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last tree standing

The wind blows faster than ever. There is a tempest in progress. The rustling of the leaves is replaced by a low droning howl as the wind echoes with a latent fury. The clanging of the window necessitates a walk towards it. He approaches it warily, fearing for his life. There is no one to attack him. Only a clanging window that echoes the wind.

He reaches the window sill and risks a glance outwards. It is a barren landscape with its one distinguishing feature. The banyan tree. It stands tall and wide where others have failed. Survival instincts honed by generations gave that seed the willpower to develop thus far. It has weathered many a storm. The sounds of distant thunder grow ominous. Some of it is man made. He looks at the tree willing it for strength. The wind in the leaves continues with its dull rendition of Mahlers symphony.

He had always had a soft touch towards the music of the legends. Circumstances had pushed life in unsolicited arms and the russian roulette that followed had not gone as planned. Fourteen years and some, such was the passage of time. The lights came on and the familiar flashback was upon him again.

Darkness dawned to light and thunder faded to the melody of spring. The swing attached to the lower branch of the tree moved faster and faster. The child upon it was a happy one, looking towards the lady behind, searching for her maternal instincts to come to the fore. He watched now, as he did then.

Oh - that he could but change one little twist in the tale. But nature gives and takes as it chooses. It cares very little for the plans of men. He is in a dark mood aptly reflective of the season. The cross under the tree calms him as his hands move towards his required dose of intoxication. He will not be denied that - not today, not ever. It is his destiny to live single.

The veil lifts from her face. She would have celebrated her fortieth birthing day and the little one would have stepped into adulthood. her eyes filled with a mystic energy had always captivated him. It was those eyes which had been the ultimate downfall too. They were expressive eyes not designed for clandestine overtures. Those eyes had told him when love began. They kept him abreast of her moods as rapture settled down to a life of peace. Those orbs had glowed with fear when he asked if something was wrong. Then he knew that love had gone.

He tried to ignite the passions within, but the embers had dulled. So he turned to his drink - the mistress without questions. It came to pass that nature took its toll and the little one escaped the pain. The last bond broken - she vanished one night. She never came back and he did not search - knowing that the results would be the same. But she took with her - his breath of life. The shoulders of friends lessened over a period of time and now he lived in solace.

It was not a grand residence by local standards, but he maintained it well. A visitor would always find food and shelter. But he did not invite anyone here. The royalties from his works kept the hearth warm - but he was grayed charcoal within. The melancholy that had set in, bound him to the winter chill.

So - a knock on the door, at this time. Well, it was a surprise.

(to be contd...)

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