her mother’s passing, she felt a deep sense of peace. Her mother was here, with her.
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