The Tree of Tadashi
Tadashi sat under his tree, careless of the ice on the ground. He thought about the many services he had performed for his Shogun for so many years, the battles he had fought beside him since he was only a youth. He had carried on fighting for the next Shogun and the one after that too. Tadashi was as irreproachable in his fealty and honour, as he was fierce in battle.
He had loved his Yuki since they were children. One fine spring day, they had married under the blossoming cherry tree in his garden. Their love had endured through distance and time, while he was away fighting battles that didn’t always belong to him, travelling on dangerous missions and supporting his master and his friends. Tadashi thought about his and Yuki’s children and their children’s children too, more and more these days. He could almost see them all, playing in the garden, singing and running around the cherry tree.
Then, the earthquake came and nobody was left of those he had loved. Everything and everybody that counted had gone. The disaster had taken away his certainties and faith as well. Loneliness had wrapped itself around his heart like stubborn ivy. One day, even Kitano, his old stripy cat, went to sleep forever under the cherry tree.
Tadashi endured his solitude for a while longer, until a day came when his tree stopped giving fruit. He waited until the following spring but the feathery, candid cherry blossoms didn’t appear. The tree branches remained bare.
That January day was cold and a freezing mist had enveloped Mount Fuji. Tadashi rested against the tree-trunk. Suddenly, Yuki’s voice sounded very near. The hand that took his felt real, the soft fingers closing around his. Tadashi smiled, as he closed his eyes for one last time and followed Yuki.
Tadashi’s neighbour found him the day after. He was still carrying a smile on his weathered face, while sitting under his tree, its branches now covered in a cloud of glorious cherry blossoms.
A single nightingale was singing melodiously on the treetop.