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Monday, February 28, 2011


This week's memoir writing prompt was to tell about a room from your past in great detail. At first I had trouble with this because the rooms of my past are not happy ones and I didn't want to write about them so I added my own little twist on it. I took a room from my present and I wrote a short fiction piece. I imagined myself 50 years from now thinking back on the room and how I would remember it.

“No, not that one. Leave it like it is,” I told the painters.
Finally I was getting the house painted. It had been several years and was in desperate need of a fix up.
“Ok ma’am. You sure you don’t want that one done. It’s in worse shape than the others,” the painter said,

“No, I am sure. I want it left just the way it is,” I replied.
The painter shook his head and walked away. He didn’t care. He was getting paid the same regardless if he painted that room or not.
It had been awhile since I had sat in that room. I knew what others saw when they looked at it. Its white paint faded to light beige along the top.  Most of the paint had chipped and fallen to the floor. I was constantly sweeping up the paint chips and dust. Oh how the dust loved that room. It always had. When it was our room, I use to complain that five minutes after I had cleaned you couldn’t even tell it.
His work desk still sat in the corner. Just the way he had left. The last book he was working on still lay there. I couldn’t move it. Couldn’t get rid of it. I  could still smell him in that room. I smiled. How many laughs had we shared in that room.
The bright red curtains that covered the winows were now faded from the sun. The edges frayed from where the cat use to climb them daily. As if  summoned by my thoughts, he rubbed up against my legs. I  held out my hands and he jumped into my waiting arms. “Helicopter,” I  could hear him say. That was what we called the cat whenever he made his purring sound. If cats have orgasms, that is the sound they would make.
Finally I allow myself to look at it. It was hard to miss, but I  had not been letting myself look in its direction. It was a 10x8 painting. Of him.

When he was younger, long before we had met, his art teacher had painted this painting of him. It was so realistic. Every detail had been captured. He even had his 5’clock shadow. The little mole on the right side of his chin. The mischievous grin that often spread across his lips. There was only one thing missing. The sparkle. They didn’t capture the sparkle in his eyes. The way his eyes shined when they looked at me. Only I ever saw that sparkle.
The cat jumped down. Probably after some mouse or lizard hiding somewhere. I wiped the sweat that had begun to drip from my brow. Stifling heat. Our room had been the hottest room in the house during the summer. Even with the fan on full blast, you could barely catch your breath it was so hot. Many summer nights were spent sleeping on the roof just to escape the overpowering heat of that room. In winter it would be so cold. Even with the heat on full I  was still able to feel the chill in the air.
“Ma’am”, a voice behind her called.

Startled I  remembered the painters that were there to paint the house. I  slowly closed the doors to the room. That was the room I  had been married in. The children were born in. That was the room we would argue in, and then make up in. That room was the first place I  had felt safe in. The first room I  had felt at home in. I  didn’t want to change it.
Every few years I  would have  the house painted, and each time I  would spend five minutes explaining to the new painters that “No, I want that room left as it is. Just paint the rest of the house.” Each time a young man would raise an eyebrow quizzically, but say nothing. I  paid them for painting the whole house even though they never touched that room.
It was our room. I  wanted it to remain just the way it was. Untouched by the world. Filled with our love.


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