I was eight when my Daddy brought a small mango tree home, and I was not too happy about it.

Let me explain.

I love to eat mangoes, yes, I love it, and not only me but my Daddy, my Mommy, and my older sister also love it. Not as much as me, though.

Anyhow, I waited for my Daddy to return home all day because he told me he had a surprise for us and we would love it. I thought it would be a new doll, fast food or even ice cream, but it was the sapling of a mango tree instead. I wasn’t happy because I would have to wait for what, twenty years before it grew and bore mangoes? Plus, the mangoes could be the sourest mangoes ever.

Nevertheless, I went into the backyard of our rented property and watched as my Daddy dug the hole. Then, my sister and I helped him to put it into the hole and refilled it. Then, my Mommy watered it with our red watering can.

I will confess, though, that by the time we finished, I was happy as I danced around the newly planted mango tree. Following that, I helped to water it regularly, and to my surprise and great pleasure, the tree did not take twenty years to grow.

I was in grade one when we planted it, and by the time it started bearing mangoes, I was in grade five. As for the mangoes, they were the sweetest ones I’ve ever tasted. They were huge and juicy, and when my sister and I sold them for pocket money, they were gone even before we could say mango for sale.

The tree was big and strong, so much so that my Daddy could build a tire swing on it for my sister and me. Our friends enjoyed it just as much as we did. It was also a good hiding place, sometimes, and a picnic area for our family once in a while. I loved that mango tree.

Then the day came when my parents sat us down and said, “We did not say anything before because we did not know when and if it was going to happen, but it has happened.”

Our grandmother, our Dad’s Mom, had sent for us, and we were moving to the US! I was in grade eight, and we were leaving St. Kitts for a new and perhaps better life, and I was both happy and sad about it.

However, we had one last picnic under the mango tree before leaving.

We had a good life for many years in the States, although it was hard sometimes. Then, at seventy years old, my Dad passed away from cancer and a year after his passing, the wound his death inflicted was still fresh. It was not healing.

Therefore, when my husband suggested we travel to St. Kitts that summer, I thought it was a good idea because I was thinking about the mango tree. Perhaps seeing the mango tree and reminiscing about him may begin the healing.

So, we travelled there, and the previous owners had sold the house, and the present owner, who was at home when we visited, allowed us to enter her backyard.

The mango tree was gone, and a beautiful wooden treehouse stood in its place. Children were laughing and playing in it. Tears consumed my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. The owner, seeing my tears, invited us to cake and drink. We accepted, but I cried when we sat in the house.

After crying, the Johnny Cake and mango drink were a welcome relief to my body. My husband and I thanked the owner for her kindness, and she asked us to hold on for a few minutes.

She disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a massive painting of the mango tree on a sunny day.

She told us that she discovered the tree was planted from a sapling by renters. Therefore, when they were going to cut it down because it had stopped bearing mangoes for a few years and was dying, even though they tried to save it, she wanted the memory of it to still live on. She took a photo of it in its glory days and used it to paint it. She hoped to give us the painting if we ever returned. She was a local artist.

Now, in our home, the painting hangs in our living room. One year, I have it; the following year, my sister has it, and my womb has begun to heal.

The End

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