The Burning Tree

The last time my parents fought in front of me was when I was seven years old. It was a Tuesday. I know because my favorite show was on television. Mom said she was going to leave the house. I don’t understand why Dad was so upset; I left the house every day to go to school and play with my friends. She took a large bag full of clothes and went out the front door. Dad followed her and I followed him. I stayed at the door, watching the scene; He took the bag from her hands and threw it at me.

Right there they started shouting. Mom screams, Dad screams, screams there, screams over there. It was nighttime; the lights of some houses went on. I think I saw some neighbors’ faces through the curtains of their rooms.

Mom and Dad were silent: Mrs. Darawan came. It was our neighbor from Thailand; sometimes she came to babysit me. She is a very nice lady and she cooks delicious food. Mom and Dad fell silent and stared at her.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves! Go out late at night, in front of your neighbors and your daughter, to fight for nonsense!” Her fine eyebrows rose so that they were almost part of her black hair.  Her fine eyes became rounded, and her fine lips moved very fast. She was a very fine woman. “If you do not stop fighting, there will be terrible consequences …”

At that moment, lightning struck the apple tree in the corner of the courtyard. The clouds around it were purple. Followed by the beam was the thunder. Mrs. Darawan fell silent and stared at the apple tree; it was burning. Flames and smoke were rising. The leaves and green apples shriveled and transform into black and gray ashes.


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