For the longest time, her mother’s room was forbidden space. Occupied or vacant, the door at the top of their townhome stairs remained closed. Rare glances within revealed a foreign landscape tucked into their home.
It was all going away. Where, she didn’t know, into trucks and then somewhere else probably. Words like eviction and seizure had been used to frighten her before, but had not been explained in any way she could take hold of.
For a short time, the townhome remained with the old locks, bread molding in the cupboards, and empty unmade beds. The unfamiliar space above the stairs still loomed over her. She climbed steadily under its heavy gaze. There was no longer any taboo to trespass upon.
She pushed the door wide and let the handle spring back with an ugly sound. Everything was just as it had always been. The wide bed, an oak wardrobe, the vanity. Once, she’d illicitly run her fingers over the carved wood and mirror glass, only to retreat at the sound of her mother’s footsteps.
Now she ignored the pretty thing and its gathered tools of deception and cultivation. She wasn’t looking for damning secrets. Those had been plundered, aired, and punished.
She checked the nightstand, the shelves in the closet, under the bed. Finding nothing, she became creative, searching behind the framed paintings, between the mattresses, and beneath the wardrobe. There were no battered shoeboxes filled with scribbled drawings or finger-painted memories. No ugly pictures tucked into books, no old schoolwork or macaroni presents hidden on the highest shelf.
She tossed aside the metal grate of the heating vent. It scraped a curl of paint from the wall. She felt a nostalgic thrill of panic before she noted the emptiness of the vent. Not a single faded report card or polaroid.
It was just her mother’s room, without hidden depths or regard, filled with props to sell an empty life. She didn’t close the door when she left.
This week, Raw Rambles challenged me to write something inspired by one of my favorite songs, Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek. Her wonderful piece can be read here.