I was eight-years-old, perhaps nine, and convinced that my entire world would end if I didn’t make a new slingshot. I got out of bed before the sun, fed the chickens, picked any fruit that had fallen overnight, brush my teeth, drank my tea, grabbed a machete and walked to the woods.
The perfect y-shaped branch was at the top of a guava tree. I climbed the tree, chopped off what I needed and went to find my grandmother. She usually smoked her pipe by the edge of the woods as she waited for breakfast to be cooked. It would be nice to sit by her in silence, shaping the base of my new slingshot, while she smoked.
“Magaly!” My grandmother took the pipe out of her mouth with one hand. The other hand was over her heart.
She looked so scared that I turned slowly to see what was behind me. I expected a wild animal or something worse. But there was nothing, so I said, “I’m making a slingshot,” and felt a bit dumb. I mean, what else was there to say?
“It’s Good Friday,” my grandmother said. Her voice was thick with hurt.
I dropped the machete and the branch. And I began to cry.
You see, my Wicked Luvs, my grandmother was a Caribbean Catholic witchy woman. For those who don’t understand what that means, let’s just say that her Saints were rather witchy and she had a lot of respect for Jesus Christ and his mother. One of her beliefs suggested that if a person cut a tree on Good Friday, the tree would bleed for the Christ.
I felt terrible. And I suspect my grandmother felt worse. We walked to the guava tree together. She made me apologize. I suggested burying the branch, but my grandmother said we shouldn’t spear the ground on such a day.
“We’ll plant it tomorrow,” she said.
We did that. And the little guava plant survived. The fence I built around it, and all the fertilizer I made sure it got might have helped.
You’re probably thinking that I’m sharing this with you because it’s Good Friday. Well, yes and no. *sigh* I’ve been in a lot of pain. Not an excuse, I know, but the ache was a factor—I was so very distracted. I was frustrated. And I wanted to do something to take my mind off the pain.
So… I did some gardening. One of my plants caught a pest and I couldn’t save it. I uprooted it and threw it out. I didn’t realize what I had done until I visited my friend Rommy’s Facebook profile and read something she said about Good Friday. I hope my grandmother is not too disappointed.
“Mamá, if you’re reading this (I expect inhabitants of the Summerlands can read all languages, right?)… Anyway, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I truly am. I dug the root of the sick plant out of the trash. I washed it and put it in some water. I’ll replant it tomorrow, love it a lot and hope it survives. If it doesn’t… well, I’ll go from there. As of right now, know that I bled for it—like you did on the day of my slingshot, so that the guava tree and the Christ didn’t have to pay for trespasses that weren’t theirs… but your silly grandchild’s.”