“If we knock off these walls here, we could have a nice conservatory right next to our living room,” Harry heard his dad talking. He was probably hunching over the blueprint again and discussing the house plan with mom.
“That’s a splendid idea! We could have a nice sunlit room to entertain guests,” his mother was saying.
After nearly a decade, his parents were renovating their home. Harry stepped out of his room to join the conversation.
“The architect thinks that we should get rid of the maple tree. He suggests getting vertical gardens and bonsais instead. I think that’s a great idea,” Harry heard his dad say.
Harry stopped in his tracks. His stomach churned. Don’t be a baby, he tried telling himself. It is just a tree. But it was not just a tree, it was Sharman. Conflicted, Harry went back to his room and shut the door.
Harry had named his maple tree ‘Sharman’, as a little boy. That tree was his sole companion. Every day, he would peacefully lie on Sharman’s protruding roots and tell him about his day at school. Sharman too, Harry believed, listened to him, nodding now and then. Sharman was not eloquent. But Harry could somehow understand him. Sometimes, the mighty tree would sway gently to light up the little boy’s face. Other times, he would go from being beautiful green to bright orange, and shower crimson leaves upon Harry when they played.
Over the years, Sharman had become his best friend. But, like they say, all good things come to an end. And that’s what happened. As Harry grew up, his friendship with Sharman became more distant. Why? The little boy was bullied by his friends at school for befriending a tree. It had been years since Harry had spoken to Sharman.
That night, after a sombre supper, Harry found himself tossing and turning in his bed. He woke up the next morning knowing the right thing to do.
“Are we cutting down the maple tree?” Harry asked his parents at the breakfast table.
“Hmm, that is an option that we are considering,” his dad admitted.
Harry’s face turned pale.
“Is something bothering you dear?” his mom asked him.
“I do not want my maple tree cut down, mom,” Harry told her, quietly. “Sharman used to be my best friend. He still is, although I don’t spend much time with him anymore. I cannot watch him die.”
After several quiet moments, his father broke the silence. “We will not do anything against your will, Harry. I am sure we can find a way to build the conservatory without cutting down Sharman,” he assured.
“You have grown into a compassionate person, Harry. We are proud of you,” his mom added, beaming.
A relieved and teary-eyed Harry hugged his parents. He finished up the rest of his breakfast and hurried out the door to meet his old friend. “I am sorry I stopped being your friend, Sharman. Will you forgive me?” Harry whispered, hugging the tree. An understanding Sharman swayed gently. His breeze dried the tears off Harry’s face.