A room with a view
June 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
Writing 101, Day Two.
We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.
My room with a view. My room with its rough woollen carpet, a dull and dusty pink. My room with its with sickly yellow curtains, heavy with gruesome prints of roses. My room with its old, faun colored bones, smelling and aching like a 50 year old body – not yet “old”, clinging still to “mid-life”.
Yet this bare room, a wide expanse of nothing but dated decor and memories of something that was once great, this room was now mine and therefore immeasurably special.
I took to it like I take to all living spaces – passionately and with fervour. In only a couple of hours the dusty carpet was invisible; vision torn instead to my massive bed and ottoman, centre-stage. The sickly curtains were strewn open; roses banished to the edges of the window frame and zodiac crystals hung from the curtain rail. Photos and art covered the boney walls, scarves were flung across the tops of doors, necklaces draped in front of mirrors, candles and votives sat in every spare spot. Books piled high on set of drawers, on the floor, on top of the dresser. Soon enough clothes too were scattered across the room and my fingerprints became smudged on the light switches and door frames.
This bedroom, like all others before it, became an extension of me. It became a living, breathing, full and deep habitat, reflecting my identity as well as anything could.
And in this dusty, scattered, lived in room, some of my life’s most momentous moments occured.
I remember the first time I made love to the man who is now my husband; it happened in that bedroom. I remember it vividly, not for the magic of our intimacy or the sensation of his fingertips on my skin, but the way the late afternoon sun penetrated through the curtains. It was a stinking hot day and we had both been drinking. As we stumbled into my room, tugging at the curtains and our clothes, I remember feeling like I would suffocate. The sun had been beating into my room all afternoon, leaving it like an oven. As I laid back on the bed, I looked up at the curtains behind me and the intense dark yellow of the curtains and the sunlight combined made my head spin. The room seemed to blur with vapours of alcohol, sweat and saliva.
In that same room, after only several weeks, I laid naked on top of the man’s chest and fell into his eyes as he said “Yes, I love you”. I forget what the light looked like that day.
Another eighteen months later, we were in bed once again (always my bed) but there were tears falling this time. He was crying quietly as he retold the conversation in which he told his wife he was leaving her. The sheets were cold and pale. I think it was winter. A fleeting thought: how far we have traveled since that first afternoon in the yellow light…
Some nights I would light the candles and throw a red silk scarf over my beside lamp which would cast a soft, hazy light over the room. In the mornings it was always dark when he slipped into bed next to me and it was always too soon that my digital clock would glare its angry red numbers at me, accusing me of not getting out of bed on time.
My life changed and in some ways was defined in that one room. I loved, I hurt, I laughed and cried. Always on the same dusty carpet, behind the same ugly curtains, within the same old bones. My room with a view.