Monday, August 06, 2007


Today, I understood a bit of what a monkey, squirrel, bird, panda, tiger, fern, crawler experiences when it loses its hideout to men in chainsaws and tractors. You feel bare. You feel like you could run for a thousand miles with your little heart churning out blood and fear, yet still end up in the jaws of a well-camouflaged croc or at the end of a shotgun. You dart for cover, but to your disgust, it's a measly hibiscus plant. To quote 99% of horror movies: You can run, but you can't hide.

Then there's the excruciating heat. The ground burns beneath your feet, and whatever overhead shelter there was from the scorching sun has blown away; collapsed; ceased to exist. If you're unlucky and wear a thick fur coat in this hot and humid climate, you begin sweating like a pig. If you're an actual pig with a thin epidermis, sunburn and skin cancer might just kill you off before a pack of hungry coyotes. You become a helpless victim to the elements.

This afternoon, I lost some of the "protection" I've known my whole life when I arrived home to a facade that looked different. It was our mango tree. It was missing. Suddenly, the whole house and garden seemed naked. Anyone on the street could look right in. In fact, it felt mighty weird, as the mango tree had been with us from as far as I can remember (which is a very long time ago), and had served us well, bearing luscious fruit and generously sharing its shade.

But today, its stem held itself up proudly for a last time; its branches grandly bowed and swayed for a nondescript finale. Only my dad was there to see it go. As the men started hacking into its 30-degree inclined trunk; as they fell blow after blow into termite-infested branches, the tree's two decades of love and labour became mere memories. The same tree I had tried climbing as a kid; the same tree I had curled up with a book in (and failed, for it wasn't destined to multitask as furniture); the same tree my parents and relatives spent hours gazing up its branches for signs of a yellowing fruit; the same tree my mum fell from and oozed blood from her head; the same tree a pair of yellow birds in the neighbourhood frequently sang lovesongs on; the same tree the garden squirrels played hide and seek in; the same tree the bats and birds loved to lepak in (while relaxing their anus muscles over my car)—this same tree was now gone. All that remained, when I returned home, was a story half a foot tall; sawdust and debris all around; roots still in the ground.

And the Sunday sun blazed down as usual. Only this time, there was no one to shelter me.


jon the chew said...

Nice post. Very vivid. Spoken like a true copywriter! (so many copywriting ideas too. Too bad I ain't one... yet.)

a passing cloud said...

yoes, jon the chews! copywriting ideas? where? what? mangoes? hmmm. anyway, despite being one, i actually don't have a great impression of copywriters in general. if i had my way, i'd just call myself a writer. sounds more emo/artsy/soulful/romantic. :)