The Oak - Part 1
Ankure, a young man of Indian decent, stood at the crosswalk motionless, as if in a trance, he was looking straight forward as if his eyes were fixed on an object a ways off from him, not noticing for a moment that there were no cars coming to keep him from crossing the street. He looked both ways briefly and walked on, looking ahead just far enough to stay within the boundary of the sidewalk. He had the appearance of a man with a lot on his mind. It was a warm summer morning, still mid-morning and the humidity was not as high as usual, it was comfortable, as a summer day in the south goes.
In the town where Ankure lived, you could walk for miles on tree canopied sidewalks with stretches of warm sunshine, and then walk back into the cooler shaded canopy. Houses lined the streets on lot’s ample with space between each; most had green lawns of manicured centipede or Bermuda. Some with hedges of boxwoods and some with azaleas and the smell of confederate jasmine permeated the air. Great magnolias stood occasionally, along with tall pines and a plentiful amount of live oak trees. There were roses everywhere, which was the reason it was called the city of roses.
On this particular morning, he had been talking with his doctor at his office and received some unwelcome news, and making a short drive home, he decided to go for a walk to think things out and clear his head a bit.
Ankure had been walking for about an hour with no particular destination in mind. He came to a park and common area that people used for private events such as tea’s and weddings. There was a large white gazebo near a very old and large oak tree, about four or five blocks from the center of town. It also had benches located about under the limbs and branches of the great oak. Ankure sat down on one of the benches near the sidewalk and half interestingly looked at the sign posted with information about the tree. It stated that it was a live oak and was about four hundred years old and of course not to be climbing on the limbs of the tree.
Ankure wasn’t interested in the tree that much at the moment, he was still reeling in disbelief at the news he had received from his doctor. Sitting and staring straight ahead in shock, best described his demeanor at the time. He was thinking it didn’t seem fair to him to be only thirty years old and have a disease that could kill him, and probably would. He had never given much thought to lung cancer or the like; he didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, or things that abused his body in any manner. He thought, I’m too young to be dying; I’m not married yet, and have no heirs’ to carry the family line on. How do I tell my parents and my siblings, it will be a shock to them, all these things flooded his mind with such velocity and overbearing weight, his head hurt. With his eyes closed and grasping his head in his hands, he hardly realized that in his moment of anguish, had spoken out loud, “Someone help me.”
After a few moments pause, he heard a voice say, “What kind of help do you need?” He opened his eyes looking to his front, then both left and right. No one was there, so he quickly looked behind the bench, no one was in sight. He just dismissed it as hearing things because of his current stress. Then again the voice, “What kind of help do you need?” Ankure looked all around again; there was no one in sight. He said under his breath, “I may be letting this make me a crazy person.” “No, you’re not going crazy, I said it,” the voice reiterated.
Ankure jumped up from the bench, looking all around him and even up in the tree, and seeing nothing, he stepped left and right in the sidewalk in a panicked manner, looking around; he was thinking, now maybe I won’t notice dying as much, being I’m going crazy. Maybe I’ll forget, or go into a comma or something.
“Well, are you going to answer me or not,” the voice asked. Now extremely panicked, Ankure was holding his hands over his ears, saying, “Who’s there? Why am I hearing things, I don’t have a brain tumor or anything wrong with my head; I was alright a few minutes ago.” “You’re not hearing things, you’re hearing Me.” the voice answered. “That’s what abundantly worries me, who are you talking to me?” asked Ankure, in his broken, not so perfect English. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m the tree you’re standing under.”
There was complete silence for a long moment, and then Ankure said, “You expect me to be believing you?” “Yes,” said the oak. In the meantime Ankure had been looking on the tree trunk and the signpost for a speaker or something. “What are you doing?,” the oak asked. “I’m looking for the speaker you are tricking me very much with.” (He was on his knee’s looking under the bench, by this time) “Are we on the camera of candid show or something?” “What?”, said the oak.
Still looking around under the bench, Ankure felt that something had changed in the atmosphere; in the silence of the moment, turning around as he rose to his feet from his knees, he was facing an older lady who had been looking on in a curious manner. She asked, “Are you all right sir?” She being somewhat apprehensive, not knowing if Ankure had all his bricks on the pile. He answered, “OH, Oh (with a large grin on his face that Eddie Murphy would be proud of), I’m talking loudly to myself, looking under the bench for something!” “O.K,” said the lady as she moved on, looking back a couple of times, while she was still in close proximity to Ankure, (still smiling, leaning forward in a quick half bow and waving to the lady as she left, the smile slowly diminishing from his face.)
Ankure said in a louder voice, “who are you? Where are you speaking to me from?” “Look, I’ve told you, it was me, the oak you’re standing under.” “That cannot be,” Ankure said forcefully. “Why not?”, asked the oak. “You’re not real,” said Ankur. “I’m as real as you are, and a lot older too!”, stated the oak. “Stop it, trees don’t talk, I’m only hearing you because I’m upset,” blurted out Ankure. “Perhaps, part of what you said is true, but let me explain.” Pausing briefly, the oak began, “Trees talk, you just don’t hear them normally, but they talk.” “I am not sure so much, that you aren’t tricking me severely,” said Ankure, suspiciously. “I’m not tricking you, I assure you,” verified the oak. “O.K,” said Ankure, but why can I hear you now and I have never done this before?” “Well, said the oak a bit reluctantly,” that’s what I need to explain.”
Copyright©2009 Mit Kroy
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