An excerpt from a short story ‘The guava tree’
I know when I should have left. It was the day I cried and told you I was leaving forever and you insisted that I stay, that I forget everything else, think only of our love. I see it so clearly now. That is the moment, when I should have turned and walked away from you.
The evening sun had cast shadows of the guava tree on the wall opposite. No breeze blew. Nothing moved. It was as if the universe was waiting with bated breath to hear my answer.
I looked at a kite circling high above in the sky and wished I was the prey it was looking for. Snatched off the earth by strong claws and devoured atop a tall coconut tree somewhere. It seemed a welcome end to the hurt and helplessness I felt.
The kite alighted on the nearest coconut tree, the noise of it’s flapping wind reaching us below. Perhaps it wanted to have a ringside view of the beginnings of the tragic drama about to unfold. I did not fail the universe, especially not the kite. True to the form of lovers around the world, I clutched at the inconsequential straw you waved as if it was something substantial, and cried fresh tears. Of remorse, of happiness that seemed within my reach again. The love in your voice was not something I could resist.
My moment was thus lost.
As if agreeing with my decision, the breeze decided to breathe into the branches of the guava tree just then, swaying it this way and that, making the shadows on the wall dance. It looked like a dance of joy to me. I smiled through my tears. Looking back I wonder, had it not been the macabre dance of doom? How could I have missed the dark twilight shades or the tone of resignation in the murmurs of the leaves?
The next morning I found the first guava of the season that the tree had to offer. It lay beneath the tree, a perfect light green globe, smooth, not a single blemish on it. How had the birds missed it, I mused, a beautiful succulent fruit like this one? I took it as a good omen. As I bit into it I wished you were with me to share it. But it didn’t matter, did it? There would be other guava seasons when you got back. We’d sit beneath the tree and share them together.
I spent more and more time beneath the wide canopy of the tree. I would sit with my back against the sturdy trunk, my eyes closed, in my ears the sound of river water lapping against the banks. Now and then I’d inhale the aroma from a few crushed guava leaves held securely in my palm. It never failed to bring back memories and I ached for your kiss that tasted of the freshness of green guavas.
What? You want to read the rest of it? For that you will have to wait, no? 😉
©Shail Mohan 2015