“It’s our dream finally becoming true. Tomorrow Shresh is going to Geneva, moving out from here at 2:00 am at midnight to catch our flight. I was never so pumped up, Shresh finally got his job at CERN as ISOLDE Physics Group Leader. By the way he is a physics geek, he researches on dark energy and dark matter. He always says, “Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, it’s just transferred.” to his interns and of course to me. A few days back, when he got a mail from CERN, his face was so happy that it was as vibrant as when I gave him 5 pennies when he was as little as 6 years old to buy a little tree. He is thrilled that he got his dream job, yet he is heartsick. Now the time is 1:43 Am. He is sitting under that tree. If this had not happened, we would both be on the bed cuddling or sleeping or something more interesting than me watching him sitting under a tree. No the right way to put it down is, He is sitting with the tree. Miss you donkey.” Nyra slept on her diary after writing this. She quickly ran into a dream.
“Its winter with white snow and all Christmas jingles making harmonious dulcet sounds. I’m sitting with my dad in our shop waiting for kids with parents to come and buy. It’s very early in the morning and a boy is standing in front of our store looking at the skateboard from the glass that is fully covered with the snow. He slowly walked into our store. My dad asked him, “What do you want to buy, bud?” He said, “That skateboard budd.” My dad laughed and said, “Give me 35$ and take it buddy.” The boy took so much time to collect money from different pockets and gave all of it to dad and said, “Here you go, now give my skate.” Dad laughed and said, “It’s all 2.5$ dollars. You can’t get a skateboard unless Santa wants to gift you this, but I ain’t Santa bud!” The boy looked despair and searched the whole shop. After some time, he finally bought a small tree pot and dad said, “That’s 3$.” He has only 2.5$. Dad could have given it to him, but I wanted to give him or at least gift him. I took out my savings purse and gave him the remaining amount. Dad was pleased with my gesture as well. I asked his name. He said, “Shresh” Finally, he took his tree and walked out of our store by making jingles while closing the door.” Nyra heard a big bell sound, and she’s awake with the alarm from her phone. She got angry with her phone because it has awakened her from reliving a moment in her dream. She woke up and saw Shresh still sitting with the tree. She again opened her diary along with a warm cup of coffee and started writing,
“its 6 am in the morning. Today is our last day here. Even I was excited until yesterday night, but now it’s different, definitely not exciting. I am happy that I got this dream. It’s not the exact thing, but it’s similar. It’s how I and Shresh had met for the first time. After a few days of that incident, I saw him in his Lawn talking with his tree, which he bought from our shop. It felt weird. I went there and sat beside him. He was quite for some time and then he introduced me to his tree, “This is Nyra, she is a good girl say hi to her and Nyra this is Ani say hi to her.” I said a weird and a gentle Hi to that tree, “Hi Ani.” I asked Shresh, “How do you know that the tree is a girl? He said, “I just know it.” We sat there for a moment. Later his nanny came and offered me a cake with a smile and went back in. I asked him, “Who is she?” He said, “My nanny.”
Nyra: “Where are your parents?”
Shresh: “I don’t get to see my dad often, but he comes once in a while, bringing many gifts when all I wanted is him to sit with me for some time. But no worries, I got Ani with me now.”
Nyra: “Where is your mom?”
Shresh: “She is a bad mamma, nanny said she left me when I was very little and that she won’t come back.”
Nyra: “No, she is not a bad mama. Because no mama in the world is bad. Mama is so good, my mama makes me delicious food, sleeps along with me all night and kisses me at night thinking that i’m asleep.’
Shresh: “Ohh! My nanny also does all those things but except the last one.”
He was sad for some time, but then he watered Ani, the tree. His nanny called him, “Shresh come in its bedtime.” He gave me a big warm hug and said bye. When I was leaving, he called my name out loud and said, “Say good night to Ani.” I laughed and said bye. That was not until when I was in high school, I got to know what happened. His father and his mother were married, her mother loved his father so much that she left her family for marriage. They were happy initially and then she gave birth to Shresh. She loved him so much, she cared for him so much. Shresh was now her world. It’s then that when things slipped out of her hand, she noticed that her husband was having an affair with someone and drinking a lot. Small fights got big enough that neighbours were distributed at nights. She fell sick back then. One day while she was eating, a big fight started, and her husband started yelling at her so loud. The situation got intense, her husband left her and went upstairs. She got a cardiac arrest due to an underlying heart disease that has not been diagnosed. Her husband was in the bathroom, so he was not able to hear her. She died while holding her baby in her arms. Now his dad married another woman and left for another place. Since then he visits Shreshonce in a while. He appointed a nanny to care for Shresh. After knowing this, I felt despondent. He didn’t even remember how his mother used to be, but he misses her. He treats Ani like a family member, he even had fights with his friends when they made fun of this. I can’t say when I had fallen in love with him because I am still falling. He will sit under, sorry he will sit with Ani and talks with her when he feels happy or sad or empty. First, when we were in a relationship, I thought I could make him sit with Ani less often, but no. I also started sitting along with him with Ani. But it is always heartwarming for me to see how he talks or spends time with Ani. It’s so beautiful that I can’t keep it in words, nor can I describe it. I saw him from his childhood sitting with Ani, talking with her, eating, playing, studying, and sometimes sleeping under Ani. But today we have to leave to Geneva, but he is sitting with Ani like a child who is about to leave his mother because he has to go to a hostel. Nyra is about to leave the house and started going to Shresh, but then she heard a notification to Shresh’s mail. She went and opened it, “Hi I am Cooper I used to be your neighbour when you were a years boy. I saw somewhere in our town’s community posts that this is your last day here. I didn’t care until I saw your name. Your mom used to tell us about how cute and smart you are many times. I saw your house in the background of those posts. I want to meet you and wish to talk to you if you are free, let me know, I will come there. I can fly within an hour from my place.” Nyra immediately replied, “Yes, I am free and excited. Please come soon.” Nyra is running so fast and went to Shresh and told him about the mail. Finally, Cooper came, and they are sitting around the tree, Ani.
Cooper said, “Hi Shresh, you are smart and cute as your mom said.”
Shresh: “Oh, thank you. It’s very nice of you to come to us. By the way, do you know my mom? How she used to be?”
Cooper: “She was gorgeous, I was in my high school back then. I used to talk to your mom sometimes from my Lawn, she’s always busy with you, she used to talk with you even when you were a baby. I used to hear their fights. Sometimes it woke me up in my sleep. She used to help me with my homework sometimes. She was a very kind and generous woman.”
Nyra: “That’s so nice to hear.” Nyra was holding Shresh hands and rubbing his hair. Cooper said, “Thanks for the coffee. I am so happy that I finally met you, but I have to leave soon for a flight. It’s so nice to see you Shresh, you too Nyra.” then Nyra said, “How you thought that you could leave this place without talking to Ani.”
Copper: “I’m sorry, who is Ani? Is she your daughter?”
Shresh: “No, she is here.”
Nyra: “Surprised? Yes, Ani is a tree. Say Hi to her or he’s gonna kill you.” Cooper touches Ani and said, “Hi.”
Nyra: “This tree and he both grew together, she used to be a small plant in my dad’s shop. Now she is huge and tall.”
Cooper: “That is very interesting and weird to know. That’s beautiful, how…? By the way, what is your dad’s shop? I use to roam a lot when I was here.”
Cooper: “Oh! Macy’s. I used to give your dad stuff and get money. Lastly, I was collecting seeds for my small school project. That was the last time when I saw Shresh’s mom alive. I could see her being very sick. When I met her, she was eating some fruit. I told her about my project. She gave me the seeds she left while eating that fruit. I gave a few of them to your dad shop when I got to know that he’s starting a small nursery is your shop.”
Nyra: “Don’t say that you gave red maple tree seed.”
Cooper: “But I did. I did give him a red maple!”
Nyra is so shocked, widening her big eyes. She told Shresh, “Baby that red maple seed, that tiny tree you bought in our shop is Ani!!”. Shresh looked so overwhelmed and happy and surprised. He hugged Cooper and said, “I don’t know what to say, Iam out of words. I…” He hugged Nyra. After some time, Cooper said, “It’s been a very nice day, I am so glad that I saw you. I bought these flowers for your mom to keep these at her stone. She used to like them, its maple flower.” Shresh’s face turned faint and confusingly he asked, “What? My mom’s stone, what are you talking about? I don’t understand a word!”
Copper: “I mean her gravestone. Sorry if I offended you.”
Shresh: “What are you talking about? Gravestone here? I don’t get it, I don’t even know.” He started crying. Nyra hold his face and kissed him on his forehead. She asked Cooper, “Cooper, we don’t understand what you are saying.”
Cooper: “This is unbelievable, how come all these years you didn’t know about it? Your grandfather came to your house a week before you mom died. One day he came to our house to play with my dog. Later, when he went back, he saw you in her arms, and your mom was dead. He shouted and cried. My dog and I ran to your house, and I couldn’t believe it. Your dad left the house without knowing about your mother’s demise. Maybe he didn’t mind seeing your mom, who would have continued to argue with him. He was in flight later when your grandfather called him. Your dad said it could take at least a week for him to come back and that he will pay money for the funeral. Your grandfather’s heart was broken after hearing this. He told how much he loved his daughter and cried for hours holding her. After some time he said that he would buy this house from your father. He told me that he wanted his daughter to be a memory all the time, so he dug a grave, my dog and I helped him and made a gravestone. After a few months, we left this town. That’s all I know.”
Shresh: “After that in a few months my grandfather passed away and my dad appointed a nanny. I was 4 years then, no one even told me about all of these. I don’t even know how my mom looks, but I missed her so much, I cried with Ani many nights. If I know this before, it could have lessened my burden and pain.” He is crying and tears are flooding out, he doesn’t know how to react. With hope and a saddened heart he asked, “Can you please show me where my mom?” Cooper searched and found out that it’s the exact same place where Ani is. Cooper said, “It’s exactly right here, where Ani is!”
Shresh went running towards Ani and hugged her so tight and cried so loud, it started to rain. Rain drops started to fall from the leaves of the tree, as if Ani is also crying. I couldn’t stop my tears from rolling. My heart felt so heavy and light at the same time. All these years I couldn’t understand why Ani is so special to Shresh, why shresh talks to it even when he knows that she can’t listen. Even Shresh didn’t know why he is so attached to Ani. Ani is the closest thing to a mom can be. Ani took care when Shresh is sad and gave fruits when he is hungry, she offered Shresh her support when he couldn’t stand on his own. Ani offered her comfort in her shade when he was upset. When I saw Shresh under that tree on that day, it felt like his mom is embodied in every piece of the tree and roots. It felt like I was seeing a mother holding her crying child wrapped in her arms. Shresh hugged Ani and said, “Mama I’m sorry. I thought you are bad because you left me, but I am wrong because no mama in the world is bad. Love you, mama, you are with me all this time.” We never left this town, this house. Shresh never left his mom. Nyra closed her dairy after writing this, and she looked out through the window where Shresh is playing with his kids and his mom, Ani, The Tree.
As he always says, “Love is neither created nor destroyed, it’s just transformed”, Nyra thought.
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