He tells her to donate the leg to someone in the church, someone who cannot afford to buy their own. Sitting in the tree’s shade he remarks, “Sometimes I think she doesn’t listen. When the time comes, remind her that I will be whole again.”
He leans towards me and says, “If none of that is true, I want to return as the lime tree.”
After he died, I felt his presence most keenly by the tree. When he sent me to pick limes he used to tell me, “The first tree you plant when you move to a new house is a lime tree. If you have sugar and you have limes, you will always have something to drink.” He forgot to add that you need water too.
After the doctors removed his leg, he spent most of his days sitting beneath the tree. There he read his Bible and communed with Nature. He talked to the tree as much as he talked to his roses. In its shade, my grandfather and I kept one another company. The morning he confided that maybe there was no Christian afterlife, I was surprised. Faced with the possibility of death, he returned to beliefs and people I knew nothing about. Under the tree, he spoke of Buddhism and a belief that withered under indentured servitude in the cane fields. While those around me said I was an oddity and needed to conform, he revealed this unknown system: “Just live a good life.”
Sadly, she buried him with the wooden leg.
California-based artist/story-teller 2010-present.
Jamaica born and raised.
Am an artist and naturalist, working in multiple forms. Much of my work is inspired by nature, folklore, fairy-tales, and history. I am currently working on a series of fairy tales called, “The Silent Hare.” It is an ongoing project that is based on folklore and real-life stories from old Jamaica, a Jamaica of 100 and more years ago.