I Am a Mango Tree
As a tree that bears fruits that people love to eat, I enjoy seeing their faces when they taste my sweet products. The first time I was planted, I had a rough time growing up due to the high level of soil acidity. However, nature itself corrected this by dropping things on the ground that improved the soil’s alkalinity. Since then, I knew my destiny of seeing families start and grow with and through me.
The woman who planted me was Josie and her daughter was Ingrid, an active tomboyish girl. Ingrid had many female cousins yet she played with the male ones the most. She hated the things and games girls played, “so boring and repetitive, while boys get to have exciting toys and play adventurous activities.” While doing the laundry, Ingrid asked her mother “why” one day, “why men had numerous advantages than women.” She was 10 years old. Unable to answer such a complex question, Josie advised Ingrid to ask her father instead. The next day, Robert was reading the newspaper when Ingrid posed the same question. When he asked why she thought about this, she explained the differences in toys and games as well as social treatment. Robert smiled and told his daughter, she could be anyone she wanted to be whatever her gender was. Ingrid then started playing with boys, climbing me fearlessly and getting to the topmost biggest branches to get my sweetest fruits. How I loved her spirit and strength!
By the time Ingrid finished high school, she was sent away to finish college where she decided to become a biologist, the first woman to do so in her community. Josie told her the career she wanted may result in her never ever getting married and having children for it was demanding and had long hours of laboratory and field work. Ingrid smiled and said, “My only dream is to study living things and nothing else.” I beamed with pride. She read many books underneath my crown. I protected her from the heat and even wished I could shoo away the men who bothered her when she was busy writing. Unknown to Ingrid, she was growing up to be a very striking woman with dark brown hair. One day, she touched my trunk and whispered, “Who is this Matteo, and why does he look at me this way?” Her curiosity touched me, and I knew she felt something for this man.
Matteo and Ingrid spent many months with me, studying and conversing before finally admitting their feelings. Staring at the most beautiful, smartest, nicest woman he had ever known in his life, Matteo touched Ingrid’s hand. She looked at him and Matteo told her how much he loved her. Ingrid smiled but realized he was both the man of her dreams and the man who may hinder her dreams. Motherhood flashed before her and underlined how she had to sacrifice her practice someday. Fearful of a life of unmet personal dreams, she told Matteo that she could not offer him anything in return as she intended to work as a biologist. Heartbroken, Matteo left and never came back. Ingrid wept silently and I wished I could take away her pain.
Already in her mid-30s, Ingrid reached success in her practice and had another chance at love. She found new species of plants, some of which had curing abilities for diverse diseases. Reading her books, she heard a familiar voice. “Hello, Ingrid,” said Matteo. Ingrid looked surprised. They talked about their careers and how Matteo almost got married but he cancelled the wedding after finding out the girl was pregnant with another man. Since then, they saw each other often and soon got married at the age of 38. Seeing them so in love and blissful, I gave them the sweetest fruits on their wedding day.
My life as a mango tree consisted of being there for the families who lived in the house near me. Their joys and pains were all mine too. I realized that I bore sweet fruits because of their love for one another and me. Indeed, it is our love that makes us and our lives extraordinarily sweet.