The banana orchard at the back of my aunt’s house is long gone and I can barely remember how it looks like already, but if I close my eyes and think hard, I could still remember how it feels like to be there.
The orchard was a part of Manong Pancho’s property. It is untended, mosquito infested and magical. The banana orchard use to be our playground. I still remember how much my mother hated it when I play there because of the stains on my clothes when I go home. Yet no matter how many times I get pinched at my arms for playing there, I can’t resist going. We love pretending to be Ewoks, the furry, short, stocky, flat-faced, bear-like looking creatures living primitively in the forest moon of Endor. This George Lucas creation that first appeared on the movie Star Wars became our constant persona when we are playing at the banana orchard. That banana orchard was our Endor.
Usually when I arrive at the orchard, the brothers, Mado and Mar are already there, since they live the nearest to the place. also the brother tandem of Jon and Tirso (not their real names), and so with cousins Dino (not his real name) and Rowen.
When we’re playing ewoks, I was always Wickket, the leader of the ewoks, the other guys would think of their own names. Yet even though we play parts as ewoks our natural personality would eventually turn up. Mado and Mar are inseparable even when their roles (according to their names) as ewoks should not. Dino is quick to smile, he is a daredevil but he listens to me. He likes adventure and the youngest of us all. Jon is the bossy type and Tirso is the playful one. Rowen on the other hand is the silent type. We have different personality, looking back now; I wonder how we survived as friends.
When we assume the ewoks persona, everything turns magical. A simple banana tree would turn into an impregnable fortress, stones would turn into gold, sticks would become spears, the orchard would become the forrest of endor, and we would become immortals. Child play and all its grandeur, its magic and its sense of justice.
Time passed, we grew older I guess. and our forest of endor was forgotten. The awe for the mystery of endor was replaced with teenage adrenalin when we entered high school. We attended different schools. I found new friends, and my childhood friends found theirs.
I left our municipality to attend the university during college. I have lost track to almost everything from my hometown. I guess I stayed away too long.
When I finally had time to stay home, I was informed that Dino was sent to a juvenille detention facility. He was accused of raping a girl. There are rumors that he was high on drugs during the time the incident happened. I could hardly believe my ears. Dino the smiling kid? rape? My mind is trying to grasp a reality that it cannot absorb.
Time passed and we moved on, I was always away from home, but I tried to come home every chance I get. Everything is doing well when I heard the news that Tirso was arrested for stabbing someone to death. I heard that the stabbing was a result of an altercation during a basketball match. I sighed while listening to my mother telling me the news. I can’t just believe it is possible. I asked my mom who had he stabbed, she told me a name. The name sound very familiar, I her asked again, I heard it right the first time. It was a friend of mine during my high school days.
As I was writing this, a line from an old song called “constant change” keeps playing on my head, it goes; “have we outgrown our peter pan and wings?/ we’ve simply grown too old for tales of knights and king…”
Where have Endor gone? Where is its sense of fair play and justice? have we left it behind the banana orchard along with our childhood eons ago? Right now, if only I have a way to go back to that orchard in the time of the ewoks and the forest of Endor, I would.