One morning in early May, you step outside your gate, preoccupied. Your eye catches a crushed splatter of inky purple against the dusty road. You look up to see the green leaves of the vines as they dance and shiver in the early morning breeze. You shield your eyes from the sun and squint, hunting for the tiny black clusters that say May has arrived. Without thinking, you stretch your arm, reaching for the first mulberries of the year. But then comes the call; ‘chalo, late ho jayenge’ and with a guilty glance at your watch, you hurry away.
In the afternoon, you look up and smile in anticipation of the treat you’ve waited for all day. You scour for the ripest cluster, scanning the vines for the most abundant branches. Rising on the tips of your toes, you tug the branch downwards, and pluck the inky berries, dropping them in your mouth one by one. They taste of summer, tart and sweet, juice filling your mouth and staining your tongue as you bite into them. As the sun filters down through the leaves and the breeze cools the sweat on your skin, you take a few moments to admire how it truly is the little joys in life that make a difference. Walking home, fingertips smeared with black, you’re full of a kind of joy you had forgotten existed.
The next day, you bring a few more people. Each looks to the other, deciding what role they will play in this endeavour. You volunteer to gather the mulberries, and with a few well-chosen steps and you’re up on the ledge of the wall. You clutch it for dear life, with your heart hammering away in your chest. Then comes the expected “be careful, don’t hurt yourself,” from your concerned companions, but you couldn’t care less. You feel the rush of adrenaline as you reach for vines laden with berries, and drop each one into the waiting bowl below. You’re sure you eat more than half of the berries you pick, and as people walk past you, they stare with what you hope is jealousy.
Later, the memory of that bright day in early summer shines bright amongst a whirwind of blurry memories. You walk home that day with your mouths stained dark with juice and laughing without a care in the world.
That’s what May feels like.
Zainab Iqbal
Class IX

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