On homecoming to Vancouver I find the little tree in sorry state. Once again I apologize for my absence and neglect, and set to tending her. I borrow pruning shears from my neighbour, kneel before the little tree, and amputate the most crusted branches, knowing new ones will sprout at the stumps. Then I set to work with rag and dish soap, gently cleaningÂ each leaf and stem. It takes a couple of hours but when I am done she stands shiny and straight.Â I scratch a glossy leaf with my nail and the clean tang of citrus fills my nose.
Pablo planted this tree from a seed oh so many years ago. He gave it to me when he went away. When I clean the the little lemon tree I think of beautiful Pablo and his sticky tears.