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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Room Where I Never Go



“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt
____________________

Every now and then, I have a dream where I discover a new room in my home. These dreams are never the quite same: sometimes the rooms are filled with stuff; other times they are empty, even down to the bare walls.
One room was populated with elves.
I have read where such dreams are not uncommon – that they are often symbols representing current aspects of our lives. I don’t doubt this at all, but I can say this: the dreams are both a lot of fun and disconcerting. I mean, how can one live in a home for 25 years and not know a room is there? In our awake hours, we live in a land of logic, but our dreams are opportunities to engage in whimsy and illogic, so I’m willing to go with it.
I had the “room” dream last night but with a slight twist: the room in question was not an unknown or hidden one, but just a room that has always been there and totally ignored and largely forgotten in an “out-of-mind” sort of way.
As always, I relate my dreams in the present tense.

My husband and I decide to rent a room out to a college student – I suppose for financial reasons, although this is not quite clear.
We’re not quite sure how we will manage this, given that our extra rooms are full, the upstairs bedroom taken by my son and grandchild, who stay with us once a week (a bit of reality injected into the dream).
I consider converting the back room – my work area – but I am reluctant to give up this space. The possibility of losing the space where I write and do my web work saddens me tremendously.
But this is something that must be done, so we place an ad in the local school paper and are now offering a tour to potential tenants, two young ladies who plan to share the room while they are in college.
I can see that the girls are not quite on board with what we have to offer. I can’t say that I blame them; my work area is messy, boxes and containers stacked everywhere. I reassure them that the room will be completely cleaned out and remodeled – that we are simply waiting to make sure that we have actual tenants before making any major changes.
But then I spot the hallway that leads to the room where I never go (I can’t speak definitively for my husband, but I suspect he has never revisited this space, either).
In the 25 years I have lived in this house, I have only been in this room once. It’s not like I have feared this room, just a sense that we never really needed it, so we closed it off and pretty much forgot it – until now.
Still, I’m feeling kind of queasy about going there. Part of the reason stems from the fact that the former owners had left behind some of their stuff, and over the years, we just got too busy or too lazy to deal with someone else’s junk, even as we have been hampered by it.
But, strangers or no strangers, now is the right time to reopen this room and reassess what is there.
“We have another room,” I tell the girls, a bit reluctantly. I’m not quite sure what is there or what kind of shape it’s in; it could be filled with mice or bugs and other nasty stuff, certainly a serious coating of dust. It seems a bit risky to enter this room with strangers in tow, but it feels impossible to stop the tour now.
They are obviously dubious, but they quietly follow me.
A long hallway leads to the room, which is locked.
I have a black skeleton key in hand.
The hallway, although “strange” to me, is non-threatening, gleaming white walls with various paintings, many of them from our real collection (currently packed away).
I unlock the door.
We enter.
The room is very large, the walls painted mint green, the floors gleaming hardwood, a picture window into the yard and several smaller windows. There is even a door leading out into the backyard (Why have I never noticed from the outside this door before?).
Surprisingly, my fears of vermin and dust are totally unfounded. Yes, it is slightly dusty, but nothing like one would expect after 25 years of neglect. The room has a warm waxy and lemony scent mixed with a woodsy tinge, a pleasant odor straight from my childhood.
As we enter, the interest of the two girls has been piqued – their breaths are more like gasps of pleasure.
The room is more like a studio apartment; in one corner, there are white kitchen cupboards (filled with nice china and pretty glasses) and drawers (filled with matching silverware), a countertop with small appliances, a small stove, a Formica table with chairs, and a small refrigerator, plugged in and humming along.
With dread, I open the refrigerator door. Fortunately, it’s empty and gleaming inside, although I’m a bit miffed because I have unknowingly been paying electricity to run it for so many years.
Walled off, there is a small bathroom, with toilet, sink, and shower. While outdated in style (more 70’s than late 80’s), it is squeaky clean, not even a ring in the toilet.
There are three beds, ranging from large to small (Three bears? LOL), all lined up according to size.
They, too, are in great shape, especially the large wrought iron bed, which is quite awesome. It is black with an intricate Fleur de lis pattern.


On the bed are two twin mattresses that have been lovingly stitched together to form a king mattress and covered with plastic. The two smaller bed frames are made of a bright cherry wood; the middle bed a double, the smaller a single. The mattresses, all covered in plastic, look to be in perfect shape.
– Almost as if this room has been vacuumed sealed for the past 25 years.
I plan to keep these items – moving the twin bed upstairs for Rhia, our granddaughter.
One anomaly: A small oak table tucked in one corner, very dusty and cobwebby. The top of the table lifts up and reveals an extremely dirty machine, quite possibly a sewing machine, but very ominous looking and smelly.
I make a note to get rid of this repugnant item.
I don’t see any living room furniture, but there would be room for it. In fact, this room does need to be filled more – I note that there are no book shelves and nothing on the walls.
The possibilities are exciting.
Looking out the window, I notice a tree that has flat, broad leaves shaped like spades. The middle of them are the typical green, but the edges depict a blush of red – breathtakingly beautiful. Their shimmer in the wind makes a soothing whooshing sound – natural white noise.

Has this tree always been there? Why have I never noticed it?
Is this a parallel world, only accessible through this room?
I wonder.
Suddenly, I no longer want these strangers here; I don’t want to give up this room at any price; I want to hustle the strangers out as soon as possible.
I want to move my work area here, to be able to rest in that large Fleur de lis bed when I’m weary from too many hours of writing , to stare out at those lovely leaves, to go through that door into a magical Shangri-la, accessible only through this specific door.
How do I get out of leasing this place to these girls, who are obviously ready to write a deposit check?
A sadness fills me...

Of course, I awaken at this important juncture of decision: do I simply hustle the girls out or accept them as part of the family, for at least a year?
Could I offer them the small oak table as a consolation? After all, what is repugnant to me might not be for them.
I am known for my lack of sewing skills, and the small oak table looked suspiciously like a sewing table.
Anyway, I woke up before I had the opportunity to decide.
I see all kinds of potential symbolism here, but I would rather just enjoy the wonder of rediscovery – if only in my own dreams.









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