Recently turned seven-year-old me lays on the floor of my brand-new bedroom in our brand-new house in Alvin. This room is so much bigger than my old bedroom in the little wood rent house on the other side of town. It has clean white walls that smell of fresh paint, and avocado green carpet—a tightly sculptured carpet that feels rough against my cheek if I lay my head down without care. In the years to come, I’ll suffer more than one carpet-burned knee while playing on the floor with the baby sister who will make an appearance when I’m almost ten.
Along the wall facing the street is a single window underlined by a window seat. The seat intrigues me, but sadly it’s too high to actually sit on. Over the years it will serve a multitude of purposes: a place to display books, toys, and knickknacks. At one point, my bed will be situated under that window seat and late at night I’ll hold my breath when I think I hear footsteps in the grass outside. I’ll finally figure out it’s the sound of my hair rubbing against my pillowcase, and I’ll feel mighty foolish. For now, though, the seat is unadorned and ripe with potential.
I am most excited about the closet across the room from where I lay. It’s a walk-in closet. I’ve never seen such a thing, especially a closet with a BOOKCASE built on one wall. The shelves are empty now, but I imagine all of my books filling those shelves once Mama and Daddy bring everything over from the old house. I’ve already brought one of my books: The Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales. Mama said I could read in my new room while she and Daddy took care of business. I carefully open the red clothbound book and begin to read the story of The Six Swans to the best of my first-grade abilities.
Recently turned fifty-three-year old me lays on the floor of my old bedroom in my old childhood home in Alvin. It’s been a long year of budget conscious renovations and a lot of sweat equity after inheriting a house that showed every bit of its forty-six years. The brand-new carpet is beige and much softer than the sculptured stuff that insulted my knees so long ago and the walls have been freshly painted a neutral shade chosen by my forty-two-year old “baby” sister. Our decisions and hard work have paid off: we have a buyer.
There’s no evidence of the federal blue walls I had when I was twelve, or the cream walls trimmed with dark green woodwork my sister chose when she switched rooms after I left home. With paint brushes and rollers, we have erased the painted purple clouds sprinkled with glitter meant to cheer her kids up after the three of them moved back home for a while following her divorce.
My mind wanders back through the years as I rest my chin on the back of my hands, staring at the crisp, clean white painted baseboard no more than a foot from my face. The room is as empty as it was when I was seven years old, and I wonder what the new owners will do—how will they make it theirs? I roll over and look across the room to that bookcase in the closet. It occurs to me that all these years I’ve called it a bookcase, and it was probably meant to store shoes and purses and folded clothing.
I hope the new owners call it a bookcase, too.