The roots of the tree reached deep into the earth’s core, each connected to a blazing inferno of molten iron, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, silicon and sulfur, a combination of elements that incinerated the requests that came to them, but the little girls didn’t notice. They focused, instead, on playing house, building a tree house, in the smaller roots that dominated the edges of the parking lot that doubled as the playground for their second-grade class. Forty children, turned out into a parking lot to escape the rigors of their schoolwork, jumping rope, playing tag and bouncing balls, the little girls sheltering under the tree, oblivious to their peers, oblivious to the tree’s powers, oblivious to the real pain that could haunt them into adulthood.

Two tall trees accounted for a thirty foot by three-foot root system that popped up through the blacktopped lot. The roots extended upwards between five and ten inches, providing texture for the root homes. Each girl took half of the tree roots and set them up with stick families, using larger stones to serve as furniture for each room and small pebbles to denote appliances and other household items.

The girls worked silently using hand signals and eye gaze to send the traumas out. Ready, set, go to the bedroom, find the bedroom root. Tap on it three times and send the abuse memories through the roots to the earth’s core for incineration and elimination. The ritual repeated four more times, sending domestic violence, childhood food insecurity, drug addiction and chronic alcoholism, blights on society, lifelong traumas, family pain and heartbreak, to a fiery end, to finally eliminate five of society’s most heinous problems, to finally, once and for all, end the cycle.

Child sexual abuse hit the earth’s core with a startling crash, sending shock waves across the land, causing seismic waves creating tsunamis along the coastline. The girls only knew of their experiences, were not aware of the magnitude of abuse rained down on so many of the world’s children, not aware of the positive impact incinerating the abuse would make on future generations. Their classmates, unaware of the torching, continued their jump roping, ball playing and tag games, yet a subtle peace wafted over the playground, settling the debts for all the young souls lost to abuse while the earth wailed and gnashed at its core.

Satisfied with the outcome of the first incineration, the girls worked quickly to torch the remaining traumas, tapping the kitchen root to end alcoholism and hunger, tapping the family room root to end domestic violence and alcoholism, high fiving each other and smiling to themselves for connecting with their roots, connecting with their childhood, connecting with their future. Their tree house was a success!

One thought on “The Tree House by Kathy Barlow

  1. I can relate – to playing house with my little sister, to trees (necessary for life), roots sticking up out of the ground (I have a dislocated toe because of one of them), and wanting to erase the abuse.

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