Since days of his university, Ralph remembered sitting under this oak tree. There were many rumours about this tree. Some people said that it was as old as 500 years, some believed from earlier times saints used to sit under it, they meditated there and sometimes miracles happened with them.
He always felt very curious about that tree. It looked very old as if it was hiding secrets of time. It had a small trunk and big branches that dispersed in all directions. After great projection, they all drooped down from the ends, just like those branches that bow down with the weight of its fruits. The tree had a look of humility and heaviness about it.
Ralph had a difficult upbringing as a child. He had poor communication skills and often stammered. Which eventually shattered his confidence, he preferred staying at the back, away from the limelight in deep shadows. He never had any best friends nor close relatives to confide in and build a relationship.
He had been coming in terms with somewhat life of a recluse when he fell in love. Despite barriers of language, expression and dialogue, he was a sensible, sensitive and very caring young man. Any girl must have felt special in his company. He was charming, decent and a very quiet boy. The only problem was the moment he talked, it made the listeners somewhat restless to urge him to finish his sentence. He lost more confidence and tried hard to collect those scattered words like the branches of an oak tree….to line them up in a small trunk….and let go of them with proficiency.
Ralph often daydreamed of talking to people in a normal way, to impress them with his competency and accent. To talk as a public speaker in front of thousands of mesmerised listeners.
Dreams are only dreams after all.
The reality was that he never had the courage to go and speak to Zoe. He saw her every day, fluttering around in a bubbly mood, laughing and cracking jokes. While he sat there under the old oak trees to bury all seeds of his wishes and water them at the same time.
One day he wrote a poem for Zoe. He heard she was passing through a difficult time in her life. She was diagnosed with a serious disease he had no idea about. All he could see was Zoe, shattered from inside, smiling from outside. Every day, it felt she was dragging herself, pushing herself to live one more day. She was losing weight, becoming weak and pale. Slowly the sparkle in her eyes disappeared and so did the magic in her smile.
Ralph could bear no more so he wrote a poem to give to her, to assure her.
Oh, this life is an uneasy quest,
How I wish for you to smile aloud,
You may think I am deaf,
Your walls have gotten thicker through the years,
But I can hear your every breath,
As you conceal your tears.
And when you seek a joyous tune,
I sing for hours galore,
I sing for days and I sing for nights.
And that too in this winters cold.
And when you seek a little warmth,
I know my rags will make you sad,
So I pray for the spring to come,
And For the sun to greet your door.
And when the night arrives,
Always a bit too soon,
I guard your doors alone,
With a clear sight of the moon,
I’ll sing a song you see,
So there’s really no need to mourn,
Dreams do sell for a heavy price,
If only they would learn.
As Ralph went to post that letter for her, he heard a piece of bad news. It was late she had passed away in a state of a comma.
So he went back under the refuge, the old oak tree that he had the most association with. A tree that was a witness of his memories, his confession, his every burning emotion. It had seen the fire of his passion, the ashes of his hopes and dreams.
The tree accepted him with open branches. Time passed and Ralph grew old, when life gives him stress and worry, he knows where to go.
To a tree, as old as wise and grand like him and also as lonely and quiet.
The fact that he and the tree had both a heavy identity was no less than a miracle too.
Thanks Novus for giving me the theme to write on…. Heavy identity