Troy had planted me on his fifth birthday, a gift from his parents. He came to live in this garden house, with his parents many summers ago. I grew up along with him. He nurtured me with love and care, with smiles and kisses, with lullabies and poems , very soon I grew into tall huge fig tree, with massive branches spreading far and wide.
Troy and I were soul brothers, He would talk to me, play with me, and would even share his secrets with me.
In college, he fell in love with a pretty girl named Sera. He brought her over to meet me, saying, though I looked bigger, I was his little brother, that was a proud moment for me.
Sera would often visit him, and they would sit for hours in the garden hugging, kissing, and whispering in each other's ears. They made a lovely pair and looked so happy and content.
However, their happiness did not last long, tragedy soon struck them. On his way to college Troy met with an accident, and was killed instantly. Troy's parents never recovered from this shock. Their life was empty and barren without their only son.
The heartbroken parents decided to move away from this place, as everything here reminded them of Troy. Especially me.
Before they moved, Sera came over to wish them goodbye.
I couldn't stop my tears when I saw them hugging each other and crying over their loss. That was the first time I wept. Troy would always have a special place in my heart.
The next family to move in was a young couple, Jacob and Nancy, along with their golden retriever 'Romeo', he came in as a small pup, and within months grew into a huge golden ball of fur. He practically lived on my lower branches, and would be running around, barking at everything that moved, chasing the squirrels and birds, once he nearly fractured his hind limbs, jumping off my branches
I formed a strong bond with Romeo. I had a feeling he knew I was watching him, and always wagged his tail when he came towards me. Romeo was constantly hungry, though Nancy was a good mother to him, always feeding him, but Romeo was never satiated.
Nancy and Jacob were childless and were desperately trying to have a baby, but nothing seemed to work for them, ultimately they gave up. One fine day Jacob left home never to return, he had found a new love, and wanted a divorce. Nancy was devastated, as if her world came to an end. With Jacob gone from her life, she had nothing to look forward to.
She would sit for hours beside me, and cry her eyes out, Romeo too lost all his zest, and would wander all day round looking sad and lonely.
A few days later, Nancy's parents came over, they were sad to see their daughter's condition, they returned home taking Nancy and Romeo along with them. I was sad to see them go, but happy for Nancy, as she wouldn't be alone anymore.
For many days the place was vacant, and I was desperate for another human company.
Mrs Darcy was the next occupant of the place. She lived alone with lots of books for company. She placed a huge armchair below my branches and would sit there reading her favourite books.
I felt sorry for her, she was in her late seventies, and lived alone. No relatives or friends came to visit her nor did she leave the place. Every Sunday, a Pastor from the local church would come to visit her as she was unable to attend the church services, they would sit under my cool shade and chat for hours, discussing God and the Bible.
Mrs Darcy had fixed schedules for everything. She would wake up at sunrise and go to bed at sunset.
In the evening when sun was less harsh, she would come out with her books, and sit on her armchair, enjoying the gentle breeze reading her favourite novels.
One Friday evening, a year after she had moved in, I failed to see Mrs Darcy in her favourite armchair, reading her book. I thought, she might be busy, and didn't think anything was wrong. Throughout Saturday there was no sign of her, and I began to worry.
Sunday morning the Pastor came to visit her, but Mrs Darcy didn't answer the door. Worried he called the local sheriff, who came and broke open the door .They found her in her bed; it seemed she had died in her sleep.
After Mrs Darcy, for many years no one came to live in the house. I longed for some company, of course there were birds and animals around me, but I needed some human contact.
One morning I saw a huge truck followed by a family car enter the premises.Two young boys jumped from the truck, they were bouncy young teenagers, and very agile.
They ran around the house, climbed all over me, often hanging from my branches .
Their parents were in their fifties, a sweet gentle couple very much in love.
The boys were Drew and Dan, who were studying in college, Dan was the younger one; he reminded me of Troy, my soul brother.
The family settled in and were indeed a sight for sore eyes, The brothers were very much in tandem. I rarely saw them quarreling, both were very respectful towards their parents, but naughty to the core. Dan built a tree house on my branches, and practically lived there. I too enjoyed his company and also the music which would be blaring from his speakers.
It seemed this family was here to stay. The boys soon went away to attend their respective universities, occasionally visiting their parents, after graduation they found a job and settled in the city.
Years passed, Drew and Dan married and had children of their own. They loved to visit their grandparents during vacations. The kids would be playing in the tree house, swinging from my branches or just resting in my shade. I was happy to see the kids and enjoyed their company.
Dan lost his wife after a few years of marriage, he and his sons moved back in with his parents.
The grandparents enjoyed having the grand kids around .The house was noisy and lively again, filled with aromas of happiness and joy.
A few years later, Dan's parents both died, but Dan continued to live here. His sons left home for greener pastures, and never returned.
Dan is in his eighties now. I know he misses his children, but they are so busy they don't have time to visit him.
Today, I am celebrating my 75th birthday with my companion and soul brother Dan.
So many seasons have passed, and I was testimony to so many beautiful lives which passed on under my shadow. The lives which touched me in one way or another, and I pray for their happiness wherever they are. I'm sure I would be meeting many more wonderful people, for years to come....