Monday, April 4, 2016
Room With A View
I had a co-worker/friend who wanted me to meet her parents and so one lunch hour she took me to their small city apartment. The first thing I noticed was a rather odd still life on top of the hi-fi in the living room. There sat pictures of my co-worker and her sister as schoolgirls with hand painted macaroni necklaces slung between the frames. Also included in this collection were two pairs of bronzed baby shoes, other small childhood artifacts and some long tapered lit candles. "I told you", my friend whispered as she leaned into my ear. It was right then and there that I decided I would never have an altar for any grown child of mine. This vow was made before I was even married.
When my daughter grew up and left home, she left behind a small room with lilac walls and a big empty closet. I was excited that I would at last have simultaneous summer and winter clothes storage but I also began to craft a view of myself in that room. I saw myself reading on an as-yet-undiscovered loveseat looking out of the second story window to a sea of green from the woodlands behind the house. I saw myself sitting in a cozy feminine chair at night in my slippers and shawl sipping a last cup of tea and watching TV. I saw myself napping, exercising, daydreaming, and chatting companionably to friends on the phone, my leg dangling nonchalantly from said loveseat. I knew I wanted to claim that room as soon as possible. And although I have a fair amount of pictures of my daughter, a drawer filled with grammar school art, not to mention Mother's Day presents created by precious little hands, I knew I would have no shrines in this room.
Soon I spackled and painted the walls. I took a chance and bought an alarmingly large antique armoire to hold the television and DVD player. I found a faded rose-colored love seat with dainty flowing lines, a little tapestry vanity chair to hold magazines, and a graceful orchid plant. But the pièce de résistance which thrilled me the most was a cheap white half-wall bookcase that now holds my entire collection of style books which for years, were inconveniently helter-skelter under my bed.
Last week as I perched on the new loveseat, I surveyed all that is mine and wistfully looked out the window trying to imagine the bare-branched trees in their soon-to-be green dress. My eyes happily skimmed the titles of the books in my new shelf just before I smugly took stock of my winter sweaters, stacked up in the closet like drums. The view is of a literary life full of reading and writing, and evening quietude to restore the soul. But it only took a quick audit to see that as I look to the future, something was missing from the past. Turns out it was a small round photo of a little girl in a pink tutu.