Grandma's garden

On a warm evening, the whole family was gathered in the living room. The smell of atay (Moroccan tea) and pastries were felt in the environment. Everyone was fully engaged in a conversation. Laughter, jokes, and chats were mixed to create a ruffled but comforting atmosphere. A single person caught my attention, my grandmother. She was the only one who wasn't talking, sitting there in her usual armchair she stared at three generations of people that she raised, and protected. I looked at her I felt admiration. I realized that she was the reason for all the joy that filled the room. Our eyes met, and she stood up and told me to come with her. We got out of all that fuss and started walking through the garden trees. “How are you doing, sunshine?” She asked. “I'm really good, ‘Ma” I answered. She seemed to know everything about me and understand me in every way. It was like an ethereal connection. She asked for my opinion bout the trees: “They are beautiful." And they truly were, a variety of trees and plants of all types surrounded us. Vines wrapped around the garden fences. Flowers of all colors and trees that gave off assorted fruits. It was almost mesmerizing. I've been here a hundred times and I still admire it as I did for the first time.'Ma took a small bag out of her pocket and handed it to me. It was a little seed, as small as a pea. She somehow guessed my thoughts and said: “You may think that this small thing means nothing, but thanks to it now have everything you see around. This seed comes from the oldest tree in the garden." One year after, 2020, we were in the middle of a pandemic. COVID-19 was taking over the world. Millions of people were suffering from a microscopic virus. But I wasn't surprised, as I learned the year before, one small thing can cause a lot. Families were being torn apart because of health and economic problems. And one of those was mine, my people. As soon as the lockdown started Grandma fell ill. She probably got covid in the souk where she used to go every Sunday. Since that moment, there were no more family reunions and no more evenings in the Riad. I won't lie, I still had some hope, I believed that things were going to go back to normal. Until one day we received a call. Grandma could not bear the disease any longer and passed away on a very rainy morning. I like to think that all that rain that flooded the plants was a sign of her overflowing love. My eyes were flooded too, tears began to blur my vision. Suddenly I felt that the whole atmosphere changed. What if nothing remains the same from now on? I didn't want to miss her, I wasn't prepared. I was especially afraid of missing her very badly because when you miss people intensely, beautiful memories wear out. Six months later, the lockdown was over. The first thing we did was visit our grandmother's house. Can't lie, I was nervous, I hesitated when I had to open the door. I don´t know why. Maybe because I was afraid of seeing something different and because it was going to be the first time that I wouldn't see her when the door opens. My fears came true. Apart from the house being empty, the garden looked so different. The fountain was no longer pouring out water. The floor was dirty. The flowers withered. The fruits on the trees rotted. And the vines dried up and weakened. I looked for the little seed that we planted. Thanks to the care of my grandmother, it had gone from being a tiny thing to becoming a tree of about a meter. But I could tell, that the tree also missed Grandma. Its leaves were dry and the soil in which it was planted was begging for water. The branches were bent down, almost as if they were trying to tell us that the tree was sad too. That things were no longer as they were before. I felt again that sensation that I hate so much, my eyes filling with tears and my throat burning from the inside. As if my body was preparing to flood and set everything on fire at the same time. But dad hugged me while he said: “Nothing in here is over. It just needs love and we're going to fix it.” At that moment I understood. All the things that ‘Ma did for us meant that she was placing little pieces of herself in all the things that she appreciated: her family, her garden, her neighbors. She was everywhere. I wasn't feeling hopeless anymore. What's more, I knew exactly what we had to do. I managed to reunite all the family again. We cleaned the place, fixed the fountain, and did a great gardening job. When everything seemed more alive again we made a delicious CousCous and shared it with the whole neighborhood. Now, I'm sitting under the cherry tree we planted four years ago. I wanted to share with you this story and tell you that I don't think you'll ever die in the heart of whom you love. Because every time we love, we give a piece of our soul.

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