Saturday, May 10, 2008

House is Not a Home Part IV

It is mine, all mine and only mine, the first bedroom to have been mine since I was a child. No one else has a say as to what I have or what I do in here.

My personal space.

Spotless, almost empty.

I moved from the master bedroom into this room three days after I moved into my apartment, just as I moved from the master bedroom into my studio back at HBK and for similar reasons. The people downstairs fight every night, vicious, ugly fighting which spills out into the street as one or the other picks up their little boy and threatens to leave. The screams and cries are too much for me. I cannot handle that, it sends me back to a place I cannot go, so I moved into the other bedroom and enjoy the silence. Time has passed and they moved a few days ago somewhere else to wake someone else's memories, be someone else's nightmare.

When she joined me, my daughter took that room. She shuts the door on her safe haven, her bed, computer, bath, a world inside with no one to pester her. We hope the new neighbors are peaceful or at least restrict their fighting to normal business hours and not to third shift.

The ducks and egrets sing, their voices alternating with the low blue whistle of the train, that train which passes at midnight, 3 am, 5 am, that train going anywhere but here. If I sleep, it wakes me 5 o'clock, telling me to call my daughter and remind her to go to school. The whistle sighs her name, Call L, tell L we love her, we will always love her.

At night, on my too high bed which is too far from the floor, on top of my quilt, white with a pattern of violets, of course violets, what other kind of flower would I tolerate, lace edged and my dark purple sheets, six pillows prop my back. I look out the window to the other side while I work. The vague glow of my laptop and the purple twinkling christmas lights which ring the room guide my hands. The blinds are open and across the retention pond I see the lights of the car wash, the boat dock and John Young Pkwy in the distance, bright enough to blot out the stars.

The purple framed shield shaped mirror hangs directly across from me so I can glance up at any time I chose and reassure myself that I am safe, sane and whole. Is it vanity to have a mirror reflecting my bed, reflecting me in all my moods and guises? Do I care? In the corner stands a ripple of mirror, a candy ribbon, from IKEA, forming the second part of an incomplete triptych. Will I finish it, get another mirror for the other corner or will I instead buy that striking floor lamp whose shape is the same as mine? I'll decide that another night. For a few days, I had a hydra headed floor lamp next to the bed, but moved it into the living room, shifting it from sofa to desk as needed, capricious, as I shift from one work area to another.

You can see into my room from the picnic table which sits in the grassy area between my building and the retention pond. Various and sundry hang out at that table, lighting up cigarettes, inhaling smoke and losing time. Carlos and Javier wave at me late at night. When I see Carlos the next day, he tells me that I shouldn't worry, he'll watch my back. Which makes me laugh as he seems so stoned I get this urge to transfuse his veins with chicken soup and bring him back to this planet's reality.

The only night table high enough for me is my dad's old folding table. It's all I have of my dad, this steel tray table. I have sofas from my brother, a matched pair of Victorian chaise lounges. They are lovely to look at and only to look at, the shape deliberately designed to discourage long visits. They live at HBK. Long visits are discouraged there, too. My mom left me fifty-one Canadian maple leafs but those are long gone and part of the reason I have this room of my own.

The night table is a tableau of magazines, books, (Douglas Hofstadter, I am a Strange Loop, which I read five to ten pages at a time, savoring his words) maps for work, the work I do for the paper, a bottle of water, a mug filled with pens and markers, custom made for me with my name spelled correctly, and an ankle brace although I cannot imagine what purpose it serves or remember why it is there. I leave it. It seems too much trouble to find a better place to store it.

On the door frame, 2/3 of the way up is the purple and silver leather mezzuzah which went up before I moved into this place, this place I am trying to make into a home, this place which while it does not speak to me, it does not make me cry.

1 comment:

Independent Accountant said...

I have a few things of Irwin's. Some pairs of socks. Believe it, or not, they've lasted 27 years! Also a pair of glasses. Somewhere.