The plum tree

It was a cold and misty morning, like most winter mornings in the mountains. Omi rubbed his eyes and reluctantly prepared to get out of the tattered, dusty blanket which he was under. At 25, he felt like he was 75 years old and it seemed to him that he had aged a few more years last night. By this time every day, he would be mechanically up to follow the mundane routine which was his life. This morning though, he just sat against the wooden wall reminiscing about his younger life. He pictured how this room was then. There were few things in it. Mattresses lazily scattered on the floor. A low-watt bulb hanging from the wooden ceiling. Everyone’s clothes used to hang on the nails hammered haphazardly in the wooden walls. Their toothbrushes used to sit idly in a red, hand sized plastic basket hanging on a nail by the door.

In those happier times, life was simple. On cold mornings as these, his mother would wake him and his little sister up with piping hot tea just the way they liked it, a little sweet and milky. The first sip of the tea would start melting away the cold. He would finish his cup slowly while his mother would run around finishing her chores and his father would tend to the cows. By the time he finished, he would feel as if his soul had woken up refreshed from deep slumber. He would then enthusiastically open the wooden window to his right. The cool morning breeze would bring in the sounds of the birds chirping on his favorite plum tree; the moos of his beloved cows; and the fresh smell of delicate mountain flowers. He would then affectionately wake up his little sister with mock threats of drinking her tea if she didn’t wake up. He thought about that tea and instead of the sweet milky taste, he tasted a salty tear which brought him back to the present.

As he sat alone against the wall, he heard a low crumbling sound. He knew that the old plum tree has finally gone, just like everyone’s clothes from the rusty nails and the toothbrushes from the little red plastic basket hanging on the rusty nail by the door.

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