This tree is the first thing I see when I walk out of my apartment in Putney and it serves as a marker to me.
When I first moved in, the tree was full of leaves and I remember telling myself that it's going to be a great year. Both Algirdas and I went through so much to secure this place. We had to find two guarantors from a certain income level before we could rent this place and it was really difficult to find one, much less two guarantors. I remember being so stressed about the entire housing ordeal that I alighted from the bus and called someone just to cry.
On Hari Raya Haji, I noticed that the leaves have started to turn yellow. It was the start of Autumn but my heart felt like it was Spring because X was in London.
A month later, I was waiting for my cab to arrive at 2.30AM to drive me to the airport when I realized that the leaves have started to fall. The air was crisp and it was pitch dark but there was light in me because I was about 4 hours away from seeing X!!! Algirdas was incredibly sweet to have waited up for me to leave before he went to bed. Life was good. Work was good. Finances were good. All was well.
I came back to London a week later and I found the ground littered with autumn leaves. A few days later, the leaves have all descended. Life threw a curveball at me and I, too, withered like this waning tree. There was no more light in me, it was neither Spring nor Autumn everywhere- it was bleak, bleak Winter.
Maybe this was what Schubert went through when he wrote Winterreise.
Last Monday, I finally went back to my apartment after three weeks to prepare for my move. I did my last Zuhr there, bawled my eyes out and felt so much lighter after that as if I just destroyed a horcrux.
The sun's rare gift of Spring in the middle of December somehow made it easier for me to pack my stuff and leave this apartment, and the memories, for good.