The Tree House

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I had a friend who preferred her imagination to the dullness of life.  She climbed into the trees and parted the leaves.  She ran away and climbed up and away into her dreams.  Only to descend from her tree house for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; whereupon finishing, she promptly climbed the ladder back into the clouds.  It was here, she said the sound of the wind was not too loud.  The air smelled the sweetest, it felt the coolest, without being too cold.   Here, every berry filled pastry too delicious to hold.

She raced geese and flew on Pegasus wings, in the light of two Suns, where the Summer bee never stings. Every evening she sat on the tree house porch, drinking strawberry tea and eating star shaped lemon cookies, while she watched the rings of Saturn, in front of Orion, descend behind the horizon.  In the morning, she yawned into the dewy air and caught the view of dactyls swooping and gliding, while shielding her eyes from the rays of the first Sun, rising.

But her reality was broken.  Her tightly held expectations squeezed the enjoyment out of the rolling green hills, white clouds, blue skies, and the dreaming melodies of birds coordinating their afternoon work.   And she said, the hills and clouds had lost their flavor; They held no more taste, nothing more left to savor.  Though life was all around her, though life had sprung from her, it was a stressful ordeal, filled with bad breaks, bad decisions, and public and familial derision.  Reality – this time and space – created a void within her.  Her invisible face was filled with sadness and loneliness.  Any time spent in reality, was consumed mechanically, with each new minute tasting like the last; A dull falsetto of grays, liberally seasoning her hours and days.

After each meal, she found herself sitting in the kitchen, looking back at her mecca through the window. For most of us, a quiet moment in the kitchen, sat watching the breeze lift the curtains, while it blew over the sparkling droplets of perspiration brought relief and serenity to mind and spirit.  But not her.  The breeze and heat made her shake and scratch and itch.  For her there was no relief.  The tree house was her place to escape and be free.   She sat sweating profusely, agitated and restless, needing to do something, needing to be somewhere; wringing her hands, needing to go back to… the tree house.  It occupied center stage in the window of her mind.  At some point her returns to reality became less and less in time.

But one morning she looked across the lush rolling hills of clouds and in between, she saw a little boy wandering in the grass below.  She wanted to say, “Hello.”  She said to herself, I know that boy.   He giggled and laughed with so much joy.   Unsure of his steps, she watched him walk across the prickly grass with his bare feet.  The view made her heart skip a beat.

But her heart began to beat faster.

She smiled and said to herself, I know that boy.   It brought her great joy to watch him laugh and play.

Her heart began to beat even faster.

Just at that moment, the tree house began to lurch back and forth; Bouncing between her reality and her escape.  She looked up and saw stardust falling out of the clouds.  She heard the child’s laughter and looked back below.  She watched him while she lay on her side, shaking and sweating so.  It had consumed her and it wasn’t letting her go.  Her heart beat became erratic, then low.  She looked at the little boy with excitement as she looked through the dull glass of her eyes.  He’s my baby, my boy!  She yelled from inside. She reached out to him, inaudibly screaming and crying from inside herself.   But as she did so, the torment of a wind kicked up and blew.  It swirled inside the tree house, lifted her up, blowing each particle of her away, one grain at a time.  Until her outstretched hand disappeared from view, leaving the echo of the sound of her slowing heart beat behind.  The little boy paused and looked up into the clouds, thinking he’d heard a sound, but then went back to placing his Legos all in a line, without a single regard for time.

By malakhai jones
(C)copyright 2016


  1. I feel like this is an all too familiar story – probably because we’ve all held our delusions to a point.
    Sooner or later we must learn to accept the world we live in, that reality is what it is and won’t change.
    The alternative..well..the alternative is to not live life :/
    A powerful and heart-rending narrative

  2. Because of the open nature of this piece (as with most of your work), I think each person has a different take on what is read. I see the sad end of childhood wonderment where anything and everything is possible, and the torch being passed on as one reluctantly enters the adult world. Neil Gaiman–one of my favorite authors–said: “Growing up is highly overrated. Just be an author.”
    You paint such vivid pictures with your words, M. You make me see your world, and that my friend, is great talent. 😊

      1. It’s always my pleasure to read your work, M. You have such a feel for description, your words pull me right into your world.

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