Tom had always loved plants. He loved the way they would begin their lives as tiny seeds buried in their cosy little nests, and then, with all the essential ingredients ÃÂ a sprinkle of water, a cup of sunlight and a dash of time ÃÂ they would blossom into sharp Italian ballet dancers, their lively radiance beating against the cream-white window pane. TomÃÂs mother would grow these plants by the dozen, and, once a month, after harvest week, she would take all the plants away, replacing them with seemingly barren pots of soil, each containing their own hidden seed ready to grow and blossom into another magnificent dancer on the windowsill.
It was the first harvesting week of the year when TomÃÂs mother first offered him the opportunity to plant his very own tomato tree. At first he was hesitant, but after some assurance from his mother he felt confident and ready.
ÃÂMake sure you give your plant plenty of water and sunlight, and it will have all that it needs to grow. And donÃÂt be late for school!ÃÂThe second the pot was in his grip, Tom raced to his bedroom and catapulted to the side of his bunk bed. Climbing up, he searched the room for the sunniest spot, like the night boat searches for the closest lighthouse. Suddenly, he spotted it. But it was so far away! HeÃÂd have to try and reach it. Balancing on the top step of his bunk ladder, pot in one hand, he stretched out his arm as far as it could reach, and just managed to tip the edge of the pot against the windowsill so it sat firmly against the glass. He climbed back down and sighed with relief as he glanced up at his creation. The whole world stopped in an instant as Tom marvelled at the way the light magnified though his window and reflected off the glistening soil into his bedroom. He felt the warm glow melt against his skin. He turned to walk out, but after every few steps, something inside him forced him to turn back, just to check that his plant was still there. He felt a sense of pride as he looked up at his establishment, a foundation for the rainbow of wonderful things to come. Satisfied, he felt a bubbling burst of energy as he happily skipped out of his room and headed off to school.
The day seemed to drag on, and as soon as Tom was home he threw his schoolbag across the hallway and jolted to the castle where his tomato tree waited anxiously. He opened the palace doors and, once he saw it for the second time, a rush of accomplishment swarmed through him and he skidded across the kitchen floor, attempting to sustain his balance while carefully collecting a glass of water to nourish his royal king. Back in his room, he climbed atop his bunk bed, leaned out across his room, and carefully poured the water into the plant pot, swirling it around in an attempt to spread the water evenly across the fine surface. He remained there for some time, and couldnÃÂt help but feel a sense of impatience as he stared into the emptiness of the pot. Had his plant grown out of its seed yet? Was it even growing at all? He knew he loved being able to look after a plant like this, even if he couldnÃÂt see it yet. Regardless, he headed off to bed, and through his dreams he saw his plant grow up to be the most exotic dancer of all.
Harvest week came again the month after. Tom was scared. He had been looking after his plant for a whole month prior ÃÂ but he couldnÃÂt see any fruits! Following his motherÃÂs advice, he continued to water and care for his plant as much as he could, moving it to a sunnier spot and being careful to give it just the right amount of water, and finally, at long last, it blossomed. The tomatoes that grew on TomÃÂs tree were the sweetest and juiciest and most delicious tomatoes him and his mother had ever tasted.
Harvest week came and went, and eventually his tree stopped bearing fruits. The vines were as bare as winter, and it no longer danced in the wind, but instead roared a silence so loud that Tom felt a shiver up and down his spine. Panicking, he decided he should move his plant to a sunnier spot ÃÂ he climbed upon his bunk bed, reached over and ÃÂ stretching his arms as far as they would go ÃÂ almost there ÃÂ just a bit further ÃÂ got it! He rejoiced as he collected the pot plant from its previous home and climbed down from his bed to move it to a sunnier spot. He had almost forgotten his plant was dying.
What had he done wrong? He thought back over the previous monthÃÂs events, thought back to when he had first tended to the plant ÃÂ oh how he remembered being inexperienced! But no matter how far he looked back, he just couldnÃÂt put his finger on what he had done wrong. What could he have done to cause this? Three of his motherÃÂs words echoed in his head ÃÂ ÃÂwater and sunlightÃÂ ÃÂ but he had already given it all that it neededÃÂ Now, nothing seemed to work. It was only after TomÃÂs mother returned home that night that Tom finally understood why it had happened.
ÃÂEverything in life has its placeÃÂ explained TomÃÂs mother gently. ÃÂEverything is born to grow and live, and after it has served its purpose, it has to go. Your plant grew the most delicious tomatoes IÃÂve ever tasted, but now itÃÂs time for your tomato tree to say goodbye.ÃÂDevastated, Tom handed the plant back to his mother and reflected on their times together. He remembered how he used to watch his little tree dance, its vibrant energy brighter than all the light from the brightest star. He wanted that back again. He wanted another plant.
Suddenly, an idea sparked in his head. ÃÂMum,ÃÂ he began. ÃÂCould I plant another one?ÃÂ