My mom was once in this tree house when she was my age. According to my dad, she would study and listen to music up here. I wonder if my mom left his tree house behind because it was one thing that no one would take down after she was gone. I wonder if she left all of her notebooks and pens up here for me to get to know her during a time I can understand her best. This tree house is the one place I can connect with my mom again. - Milo Kamalani.
Milo sits up in the treehouse, writing in a notebook with a camera by his side. He doesn’t realize that Sophie has already climbed up the ladder and greeted herself in the window.
Milo: Oh my god, Scout – warn a guy when you come up here!
Sophie: Sorry, I didn’t want to yell in front of your grandparents house.
Sophie climbs in and crosses her legs. She notices Milo writing in a notebook.
Sophie: You started the project without me?
Milo: I… wanted to test things out. I didn’t take any pictures yet, but I just wanted to jot some ideas down.
Sophie: Well, can I read it?
Milo: What? No, Scout; this is personal.
Sophie: You do know we are going to have to present this in front of the entire class, right? If you choose to keep it, you have to read it out loud.
Milo takes in a deep breath. He drops the pencil on the ground and lowers his knees.
Milo: I wrote about the tree house.
Sophie: The tree house? Why?
Milo looks at the page that he wrote. he holds it to his chest and finally begins talking.
Milo: This tree house belong to my mom.
Sophie: You’re biological mum?
Milo nods his head and looks down at the page.
Milo: My dad would tell me she used to come up here to escape all the stress she had being in high-school. She was the smartest kid in her grade and she was pregnant with me. She would come up here and read to me.
Sophie listens intently and doesn’t move. Milo keeps talking.
Milo: When my mom passed away, they were thinking about taking the tree house down. My dad told my grandparents they should leave it up so that when I got older, I could come back and connect with my mom. I always come up here and feel her presence in this tree house. I come up here so I can hear her say she’s proud of me.
Sophie is moved by the story. She reaches over for something and even though Milo clenches the notebook harder thinking she was going to take it, she instead takes the camera.
Sophie: Stay right there.
Sophie: Let me take the picture of you and the tree house!
Sophie puts the camera to her face and Milo awkwardly smiles. Sophie puts the camera down.
Sophie: Just be natural! Don’t pose, just… be you.
Milo relaxes a bit and decides to grab his guitar from the other side of the tree house. He starts strumming chords on the guitar; Sophie begins to take a couple of photos. After a while, she stops to listen to the song that Milo is playing. Nothing is said, just music is playing.
Milo: My mom and my dad were high-school sweethearts. They met in their freshmen year and fell in love. *sigh* My mom had cancer. She was slowly dying and to have me took a lot out of her. I was barely two weeks old when my mom died.
Sophie: Do you miss her?
Milo: Only when I realize that some of my traits come from her. Some things I don’t understand why I do or think them because my dad doesn’t, and that’s when I miss my mom the most. I wish I was able to have someone understand the things I do.
Sophie: How about Jennifer?
Milo: Jennifer was my dad’s best friend since, like, childhood. They knew each other when they were practically babies. Jennifer helped raise me in a way; she was there for most of my childhood and all of that. I love Jennifer, she’s great, but–
Sophie: She’s not your biological mom.
Milo: Yeah. I just wish I had the answers to some things that my dad doesn’t have answers for.
Sophie hugs Milo. Milo is in shock. Once she pulls back, he looks at her, face red.
Milo: What was that for?
Sophie: For trusting me with your story.
Milo smiles and begins to discuss more details about the project. Sophie shows the Polaroids to Milo as they develop.
It’s 2007 and Milo’s mom and dad are sitting in the tree house; she’s doing homework as he’s gently playing on the guitar. She looks at him and smiles. He does the same thing back.