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  My Father and the Jasmine Tree

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Doudi4ever
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عدد المساهمات : 551
تاريخ التسجيل : 09/01/2011
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مُساهمةموضوع: My Father and the Jasmine Tree   الثلاثاء سبتمبر 06, 2011 11:13 am

He was a successful butcher, but when threats started haunting him, he closed his shop in the time when most of the Algerians became “butchers”; when the lamb became more expensive than the human flesh; when the human heads and limbs became as leftovers thrown apart for the dogs and the enemies of serenity to bite. But after the cessation of that fire, life came back to the dead-like people who expected every single night the knives to cross their necks, and with it life came back to the closed shop of my father; he restored his job as it was the only thing he could do which he inherited from his father who inherited it himself from his father. Each evening when my father came back home dead tired from his work, he sat on a bench underneath a jasmine tree to take some rest and sip some black coffee.

There was a peculiar relation between my father and the jasmine tree; he was obsessed by it; he loved it like a woman who entered his life without tapping on the arteries of his heart. He used to sit for hours beneath or beside that tree in summer’s nights without forgetting to fill his lungs by its scent before going to his bedroom like the one who tries to fill his lungs by air as possible as he can before diving into the sea. It was out of doubt that my father was enamoured with the jasmine tree. It was true that he loved all the trees of his garden and took care of them as if they were his children and used to say: “If you love a tree, it will love you for it feels your love”, but his love for the jasmine tree exceeded all the limits to the edge of making my mother feel jealous from it for she was sure that the jasmine tree shared her my father’s heart. I sometimes felt that my mother was crazy or a kind of insanity was creeping into her mind; how could she feel jealous from a tree?! But maybe she was right as she knew the story of that tree and the secret of my father’s love for it, for that she hated the tree and detested the one who sowed it. I still remember her face when she saw my father tickling the leaves of the jasmine tree and fondling its white flowers like a paramour who stroked the hair of his lover and patted her face.

The jasmine tree shared my father everything; his agonies and anguishes, his happiness and thrill. Whenever he faced a problem or the ghost of sadness found its way to his heart, he sat underneath it looking at it as if venting his burden; it could alleviate his melancholy with a graceful shake of its branches. Even when he felt happy and exited, he never forgot his tree and shared those moments with it; picking its flowers, smelling them and giving them to us saying: “Smell; smell the jasmine, really its odour can heal the sick heart!”



In fact the jasmine tree was not ours, it was our neighbours' but most of its lush branches were leaning on the wall of our veranda as if it was going to hug someone and whisper something in his ear or like a languid jaded lady who leaned on that wall to take a pause and catch her breaths after a long journey. It was sowed twenty years ago or thereabouts by a beautiful woman named Yassmine; she was my father’s cousin who lived just next to him; there was a wall that separated their houses but a destiny that separated their lives. Both of Yassmine and my father grew up and with them grew up a seed which was planted in their hearts since their childhood and bloomed in a beautiful flower in the spring of their lives, its name was love. Both of them opened their hearts on the love of the other one like the boys and the girls of that time who didn’t find a shelter but in their cousins’ hearts.
Yassmine sprouted in a beautiful flower to become the desire of many hands who longed to pick it, but my father was the winner, or as he thought, for he dared one day and asked his father to ask Yassmine’s hand for him. Things went just like love had decided and Yassmine was deemed as my father’s future wife, but fate, as it is always the enemy of love, poked its nose to mar the beautiful dream and kill the baby in its gestation; an affair of heritage separated the two lovers and raised a war between their families. After that my father and Yassmine couldn’t see each other except when a coincidence drew a meeting for them.
Yassmine was married from the first man he was proposed to her and my father from the first woman; my mother, whom his mother picked up for him. But, at least for my father, that beautiful flower didn’t wither; it stood growing inside that blessed ground of his heart. For that my father was enchanted by that tree; it reminded him by the first and maybe the last woman who invaded his heart, and for that he used to say “Smell the jasmine, it cures the sick heart”, he meant his heart and the solely woman who had the curative power to cure his anguishes.

My father died in autumn with the first fall of the white flowers of the jasmine tree. The next spring wasn’t like the previous one for that tree as it didn’t flower in abundance like it was in the days of my father as if it was sad for the loss of my father. In summer nights, its branches rustled mournfully making the small flowers falling on the bench my father used to sit on as if it missed the one who used to take care of it and spend long hours beside it under the light of summer’s starry sky. Even in its sorrow, the jasmine tree was alluring like a woman who wore a white dress instead of a black one in her mourning for the loss of a dear person and cast its sad flowers on his chair as if putting a wreath on his grave wishing him a long, serene sleep.

_________________

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