The Carrot Tree
There was a certain carrot tree that bore the carrot fruit down by the old cathedral on dreary lane, and it was an unusual sight only because carrots are roots and do not grow on trees. I am not fibbing, and those of you who have been there can vouch for me. It is definitely a carrot tree right? A green tree that bore carrot fruit.
I hate carrots, and that is why the sight of long orange fruits hanging on a beautiful green tree gives me the creeps. I remember the days where I would stare at these damn orange things in my rice porridge and eat around them before the voice of my mother would call out saying, “eat your carrots they are good for your eyes”. Then I would stuff them in my mouth, and chew, and chew and chew because I could not and would not swallow. The only problem with this overchewing is that the taste of the blasted carrots would spread all over every inch of that tongue of mine and I would gag. The worse thing was, the taste stuck around even after I had spit the orange mess out into the bin. I hate carrots.
Of course I grew up and left carrots and gagging behind but there would be days I would be happily eating my rice porridge and the sweet stench of orange roots would fill my mouth and I would gag. Yes those orange roots ruined my taste for rice porridge, really.
It was on this rather sunny day, when the sky was blue, and the breeze was cool-enough, yet gentle I visited the old cathedral on dreary lane again. And as I walked into the unkempt garden with the overgrown hedges and the rusty iron fences I began to reminisce on the days where I would run and play hide and seek with the other children. That was oh so long ago. But it was those days where I was really happy, I mean I did not even have to think if I were. It was simple. It was sweet.
This was before the days of the carrot tree, before the carrot tree had sprung up, and I swear it sprung up that one time I spat carrots onto its ground. It was, I recall, during an afternoon tea session, or was it a wedding tea, when I bit into a cake with carrots in it, and chewed and chewed until I gagged and spat it out right there. I’d like to thnk it was my carrot spit that grew into a carrot tree.
I walked around the the stone building, before creeping in quietly the now decrepitated remains of what was a sanctuary. It was a sad sight, the wooden pews, I used to love crouching under were now grayed as it sat covered in dust, the stained glass was dull and stained, and the magnificent organ has been destroyed, its wooden frame slowly devoured by termites as it creaked. The pulpit, or what was now left of it hung over a hill of rotten wood. And as I walked towards the altar to kneel where I used to kneel to savour the bread and wine during communion I felt the strong sense of nothingness. I walked into nothingness, and was walking towards nothingness. I was in the midst of nothingness and it was cold.
I knelt and closed my eyes so I could pull some of what it was back into its centre just so I could fill it with a little bit of life and I sobbed for it. I recalled the choir that spouted out sounds that would lift souls heavenward on its layered wings, and the sounds of laughter and clapping, and people singing and talking. I recalled the old priest, Father John, and his dreary old sermons that would somehow drag on in a boring monotone only to end with a little snap and ring. And the old doxology we used to sing.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below, Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost, Amen.
But as I opened my eyes, the sounds fell into the nothingness. It used to echo, and linger and be carried home in hearts. I sobbed a little for what had happened to it. I sobbed a little because God had left the building and I think I remember why.
I saw the middle-aged widow who pointed at me condescendingly reminding me to be “christianlike”. I remembered the mother who scolded her child, and the sister who cheated and stole. I remembered the man who walked away, and the one who robbed and stole. I remembered all the souls who as they walked into the building weekly with their masks pretending they were none of those people, they would drop their masks as soon as they stepped outside. Soon it was the masks that were in here, not the people. And this masks had their own agendum.
Their masks, their elegant decorations of pretentious self-righteousness. And then they did something strange, these masks took over with a strong sense of selfishness, and they closed their doors even to poor Father John and I think it was then they forgot about God, and so God, He walked out. And slowly after He left, the souls died out, and all that was left were floating masks in a hollow building.
I stood up and walked out to sit upon the rock in the corner of the garden. And I sat and stared. The stone building stood tall, and yet in ruins, once inviting, now hollow, empty, forgotten. I could still hear the people though, as they paid lip service to the virtues in the bible, and I heard them as they preached to one another, only to turn their back and close the doors when someone was in need. I heard them and gagged, like how I used to gag at carrots. They lingered like carrots.