“The upper class will construct a wall to deepen the economical divide,” read the news reporter on the snowy television set.
“No!” I yelled out in anger from my cramped little bedroom. As I looked around at my dull, grey, impoverished and gloomy surroundings, I saw dirt dumped on every corner. There were plastics in our oceans and a slight smell of tar in the air, yet no one seemed to care, nothing but despair. No sign of hope anywhere. The tar smell was coming from the other side of town. The snotty upper class, or ‘Snots’ for short, had relocated all the poverty stricken people to a cramped, dreary, dirty and barren corner of society.
Imagine a bunch of stuffed sardines into a small can; that was our way of life. On the other hand, the Snots occupied the luxurious, glorious and scenic sights; the best the world had to offer. The beauty was unlimited to one’s imagination. I could not allow that wall to be constructed. That gigantic wall of inequality would kill all hope of an equal society but how could I fight it? I was only one person; I was just a skinny little kid. What could I do?
“Grandpa, how do I stop the reconstruction of the wall?” I asked whilst stirring my sugar into my already caramelised tea. “I am only 16 years old. People don’t take me seriously.” I argued.
“My child, you need to believe in yourself and your capabilities. You can do anything you set your heart on.” replied Grandpa. “Come, let me show you something,” said Grandpa as he took me by his wrinkly hand.
He led me into his private Eden, also known as his greenhouse. The greenhouse was covered in luscious green plants. He had a serious green thumb.
“Remember, that seed I showed you last week,” he asked eagerly. I nodded my head in agreement. He then walked towards an alluring little tree, safely tucked away in a glass incubator. Since the increase of global warming and deforestation, seeing natural trees was a rare sighting. The most statuesque of lush green fields were a thing of the past.
Grandpa was one of those people who tried to keep them alive. He believed they signified strength, hope and a new beginning. He then turned to me and gave me the glass incubator.
“The tree started as a little seed but will eventually grow into a Sycamore with strong roots, just like you will…one day.” He let out a smile across his wrinkly but wise face. “Take this tree with you, it shall be a reminder of what you can accomplish with just a little bit of love and self-belief. Give your people something to believe in… Hope, hope for a better and brighter tomorrow.”
Grandpa always knew what to say. To me he was a veteran of life, the daily struggle. There was a mighty tale behind each of his wrinkles. He really was a wise old sage with a golden heart.
After I left Grandpa’s, his words ran through my mind, over and over and over again. I still had a lot of self-doubt I needed to overcome. There I lay in my cramped little bedroom tossing and turning, beneath my already rustled sheet. My mind racing faster than the Tasmanian devil with plenty of ideas but not one seemed fruitful. They were all drier than the Cape drought of 2017. In the darkness I lay, mesmerized by the rigid roots of the alluring brown tree, green adorned with bewitching green leaves, with nothing but the light of the bright moon shining into its beauty.
I pondered for a while on how rigid the brown roots of the tree were, how firmly it planted itself in the earth and how it stood firmly with confidence in any situation. I hoped for a revolutionary idea, thought or a solution but nothing came. Nothing came but heavy tired eyes. The forgotten tired eyes of the night had crept up on me, next thing I knew…I was out like a log.
Later that day, construction was due to take place on the infamous wall. What a failure I was, no solution, no idea, no nothing. As I walked towards the place of construction, I noticed a huge crowd had already gathered, like ants to a sugar mountain. I made my way to the front of the bustling crowd, to see what the fuss was about. I looked down to the barren brown ground. I noticed a brown root with a bright green leaf attached to it, piercing out from the litter filled ground. Could it really be a tree?
The miraculous tree sprouted on the exact spot from where the wall was to be erected. The contractors seemed unfazed and persistently tried to erect the wall. No human or sprout was going to stand in their way. I had to do something, I couldn’t let them destroy the little tree; it was defenceless and it needed someone to protect it.
A vivid vision appeared before me, I pictured the little tree in my bedroom, how strong they were and my grandpa’s wise words echoed through my small, skinny body. Those words finally meant something to me. For the first time in my life, I knew what I had to do.
I planted myself firmly like the roots of a tree and stood in front of the sprout with all my might. I was not afraid anymore, I had a purpose and I was going to fulfil it by all means. Instinct kicked in and I told everyone to create a human barrier around the baby tree, to protect it from their flying cranes and tools of destruction. For that moment, my skinny frame and lack of height didn’t matter, I wasn’t just a child. I was seen as a human with compassion and a mission. Even some of the potbellied and spiffy Snots joined in on the human barrier.
The stout businessman held the hand of a ragged beggar, the ragged beggar held the hand of a sprouting child. Everyone came together to protect LIFE and in that moment in time, we were all equal. Financial status, race or belief didn’t matter. We were humans, standing in unison and fighting for humanity.
After much rebellion, the sly and skinny contractor frowned deeply as he stared at the crowd. He eventually called off the construction. He got into his large flying crane and sped off enraged.
There was no mention of another wall being constructed. The new tree belonged to us all, it brought unity and joy to the masses with is sparkling green leaves. The older generation celebrated the tree because it was like meeting an old friend after a long time. The younger generation celebrated because they had never seen a picturesque tree before. Everyone celebrated LIFE and HOPE for a better and brighter tomorrow. This is the true meaning of wealth. Remember we are like trees, we have strong roots, with just a little bit of self-belief, confidence and HOPE, anything is possible.