The Remodelers’ Legacy
They tore down the wall and found the fireplace. Ash and age had stained the bricks, which they cleaned as best they could. The woodworking around the entry took more time. Some occupant in a misguided age had painted it, covered the grain and its ornamentation in generic white, but a scraper and painstaking hours released the relic within: chestnut, common enough in 1891 but a disappeared wood now. It took the years and the blight between to clarify its worth.
This is the living room in which our dogs play, where we drop crumbs while watching television, where our children have spilled juice, and that is as it should be: this is a room with history.
I am alone
my bedroom is not familiar
The door is closed
on the history
of my past.
I am alone
waiting for your knock
in my past
you must be there
I am alone
by new surroundings
I am waiting
where are you?
I am alone
in my memories.
I am alone
I touch the paint
on the walls
witness to so much
happiness with you
I am alone
birth of silence
of my life
where you reside.
I Don’t Think He’s Coming Back
Old blue carpet, cleaned a thousand times too many.
Toys in their containers, mismatched but well loved.
A bunk bed for one, because up is the only place left to go.
A rocket ship in a painting, a reminder of fear overcome.
The flimsy half wood door slams, this time for good.
Sometimes, it is in the going where we find our true selves.
Four walls, three dressers, three racks full of clothes.
Two windows, One restroom, and a closet full of who knows.
A big wall television and two lamps for the light.
Dallas Cowboys on the wall and bed set for the night.
Two bedside tables and a piece of mind.
Surrounds me with dreams in my "One of a Kind."
Built from the ground up.
It hasn't had the time,
It hasn't had the life.
Just a year old,
This home, this room
Is but a baby.
This room is waiting,
Just waiting for stories.
It wants to tell you,
Tell you everything.
Yet there is nothing,
Nothing to share.
Just the pitter-patter
Of feet and paws.
This room is waiting.
One day, this room will tell
All of the stories
That have yet to come.
I have been renting a duplex for the past 10 months. The bedroom is where I spend most of my time and all it contains is a bed, a desk, and a chair. A calendar hangs on the wall with scotch tape because the walls are too hard to drill or nail anything into. Knowing that this place was going to be temporary, I didn't bother much with decorating. I've gotten used to the lack of color in the room. This room has been the first place I've been living since moving back to my hometown. With that, it contains many of my secrets, such as my sadness from leaving a great city behind to come here. It contains my fear as I hear distant gunshots out my window frequently. It holds my anxiety of the unknown future. I've shed those emotions and secrets in this space and I like to think it holds them close in reverance behind its four walls.
I've had many moments laying on the bed, studying the details of the room. On the ceiling, I found little planet and star stickers painted over by the dull alabaster that surrounds me. They blend in so well with the grooves of the ceiling that I almost missed them. Maybe this was a child's room at one point? I remember having the same glow-in-the-dark stickers as a kid and staring at them from my bed. I would pretend I was traveling through space, an escape from the chaos at home. Above the door, there is the dust outline of a cross that once hung there. The nail and hook remain, but the cross was taken down. Maybe an older person lived in the room prior to the child, a grandparent followed by the grandchild. Maybe they were the same person and these are markings of their aging left behind.
I wonder what marking I'll be leaving behind. No matter how well I scrub and clean to get my damage deposit back, I'm sure I'll be leaving some trace of myself here. Will it be a tiny fleck of nail polish that flew onto the wall that I didn't notice? Will it be some of my cat's fur in the corner near his favorite sun spots? Maybe it could be the love and hope that I have learned to feel while residing within this space. During my time here, I came to the decision that I would try to thrive being back in my hometown. That would mean having to let go of some fears and work on pushing myself forward. Now, instead of looking at this place with despondency, I see it as a launching pad to greater things. I wonder what the other people will be like who will pass through this very room. Surely, there will be struggles and there will be happiness. There may be breakups or families being made. There may be excitement or fear. Whatever the case, I hope that it is filled with love, the same love I felt while living here.
If these walls could talk
Where I sleep at night is not my room, but the room of dozens of renters that came before my family and I. Romances, sleepless nights, teary pillowcases, a crack in the corner where the hole he punched in was spackled and painted over. If these walls could talk...Well, if they could I wouldn't listen. I don't want to know who came before me and what lies they told each other here. I don't want to know about the bunk beds that only held one child after the first year. I don't want to know about the wine stains on the wood beneath the carpet. These things are conditions of human life, despite their inhumanity. But to live my life, I try to avoid these ugly realities until my curiosity takes over. Because in the end I do want to know, against my better judgement.
My bed has a pillow on either end
one for myself
the other for my puppy.
Beneath the bed
there lies another bed
already made, it awaits being rolled out.
Across from both beds
recycled shoebox drawers with art supplies
whose sketches fold neatly in the scarlet accordion organizer.
Put aside from my interests
to the right rests my college career
retired on the shelf.
At the forefront the centerpiece
an article about my adoption from China
spread as though a map on the glass table.