Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1750697-The-Queen-of-the-Cashew-Tree
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1750697
A lonely girl waits for her father to be taken away to her family
The Queen in the Cashew Tree

                                                          The girl surveyed her surroundings. She saw only the leaves and her vision was obstructed by them. She let a relieved sigh and turned to observe the thing in her hand. It was a beautiful butterfly with green and black stripes with a blue tinge on it’s wings. Extraordinarily beautiful colors. But it was half dead or maimed; one of the wings was torn and she knew that it couldn’t fly  any more. It will be a victim to a lizard or a king fisher who come to rest on the tree until it could identify a fish from the nearby stream. It’s survival depended on a kind soul like her who will keep it in a safe place until it can die peacefully without being eaten alive by a predator. She kept it on the surface of a big cashew leaf and looked about her again. Nobody can see her, but like a sniper, she  observed the entire area without been seen.
                                                          The house , she lived with her grandparents  can be seen not far away from where she was perched. She could see her ‘achchi’ sweeping the compound. Half bent with her age and the hardships she had to face, she was still active to look after her husband-the girl’s grandfather and the girl. Very industrious woman she was. Rearing chicken for eggs and she made the girl take them to a house where they are bought sixty cents a dozen. It was a very little money but it was saved with extreme care and caution to be used in an emergency. On the other hand, her grandfather was a simple man who spent his earnings on sweets and meat during weekends. On Sundays, he would go to the bazaar and would buy pork and beef to the resentment of her grandmother because she had to cook several times since grandfather did not bring food at one time. So normally on Sundays the girl feasted .There would be meat and an extra egg  to enjoy with to appreciate her long walk to the egg seller and grandfather’s favorite-boiled manioc with anguna kola salad . Since she is the only child in the house, the rich and tasty portions would be piled high on her plate. After the heavy lunch she would venture into the small plot of land and would climb the cashew tree- her favorite hiding place. Once they owned this pot of land but they had to sell this to a person in the same village to settle some debts. The owner didn’t need to visit this place other than using it as a future investment where the prices of land are flying high. Therefore, she could go into hiding again.
                                                            She came away from her chain of thoughts and looked at the butterfly again. It was trying to flap its broken wing to be borne away into the free sky but failed. It seemed that even the butterfly did not want to stay with her. She remembered how it was in her school. She had no friends as she had no money for sweets or toffees. Even the few friends she had were like her who couldn’t afford any money on their own to spend for extra delicacies. When her father visited her once in blue moon, he would give her a fifty cent or one rupee coin which allowed her to wallow in a bag of toffees. But then it was gone and came the drought of sweets from which she suffered a lot. Even the remembering of sweets made her mouth water and she craned her neck to see whether her father was coming. This time she would request so many things from him. In addition, she had to remind him that she is not a little girl any more. She had expressed her desire to go to the same school where her other two sisters were going; but her father had refused her request saying that the school had no facilities for her subjects and it is better for her to stay in her school. Moreover, she wanted to sleep near her mother. She missed her mother’s warmth and smell of her hair, which reminds her of a flower grown in her home garden. Father had promised that if her grades were good, he would consider her request. However, she knew that he was postponing it to a future date so then she would forget her requests in time. She missed her playmates –her two sisters. How they used to play in the past! She was amused thinking her little sister who deeply loved animals: specially  cats and dogs and how it made her mother angry because she used to keep a mongrel cat in her bed wrapping it with her bed sheet  until only a little head can be seen. In her sister’s make-believe world, cats were her companions, patients, friends, and neighbors. Whatever role was assumed to her she came with one of her cats. She had peculiar names for them too.”Blackezi Kudamma" was her favorite cat. Wearing a saree from her bed sheet, she came to the hut where they used to play with her dirty cat, stroking it’s head and crooning to it. She has started a dialogue with her cat and they had to wait until she finished, to continue the play. Usually she was the one with the patient, the cat always being the patient. The girl reluctantly examined the patient because it was filthy, otherwise her younger sister will get angry for not examining her patient properly. 
                                                                          Will there be another time like that? Because she had heard her father say that he was thinking of sending her to a boarding school where she can be prepared for learning medicine. How boring! For the moment, she needed nothing else other than being with her parents. How her father did not try to understand her! He didn’t understand that parental love is more precious to a child than all the other material comforts. She again took a peep from her hiding place to see whether her father was coming that way. He had sent a letter to her grandmother saying that he would be coming to see his daughter if nothing important delayed him.Involuntarily she looked at the sky. Its splendor was gone and it was replaced with a pale hue of yellow color. Her waiting seemed to be in vain. May be her father had more important work other than visiting his own daughter. But she knew in her heart that she was becoming unfair because the long drought had destroyed all the crops he had planted and she had listened to the conversation between their grandparents showing concern over their family, Who lived far away from the city.
                                      Sometimes he might have found it difficult to save money for the long journey. He gives money to her grandparents for her keep since they were unable to bear all the expenses for her schooling, clothes and medicine. She was a victim of asthma and was subjected to long periods of suffering and only recently, she was able to relieve her condition when there were spells of wheezing.
                                      Her vision was aimed at the butterfly who tried to shake its maimed wing as if trying to fly away. She tenderly gathered it into her arms and climbed down the tree very carefully not to hurt it any more. She would give it solace in her room, away from all the dangers until it can die peacefully. She would come to the cashew tree again where she can rule over others in her imaginary world.

Manioc- a yam
Angunakola- a bitter leaf eaten raw as a salad , mixing it with scraped coconut

(Word count-1303)

© Copyright 2011 CREEK (creek at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1750697-The-Queen-of-the-Cashew-Tree