Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: It suffices just to wonder
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Then, there was the narrow path. It meandered around the cliff, along the hilly terrain to a pool at the bottom of a waterfall. We treaded through the long grass as we made our way, as children, to get to the pool where we had our daily bath. The village women did their washing there too. We tried not to coincide our bath time with them, so we could have exclusive use of the pool. The water was cold, but on rainy days, it would be freezing. It didn’t bother us anyway. We loved bath times as we got to play, splashing water at each other. There were three of us, an elder brother and sister. I was the youngest. We had such fun. After bath, each of us had to carry a small bucket of water back with us. As we made our return journey through the well-trodden earth path, dirt, dead leaves or grass would stick to our legs. That’s the purpose for the bucket of water – to wash our legs on arriving home.
Sometimes, one the way back, we detoured. We left our buckets on the path while we climbed up the slope to the pinnacle to watch the waves coming into the cove below. It was a beautiful sight. The waves chasing each other, the white foams rising higher and higher until they smashed into smithereens on the shores.
Lining the hill slope were also wild fruit trees. When in seasons, we would climb the trees to harvest the sweet, juicy fruits. Sometimes we even played hide-and-seek in the bushes. Of course, when we dirtied ourselves, we would go back to the pool for a second bath.
Life was fun in the house on the cliff! Laughter echoed through the place as children played joyfully. Mum and dad worked in the orchard adjoining the house. There were plenty of fresh fruits such as mangoes, rambutans, papayas, pineapples, star fruits, pomelos, and durians, too! Strange that we didn’t have problems with the pungent smell from the king of fruits!
We helped our parents in the orchard too. The whole family would harvest and pack the fruits into baskets which were sold to the fruit sellers. Life was simple and laid back, but full of joy and happiness! It was one wonderful family.
Then one day, fate dealt us a heavy blow. Mum fell ill. The doctor couldn’t diagnose the cause, and in a very short while, she was bedridden before she succumbed to the illness. Dad was heartbroken and depressed. He couldn’t work in the orchard anymore, so he decided to sell the land and we moved to the city. Unfortunately, he never recovered! Our lives were shattered. The joy and laughter stopped! It was never the same again.
Now that I’m grown and as I walk down memory lane, teardrops well up and I wonder what would life be if mum didn’t die? I have no answer, but it suffices just to wonder!
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