The last time I saw that tree was twenty years ago when I was still in elementary school. I visited the old school today and found the tree still standing there, just outside the fence, within the church grounds. I never knew the name of that tree; what kind it is. I never asked anyone about it. I was still, of course, too young to care about trees or to wonder about them. I took them for granted. This morning, there wasn’t anybody there whom I could ask about that tree.
Back then, I saw it as a very tall tree. We would play catch or battle with water pistols around it during recess or after dismissal. Few of us had the courage to climb its scarred trunk. Now, it looked so small and non-intimidating. I could jump and easily reach its top-most branches.
After our classes, we would race out of the school gate and buy trump cards. We would compare our collection of Marvel superheroes and see which mutant was the most powerful and skillful. To this day, I can still remember the smell of those cards. The vendors would wait for us under that tree, together with our parents.
The tree has lesser leaves now. I don’t know if it blooms or sheds its leaves and flowers according to the seasons. Today, it looked balder and more ancient.
Under that tree, too, I remember telling my mother this one fine morning: “Mommy, you know what? I am classmates with the most beautiful girl in the whole world.” This girl eventually married my best friend.