“That sounds so boring. I do the same thing every day. Without Kiko of course. I wish I could just grow up and own a car and see the whole world and not study.”

“I felt like that too at that time. But now… I just wish those days would come back to me. Just once more, I wish I could go back, meet Kiko…” the old man’s voice suddenly grew heavy and his eyes teared up. I could not understand what happened.


“Ah sorry” he wiped away his eyes and got up from the bench.

“Are you leaving?” But I wanted to listen more to his stories.

“This is no longer my place. It belongs to you now. Treasure this time. One day you would die to come back but will be stuck in the ‘real boring’ life.”

After that the old man walked away silently and waved one last time before turning at a corner and disappearing in the forest.

I sat still for some time and then got down and walked over to the big tree he had pointed to before. Behind it I saw the bouquet of flowers that he was holding yesterday and a small rock slate with something written on it in a jagged handwriting. I bent down and read it aloud, “In the loving memory of Ms. Kiko”.

Kiko… I wondered quietly for a moment. “KIKO?!” I exclaimed when I understood that I was bending in front of the cat’s grave. I dashed back to where the old man had disappeared to but could not find him anywhere. I wanted to ask and confirm so many things. What happened to Kiko? Does he come here every year? And there was just so much more.

But he never came back. I waited for him, but he never did.

In his stead, I offered flowers to Kiko’s grave on the same day every year till I graduated from school and shifted out of town. I realized that the grave had been made by the old man when he was little and must mean a lot to him.

(Current time: In front of the grave)-

Life kept getting busy and with each passing day I kept losing myself. Every day was full of work and people. I finally understood what the old man had said. I too wanted to go back at one time and I felt it so strongly that I was pulled back to this place and this tree. Recalling his story, I wondered what must have been going on in his life, but I knew too little to guess.

Getting back up, I patted the dust off my pants.

The temple was now just a forgotten room; the trees had been cut off and the place had been transformed to a playground. Thankfully Kiko’s tree still remained, but who knew for how long. After all, this is how life is: Transient.