The tree house: A story by Neha Gupta

 It was the first day of school after a long summer vacation. Students were walking towards the main lobby from the entrance of the school. After the deadly silence of two months school was alive again with chatter and jubilant sounds from the students. Watching the students climbing stairs and reaching their respective classrooms, there I stood, the first-grade homeroom teacher.

While most of the students were having a joyful time, there was a boy standing very quietly in one corner. After watching him for some time I approached him and asked his name and class but didn’t get any reply. He held his face down looking at his shoes all the time. I then scanned his school ID to find that the boy’s name is Anish, a new admission, and a student of my class itself. The boy was living in the school hostel.

I observed that Anish did not speak with anyone in the class. One full week passed like this, I hoped every day that he would start mingling and making friends. He was lost in his own world as if nothing around mattered, he ignored everyone. I noticed that he often looked outside from the classroom window. Curious about what’s out there which interests this boy so deeply, I looked in the same direction to find that the thing Anish was staring all these days is none but the old tree-house nestled in the branches of that ancient oak tree in the north side of the campus. Though it is old it still holds the same charm and homely feeling which it had in earlier days. It was being maintained properly. Gazing at that tree-house seems to be his favorite thing to do.

When the school was over for that day I approached him and asked, “Would you like to visit that tree-house?”. For the first time in one week, Anish looked directly into my eyes but said nothing, he merely nodded his head in agreement. We reached the tree and started climbing towards the tree-house, I perceived that the boy in front of me was a completely different person than the one who sits quietly in my class. He advanced as fast as he could as if being pulled by some strong magnet. When we stepped inside, Anish spoke, ” I like this place very much, you know, my mother used to read me a story about a tree-house. This tree-house looks the same as the one in my mother’s story.” I noticed tears rolling down his cheeks, he whispered: “I miss my mom very much.” I explained to him that his mother will pay him frequent visits and in the meantime, he can visit this place in the afternoons, there are many other students who like to spend time here with their books, chat with friends or sometimes just to be by themselves.

A smile crept on his face, and I knew that he had found his bridge between school and home.