One Incident in the Past

IMG_0558Talk about high school. What does one remember about it? I don’t put mine in the class of the Very Significant, or the Very Memorable. Others recall theirs with sadness or with joy; mine with the lesson that it has brought me.

That noon time of my last year in high school was just like other noon times of my life. I was sitting there under a kaymito tree behind the school library. It was no ordinary tree, as far as I am concerned, for it was the biggest, the tallest, and perhaps the oldest kaymito tree in the whole village. Its crown had withstood many tropical storms of history. Nobody ever thought of cutting it down even to give way to the walls being built around the school’s property. For that tree was part of the will on the property deeded to the school.  And so it stayed.

And so I also stayed. Hiding behind the lowest branch that stooped like an arch, I sat under it. I was there munching the ripe fruits that I could lay my hands on. It was the best lunch I had ever had, since nobody was watching, and nobody saw what I was doing. Or so I thought.

Except that I heard some steps. Someone grabbed me from behind, and pushed me to the ground. There he was: the teacher of my terrifying dreams. Playing the role of safe keeper of the olden kaymito.

What followed was the usual. This was not my first time to be brought to the office of the principal. I was his greatest quarry, the top guy of the graduating class, caught with his pants down.

Never mind if the principal had forgiven me. Never mind if I only got a warning. The principal understood the plight of the poor, he having been a poor scholar himself subsisting on the fruits of the tree he had never planted. He knew that the only lunch I could get in those days of poverty was kaymitos. He forgave me. But the safe keeper of the olden kaymito did not.

In the years that followed I became a searcher of truth. I searched for the meanings of want and bounty, why some people had it more while others had none. In my search for truth, I also found God. As a  minister of the  gospel, I also understood why people acted so and so.

I had been back to the village school one time. The safe keeper of the kaymito was at his yard, stooped by years of service. The principal was not, for I saw his tomb that day. But he made it known to all before he left, that no one should ever be denied of the fruits of any tree in the school grounds, especially if he is hungry.

The safe keeper of the kaymito understood it too late.

But now he was smiling at me.

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