Write Tribe : The Last Day of a Southern Summer

Write tribe Jacaranda story
Write Tribe Contest

This is in response to a contest at Write Tribe. I’m a little late to the party, cos today is the last day the linky list is open, but I have rustled together an entry. The challenge is to write  a piece/a story/ a poem incorporating the following  7 words in random order :   postcard,  coin,  tidy, wild, help, calendar, responsibility.

Here’s my attempt at fiction:

The Jacaranda Tree
An Old Jacaranda Tree

Judith’s dead aunt led her there in a dream. Aunt Agatha had a sense of the calendar, of time, the hourglass, and watched and waited for the right moment. Under the  jacaranda growing wild, Judith found coin, not gold, a leather bag of old copper bent out of shape buried deep in the dirt.

On that day the jacaranda shed its blooms carpeting the yard in blue, the blessings of wisdom, and all day long a bird sang in its branches, a bird you could see in flashes of silver, flitting about from branch to branch.

Too old to spend much time with the shovel, Judith sat resting in the shade of the tree, listening to the song, twirling the flowers and tucking them in her hair, dreaming of the mornings she refused to help her aunt tidy up the yard. Having hacked at weeds for a few hours under the sun, Aunt Agatha grew tired. This is when Judith brought out a sweaty pitcher of lemonade, making her aunt smile. They sat sipping under the porch, her aunt murmuring the legends of the Jacaranda tree in her yard, while she listened, dazed in the sun.

Tomorrow she would take the coins to the council, whatever she could carry of them. They were old, at least as old as Aunt Agatha, who was hundred and three when she died, leaving Judith the house, the warren of rabbits, the cats that preferred milk to mice, the betta fish in its bowl. All your responsibility now, Judy, she said the night before, can’t send you postcards from where I’m going.

Judith wanted to close her eyes a little, let the music of silver birdsong take her, her wrinkled skin live a little in the sun on the last day of a Southern summer.

That is how they found Judith the next morning, snuggled under a blue blanket of Jacaranda blossoms, a bag of old coins by her feet. The millions the coins fetched went to the university; the house became its library.

The Jacaranda blooms now fall on opened books and stay pressed inside, travel in the sling bags of young girls, and boys fool around with blooms tucked behind their ears. The yard has become a garden and rings with their laughter, and an occasional birdsong.

Nothing remains of Judith, or Aunt Agatha. The library plaque with their names is long gone, and no one thought to replace it.

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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  1. Paul

    This was kind of a soothing story, Damyanti. The softly delivered words and the pleasant image of the jacaranda’s colour probably have something to do with that. I feel like obtaining a jacaranda blanket for my own bed now 🙂 I think I would sleep well. You also seem to be mourning (don’t we all) the passage of time, i.e., life, and maybe even expressing a fear (having lived on this planet) of one day being gone without a trace, like so many faceless billions before us. It’s true, this story does have a melancholy touch, but it suggests hope, as well, of rebirth and continuation. Aunt Agatha and Judith are with the faceless in one way, but not in another, as a university has come about because of them. Their trace continues in all directions in the form of Jacaranda blooms hidden in sling bags and books. Maybe this is why some of us feel so strongly compelled to write and also leave a trace.

  2. Lynda

    Lovely and believable. Having lived with Jacarandas I could see her blue blanket perfectly. I miss them where I live now. It just gets too cold for them here.
    Thank you for visiting me today!

  3. Veena

    I like the way you write, I like this story, but why haven’t we heard more from you? And heard more about you?
    Thanks for liking a couple of my posts on indiblogger which is how I discovered your lovely blog and now I am following it.
    Hope you like my blog and I would love it if you drop in to comment once in a while!

  4. troy P.

    Wonderfully written in a way that drew me in to the point where I could literally hear Auntie say “can’t send you postcards from where I’m going.”

  5. Easwar Arumugam

    That’s nice story beautifully narrated. Though we know the two characters briefly, they leave a mark in our mind because of the power of narration.

  6. araneus1

    OK………. that was really good…… i read it on a sunny winter’s day……. in case you were wondering.
    Nicely done.

  7. Kalpana Solsi

    Very interesting and touching story. The blooming jaracanda tree is a reminder of Judith and Aunt Agatha.

  8. Debbie

    That was a very interesting story. I was hooked from beginning to end. 🙂 There’s an underlying sense of melancholy that permeates throughout.