A CHERRY TREE AT VERANDA

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Written by Fakhrunnas MA Jabbar
Translated by Agus B. Harianto

It had so many times cherry tree near the veranda were cancelled to cut off. Yes, I was the one who always maintain it. Even that was after arguing in long way with Imah, my wife. In once time, Imah was right, that the cherry tree was not so leafy just brought about disaster. Long time ago, Fais, our eight year oldest sun, ever been fell after he was hanging on the one of its branches. He sprained and he had to surgical operated in hospital. Yes, that was the first time of idea given by my wife to cut off that cherry tree. With all resistance, apparently the tree could survive.

It was nothing, the cherry tree was more keeping memory than fruit that it could produced. Almost all of our household record saved in each string of its leaf. Each time there were fallen leaf, my heart felt so vague. I felt like there was any memory lost away from its calyx then it was flied away by the wind or brought by the rain to everywhere. But, no, a half memory had changed become the secret of our life, it was not so easy to be disintegrated.

But, the feeling like those, I only felt it my self. Imah, the woman who much more used her time up from kitchen to well and then to the bed- the properly wife’s part of servicing- apparently more felt the fallen cherry’s leafs as nauseated garbage. Almost in every morning, she was busy to wipe the yard including threw away the fallen cherry’s leafs. It seem, she didn’t really care about the memory that kept in those leafs. She might be had more power of remembrance than me my self in the thing of our life’s memory that have been running for 12 years. Yes, of course, we created those memories when we were beginning our household’s life.
***

The last one, Imah pouted in inflamed way to me because of the cherry again. The problem was, Arumi, little sister of Fais, had incredible heat fever. Her hands seen like it was abscessing. It all began from the same cherry. According to the explanation of Arumi’s friends, our daughter might be the second child who handed on fur maggot. As I know, the cherry had so many fur maggots until its fruit tasted so sweet.

“Come on, Abang. Let’s cut the cherry off,” asked Imah in the little panic situation. (Abang which the calling for wife to her husband)

“Don’t! Too many happening we passed around the tree. Too much memory is saved on it. You know we have no daily record that can perpetuate every memory of ours. But, in each time the tree’s leaf signs the happening to the happening that we have been trough long time ago.”

“I don’t know, what else disaster of the damn tree is brought about.”

“Imah, you don’t understand anything, the cherry tree for me, and it should be for you too, is same meaning with the book of history. You stare at its leaf one by one, what kind of history that you don’t find at there? Even there is fallen leafs, but, the new leafs will be immediately grow up. At those leafs, the new history of our life is written.”

“Abang, you are crazy! You are already slaved by the useless tree. You are too much emphasize something useless until ignore the difficulty that can appeared by the tree.”

“You are wrong to understand, Imah. To me, the difficulties that appear are not because of the tree. In the contrary, we are the one who careless. We are not enough to pay good attention to Fais and Arumi. We better be careful.”

Finally, Imah was silent. Her eyes were little turned to red. It has guessed, she must been crying. Yes, the most difficult attitude to left by Imah was obsessed, too soon to be sad. Otherwise, in the household’s life, the requests that haven’t granted or skimmed with the others consideration constitute as just the usual thing. But, at another time, exactly the husband asked to his wife in order to the wife to give in.
***

Usually, the discussion that connected with the existence of the cherry happened when there were some happened incidents. Since the incident occurred to Arumi, at least five months ago, there were almost no more fighting between us. Although the fallen leafs was same heavy fell alike the days before. Imah wiped it off with the feeling seen little calm. She didn’t have much more protest. I was so happy, because I could collect again each memory that we were ever doing at the veranda.

Like usual, I leaned my self on the tree while I was smoking cigarette more than ten over and over. I was also enjoying the breezy wind. If Imah finished packing the rest of dinner, she came to me. We were talking. We were joking while we laughed alike ticklish if we memorized the funny stories. That was the habitual activity that we never passed it since the beginning we married. Until we had two children that they were grew to their adults.

The cherry tree at veranda felt alike more intimate with my life. I don’t know, she didn’t really be able to enjoy the implication meaning from the existence of the tree. Imah was staring at it more to the something that coincident. Yes, the cherry was being coincident at there and we used it to lean one another and told the story about many problem. Sometime, I also felt obsessed, why was my wife’s understanding being so shallow about philosophy idioms from the universe?

Since the coming of my father in law and my little brother in law into our house few weeks ago, problem of the cherry tree came out again into the discussion. My joblessness little brother in law, even though he graduated his bachelor in accountant faculty, it was not indeed so relating too much to the tree. Even though he already made me nervous enough because of his life that similar like bat: slept at noon and roamed at night.

But, the main point was about my own father in law. Since his coming for the first time, had already seen the indication that he liked the cherry tree very much. Even less, what was being coincident, his room was very close from the tree. Each time after eat, lunch or even dinner, he was certainly sitting also lean his self on the tree that I was really yearning on it.

“Imah, please tell to father to do not sit and lean on the cherry tree,” I said when I was beginning to be angry.

“But, how could it be, husband. Where else father will sit to relax if not at there,” Imah replied with low voice.

“Just tell him to watch the TV. There is rocking chair over there. It is very jibe for the old man at his age.”

“Aaa….how can I be possible to force him.”
“You can, if you want to.”
“Or, you don’t like to father’s attending in this house.”
“No, I like it. Who told you that I don’t like his coming? You better don’t mix up its problem. The one whom I dislike is just his activities that take by forced my calamity at that cherry tree!”

Imah didn’t reply anymore. I was being dumb. The night went so far. My mind was keep walking silently. I was thinking about the best tactics to be able to implant the understanding to my father in law in order to do not lean on the tree. If I told him that the cherry tree kept a lot of thing about our marriage and the life of our family, he obviously wouldn’t surrender just like that. There was nothing of the memory for the man at his age meant for. If I said to him that the tree had a lot of fur maggot, after all I had never felt to be afraid to sit and lean on at there for long enough.
***

It was almost completely a month; Imah’s father was in the middle of our family. I preferred to be more speechless. I felt like my happiness was also token by forced since the cherry tree was already under his authority. The happy days that I usual spent together with Imah under the tree, it won’t never repeated again. I was really united with the tree. Imagine this, the tree was more than ten years become the witness of history. How united as if just one between my heart and her heart.

My mind became different that time. It changed. If it been like this continuously, I wouldn’t stand anymore. I had to take an action. I changed my mind. How very much memory kept on it. How very the happy days I spent a lot together with Imah under it. How very much the record was scratched abstractly on its leaf. I didn’t care anymore. I had strong willing to just cut the tree off.

When the purpose of cut the tree off I told to Imah, my wife didn’t talk much. She had seen in difficult choice. If she defended his own father then as the result was her husband would be overshadowed by her father. On the contrary, if too much sided with her husband, how could be skim the place of natural father whom had lost his wife long time ago. Definitely, Imah loved to both: that was me and father.

“Are there other else way?” Imah’s sound inspired pity. Truly, she wanted to be begged to the cutting off of the cherry tree was cancelled. I could read something implicitly in her heart.

“What you mean?” I shocked for awhile.
“I mean, we think about the best way out from this problem. My father certainly will be offended if the cherry tree is cut off, he is beginning to feel like at own home.”

“You should give understanding to him. That the cherry tree can’t be leaned arbitrarily by some one else unless the man that ever been intimate with him. Yes, we can say the person is I and you.”

“I don’t capable, Bang. Whatever the reason that is, my father must be offended. What is a cherry tree in our life mean for, than father’s life it self.” (Bang is the short form of Abang)

“Yes, I had lost the freedom and calamity. Father is token it.”
“Abang! How if your words is heard by my father? Certainly, he will leave this house.” My wife replied it fast.
***

I was just being silent. I felt like there were clashed inside of my heart. Imah could be right. But my conviction to the past reasons about the existence of the cherry tree, made me didn’t care about Imah’s estimation.

“Bang, how if we planted another else tree of cherry at left corner of the veranda,” suddenly Imah’s sound was slower. Her idea made me surprise too. Between trusted on it and didn’t. How could be possible to wait for the cherry tree that its height was only a span of fingers to grew and bigger until it deserved to lean on.

“Shall we, let’s just plant it, Bang. The young cherry tree is alike empty paper that isn’t striped anything yet by memory and the history of our life. Let’s just assumed that the first cherry as the first book from our life.”

“You mean the first book is finish, isn’t it?” I interrupted.
“Yes, yes. Let the finished book become belong to the father only. Do you agree?”

I was back to being silent. How it possible, the cherry tree was that replete with our life could take over of its ownership to someone else? While, the young cherry tree that it would plant felt so slow to be grew. Where else I leaned my self on and enjoyed the rhyme of life freely?

No! No, I was not so sure that the thing like that I could receive in an opened of mind manner. My heart still rebelled. The ownership of the cherry tree that it was getting older was not just about the enjoyment to lean the body on it. But, the historical value that I couldn’t ignore it just like that.
***

All night long, Imah keep persuaded me. Her point was, in order I just allowed the cherry tree be belong my father in law. I was really placing between two options that it was so complicated. I allowed it, had deep meaning that more than a half of the history of our life had erased. I didn’t allowed it, had the same meaning with asked to a man that my own wife love him so much to leave away.

At last, I subjected to Imah’s wiling.
“Well Imah, I allowed the cherry tree for father. According to me, the age of the cherry tree certainly will much longer than father’s age. Your father is old,” the sound felt so slow to flow above the bed as the place for us to sleep.

Imah nodded as the sign of agreement.
The night became so cold because of very heavy rain, made me forget on the fate of cherry tree that changed directions and vacillated by the wind of the night. I didn’t really know about its fallen leafs that washed away more than tens, hundreds even thousands memory that striped implicit on its surface.

At the next morning, I got something that I never been guessed it. In fact, the age of the cherry tree was much shorter than the age of my father in law. I was placing between hesitation and happiness that I had never answered for certain.

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