Mulberries: A Short Prose

180410120081/A

Summary: A policeman have to take an old lady to her house with a police car because she forgets her way home, but they end up going somewhere far.

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Gregory Wayland parked his police car near the gate of a school. He would be patrolling this neighborhood today. The road was pleasantly uncrowded, and so was the sky. Another calm morning, he thought. He found his job as a Police Community Support Officer dull—he hardly found any interesting case here in Adel, a North Leeds suburb.

Greg was listening to the radio as somebody knocked the window. He stepped out of his car, and was greeted by a young boy with an old lady standing beside him.

The boy said that she found her at the corner of the street, looking bewildered. She wanted to go home, but apparently she did not even remember the way. So, Greg agreed to take the lady home. It was his duty, anyway.

“People call me Mrs Finn,” she said with a smile as Greg helped her sit in the passenger seat. “Oh, and this is my first time riding a panda car, you know.”

“Oh, I’m sure everybody doesn’t even want to ride this even for the first time, ma’am. I usually take criminals. And I’m Officer Greg, by the way,” replied the bearded fifty-year-old man. He liked Mrs Finn; she dressed neatly and she smelled nice. She brought nothing but a small handbag. She was also looked like a woman of wit and intelligence. But well, even smart people could be forgetful as they grew older.

Greg asked Mrs Finn’s address, but she ended up talking about other things. So Greg drove his car around with no clue but “mulberry” because Mrs Finn mentioned it frequently. He took her to the Mulberry Avenue, terraced housings, but she said she did not live there. The houses were empty anyway.

He then drove the car farther to the countryside, following his instinct—or actually following Tile Lane that would brought them to the woods near the town. Greg made a triumphant smile when Mrs Finn suddenly got excited as they were passing the trees on both side along the road. He was not sure if they were still in the Tile Lane or had reached farther to Spring Hill, but he knew he was driving to the right way.

She then pointed her finger towards a big, lonely tree that stood sturdily in the middle of the field. She shouted, “There it is!”

Greg nodded and stopped the car. He walked Mrs Finn towards that old tree—a mulberry tree. Ha! Why did not he think of it? He should have had known what she meant.

“It’s the gate, Officer Greg.” Said her.

What gate? Greg looked around and saw no house nearby; only a barn, and he knew she would not live there. “Uh, but I see no door, Mrs Finn. Or is there any secret passageway that leads into somewhere like, your house, maybe?”

“Who said I’m going home? Here is fine, Officer Greg.” Mrs Finn caressed its trunk, and then sat on the ground.

Okay. She was going senile. Greg moved one, two steps behind.

“Where are you going, my dear? Sit. You look like you just saw a ghost.”

Greg gave her a weird look, but he eventually sat on the grass. He liked the cool air here, though. It was refreshing. He could made this place his sanctum.

“You know,” started Mrs Finn, “Chinese people believe that mulberry tree is the link between Earth and Eastern Heaven. It is the gate, you see? Whenever I missed my late daughter, I always go here. My son-in-law used to take me here but since he works out of town, I rarely come.” She sighed, “But, you know, my grandchild always scold me if I stayed here too long. She said there’s no use in mourning the dead. ‘Leave her be, Gran-gran!’ But I’m not mourning. I just missed my daughter… But then I realized my grandchild was mad because she was the one who missed her mother. Oh, she needs company. She needs me. Since then, I realized that we should cherish those who live—the ones we have left.”

So, this is it. Greg nodded sagely. “Do not pity the dead,” he said.

“But pity the living.” Mrs Finn finished his line, and then they both smiled.

A while later, Mrs Finn’s son arrived with his truck. He had been looking for her for hours, he said. He thanked Greg for accompanying his adventurous mother. Mrs Finn only bawled to him for being so mean; apparently he wanted her to go to nursing homes but she refused, so she ran away.

“That would be the last place I’m going to visit! The food is awful, I heard, and I hate those fake-smiled nurses. I know they despise us—us, the old bats. I’d rather have you nursing me at home, William, no matter how mean you are because I know you actually love me. Right, my dear?”

Greg laughed, Mrs Finn winked at him and said, “You know, mulberries don’t bud until all danger of frost is past, and when they do produce buds, it happens so quickly they bloom beautifully. We should be like them!”

With that, she waved goodbye.

Greg went home alone, still thinking what Mrs Finn’s last words meant. He might not have something to do with it, but the words were stuck on his head.

And then a word popped in his mind.

“Oh, right…” He suddenly stopped his car and grabbed his mobile.

“Hello, Moorfield House Nursing Homes? I’d like to speak with, uh, Mrs Wayland. Yes. Mother, it’s me. How are you? Do they treat you well? No? Ah, I knew it. Mum, let’s live together. Yeah, I was the one who sent you there. I’m sorry, Mother. I-I missed you. Should’ve not left you there. Yes, I said that I don’t know how I should take care of you—but now I do: I have to be patient, like the mulberries.”

.

Thanks to Dika Satya Kameswara for proofreading, correcting my grammar, and giving ideas for the title, and to Rizki Puji Gustian, Adetya Sarah, and Shifa Amali Firdaus for correcting my grammar.

References:

– Google Map. Adel, North Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Adel/@53.8515952,-1.5701866,14z)
– Wikipedia. “Law enforcement in the UK” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_enforcement_in_the_United_Kingdom)
– eHow. “Mulberry tree symbolism” (http://www.ehow.com/about_6127710_mulberry-tree-symbolism.html)
– Yates, David (Dir.) 2011. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. United Kingdom: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Word count: (991)

Link for work dramatization.

13 thoughts on “Mulberries: A Short Prose

  1. F/180410120121

    Honestly, I was expecting a thrilling crime story like those on Law & Order or horror story when I read the summary, so I was rather disappointed when I read the whole story.

    Disappointment aside, the story is actually interesting for me to read. I like how you use the philosophy of mulberry tree to convey the message. I sensed an irony there; Greg helped the old woman willingly (maybe because that is his job to do so) yet he sent his own old mother to the nursing home. But the irony is what triggered his action to take his mother to live with him.

    Actually I can relate to Greg; because I often not know whether what I’m doing is right until I see someone else pointing it out for me. Good work, 180410120081!

    (135 words)

    Like

    • 180410120070/A

      I agree with you, Annisa! Honestly, I kind of disappointed to find out this story is not a thriller or horror ones. I was imagining the policeman will be killed near the mulberry tree or be brought to somewhere Google Maps could not even find when I read the summary. Anyway, I love this story; it is so simple yet has a deep message. I love the way you plot the message by using the mulberry tree also the way you end this story by making Greg reflects to Mrs Finn’s words; emphasizing that not only the reader who get the message but also the character. The ending, when Greg calls his mother to ask her to live with him again, is so sweet but not too dramatic. (128w)

      Like

    • Hi, Annisa! From my perspective, when analysing one’s work, you might say that you are disappointed with the work but that would be indeterminedly judgmental by proposing “would-be”s on your own in such a way. The author simply has constructed the story in the frame of structures and linkages; the conclusion is therefore lain upon the reader whatsoever. I think each line of the story is like a puzzle, so it is impossible to read only once to grasp the piece. Maybe you should read it a few more times because the deep meaning and conclusion lie within those words already.

      (110 words)

      Like

  2. 180410120012/A

    That mulberry message though, is it random idea or something you threw when you wrote this beautiful story, because the suspense is killing me for understanding what does that old woman’s last word has to do with the story. Like so what if the metaphor has meaning: “be patience, anything will fruits better”, because what do elder people achieved from being cared by someone patiently… like; will they grow beautiful as mulberry or produce something in spite of their age?

    This is what I interpret based my opinion:

    “You know, mulberries don’t bud until all danger of frost is past [annoying behaviours of elder] , and when they do produce buds [and if you endure them] , it happens so quickly they bloom beautifully [they will rest in peace/die smiling] .”

    Yes, I’m bad at catching any cues.

    (139 words)

    Like

    • Hi, Anandyaz. Thanks for reading and giving feedback. Actually, I wasn’t planning on putting the mulberry symbolism on the story, I was just accidentally found the link of mulberry tree symbolism while looking for common trees in England, and when I read it, dang! It fits so well with the story I put it there. I was just lucky.

      Actually, you are free to interpret Mrs Finn’s last words. But, if you read carefully (and if you spend your time clicking the reference link up there), the mulberry tree is a symbol of patience. Your first assumptions was close to right (or to my own interpretation). It is actually a simple message about being patience, and when we are, we’ll get the fruit. In this story’s case, when Greg can be patience (in taking care of his old mother), he can get her mother’s love back as the result.

      Like

  3. 180410120025
    B

    Really…really love the story!

    I like the part when Mrs. Finn’s son comes to take his mother away, and Gregory suddenly misses his mother. The emergence of the son, though less dominant from the other two, is involved in the development of the protagonist. Also, I love how the lesson of life and death in accordance to mulberries tree is described without being overreactingly judgmental. For example, at the ending, Mrs. Finn’s “wav[ing]” to Greg as her “reality” (son) has taken her away from the “heaven” (tree) reminds Greg to implore what he has recklessly done in the past, which is the story’s ‘kick’!

    Words: 100

    Like

  4. 180410120040
    A

    A loveable story! I love the way the author uses the analogy of mulberry-tree. This is not only a dramatic story, but also a hilarious story. Firstly, I love how Mrs. Finn built the story; she successfully turns Greg into a melodramatic guy with her words. Then, I love how the author uses an inner conflict that makes me go deeper into the story so that I can feel what Greg feels. And the last, the value that I get from this story is don’t wait until is too late to give your best to someone you love, because when they’re gone, no matter how loud you cry, they won’t hear you anymore; as well as someone says to me.

    Like

  5. 180410120064/ A

    Seeing the title, I feel curious about what will happen in the story related to mulberry. I find it interesting that the tree, in fact, is a symbol of Earth and Heaven’s connection. I like the way Mr. Finn tells the reader not to deeply drown in mourning somebody’s death as there are still people who need us; that is one of the moral values the readers can get. Another value is that, in my opinion, we’re better not to neglect our parents later when they are old and “annoying”, as they have taken care of annoying us for the rest of their lives. However, I wonder –and still confuse– what Mr. Finn means regarding her statement about mulberries in the end of the story.

    Like

  6. Jasmin Zarasani
    180410130049/A

    This story is beautiful, however it would’ve been more beautiful if the flow of the plot could be more consistent. In my opinion, the first seven paragraphs consist a lot of unnecessary details and it moves too slow, for example the mention of Mulberry Avenue, Tile Lane, and Spring Hill. They don’t do anything for the plot and you don’t even mention them anymore after that, therefore I think it is unnecessary and a waste of words. The rest of the paragraphs seem rushed and so does the climax, and it is disappointing because the climax has the potential to be very meaningful and touch many hearts. If you cut short the first seven paragraphs and took your time in writing the rest, I think this story would be much more beautiful and meaningful.

    Like

    • Hello, Jasmin. Actually I put the your so-called unnecessary places to give readers the idea of the setting: a suburban English village with the roads and woods and houses. I want to make it as real as possible. But, I think they *do* affect the plot. Otherwise I wouldn’t write them. However, if it fails you, than that is okay. You were right about the pace, though, I need more words. Anyway, thank you for giving feedback :)

      Like

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