For some reason, I have been continually encountering references to magnolias for the past few days and when I chanced upon an absolutely stunning picture of a magnolia tree in full-bloom in the newspaper today, I thought it was appropriate to post this short short.
Many years later, we were to meet in Central Park. It had been an unusually warm winter and irises the color of the sky just before it turns into night were blooming around us. The newspapers had been pessimistic though, predicting their death if the temperatures were to freeze again – but for the time-being, they were blooming and quite happily so, savoring the unexpected gift of warmth, uncaring of what could lie ahead. I wanted to pluck them – I was about to pluck them – but I kept on looking at Vartika’s hands resting in her lap, as they clasped and unclasped with regularity, clearly decided to be unstill. She had bought cupcakes for me from Magnolia Bakery and even though she had yet to open the box, she kept on talking about the bakery, pronouncing Magnolia as one would pronounce magnificent.
As she talked, her hands unclasping and clasping, the box trembling in her lap, I thought of spring-time and magnolias buds in the quad and how they would try their best to bring their parent trees' skeletal branches to flesh-life again. And yet, no matter how intense their infant beauty, the unflinching innocence of their color, they could not soften the decrepitude of the buildings around them - or assuage the branches' weariness. And by acknowledging so, how tired they had looked only within days of blooming, already resigned to exhausting themselves into nothingness even before they had fully bloomed.
Image courtesy: Brooklyn Street Art