the Old Tree

The morning is always sunny. Sometimes I wake up listening to the sound of birds chirping in my dreams. At these times, I am already half awake. In these times, I have a blurry sense of self. My dreams claw at me. I am not ready to leave my utopia. I’m the only one; I’m surrounded by trees laid bare by a harsh winter but it isn’t cold. A soft mist hugs the grassy banks, there is water nearby. The taste of stillness hangs around me; the damp smell of unmoving water, the soft sound of a dense water body hitting a solid wall; a red, brick wall, which rises high out of the water, unyielding.

In my dreams there are memories, in those memories there are dreams, buried deep. Why is it that I’m sad when I open my eyes? Where was I traveling while I slept? I have a feeling it’s the past, I’m going back in time, days gone by, time long past, a longing turned into an aching reality. It is my Pensieve. I’m just a shadow but I see my life unraveling, I see the dust swirling, changing everything, ageing everything, but I’m standing still. Yet it’s a whirpool around me, memories, voices, scents and smells; I’m 7 years old, I’m running like only children can run- with no care in the world, only the desperation and the breathlessness, the eagerness to get where I want to be. My feet slap the ground, I shouldn’t be running in those shoes; no one can stop me. I’m 10 years old, I’m free; I’m climbing a wall- it’s an adventure. The ground is full of my enemies, a stray snake waiting to bite me- no, it’s a stormy sea full of sharks. I must not fall.

I fall. I’m going to grandmother’s- I want to run in the backyard, I want to hear her tell me those stories… I want to run into her little kitchen, grasp open that fridge, I know she cooked because I was coming. Her roasted chicken was always special. I could eat as much as I wanted- she would only give me more, laugh, fill my plate up. Then I’d bug her- we could go for a walk. We always went for a walk, we always crossed the large, drooping tree next to the juice shop. She would always buy me mango juice in a little, cardboard carton and chat with the owner. I could sit by the tree, maybe even on it, with it’s branches hanging low and just waiting to be climbed.

Why do I remember her tonight, out of all nights? I haven’t forgotten her. I remember her stories, her comfort. Some days I wake up and it’s sunny and the birds are chirping but I’m back in the past, I’m waking up in her home, I’m smelling the food cooking, smelling her soap.

Those mornings, these mornings, I miss her so much.

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