The bittersweet monologues ; “lemon tree”

The old man shuffled slowly towards the gate of his orchard. The gate was the most intact part of the perimeter but he always made great ceremony of entering the orchard via the gate than the yawning gaps on the once blooming gooseberry hedge. He painfully bent forward and retied the rusted wire on the steel pole to lock the gate into position and trudged towards the first tree. 

His first tree.

His gnarled hands rested against the tree trunk as he remembered the day he had planted this tree. He distinctly remembered that he had not planted a lemon tree. He clearly remembered eating the fruit that had given him the seed that he had planted. In fact he remembered peeling the fruit, taking in the citric scent and biting into the white flesh on the peels to recover as much edible stuff as possible. Sigh.

Out of the sweetness of the fruit he had embarked on a journey to have his own sweet tree and he had chosen the biggest pip as the seed.

He had dug a “good” pit and watered it from the day it was planted. Everyday he had walked to the pit and prayerfully hoped for a green bud. Fourteen days later he was rewarded with a three point bud that signalled the germination of the seed. 

For years as he grew, the old man had tended the tree.

In the seventh year  the tree flowered and showed promise of its first fruit.  The rains watered the tree and cleansed its leaves. The dark green blobs grew and started paling into a yellow colour. Then he had to go to the mountain of manhood. He left his promising tree an adolescent with the promise and hope to find the fruit ripe when he returned as a man.

When he came, for indeed he came, he had survived the initiation camp, he went to the sweet tree and harvested his first fruit. He chose the biggest and most shiny in memory of the tree that had given him the seed that he had planted.

Seated on a rock he replayed the scene of more than eight years ago, he peeled his fruit until all the peels were off. He then split it into half , quartered it and chose the most plump sole portion. His mouth watered as he remembered the orange that had given him that seed that had birthed this tree. Salivation.

He closed his eyes and went on time travel to the eight years past as he put the fruit into his mouth as he bit into the citric skin anticipating to be tantalised by sweet sugary senses spilling onto his tongue….

He remembers the jolting shock as he promptly spit the fruit and opened his eyes.

The fruit, no, the tree, no , the seed had disappointed him. 

The orange fruit was sour.

It had a vinegar taste……

It was a “lemon” tree.

The seed might give you the fruit, but it is more than the seed needed to get good fruit.

The transition  to manhood had gifted him the first fruit of disappointment.

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:17-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬


The old man hobbled away from the tree. Shoulders sunken and eyes misted.

To be continued

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