I sit on the soft carpet and play with the light colors in the fringe. I’m not supposed to, but I like to pull single threads up and see what color I get. Make a little pile of carpety threads.
This is my space. My world. Mine alone. Earlier, I thought I had dance class but I guess Miss Sewell is sick or something. Weird. Feels like she’d never get sick. But that’s okay. For once I don’t have to be anywhere. I can just play. Right here. All by myself. I’m not supposed to close the door but I did. So I can be alone. I like alone.
It’s quiet in here. Just the sounds of me.
No sounds from the bright curtains handmade when I was a baby, made to look like the walls of a circus tent. Bright red and yellow and green.
No sounds from the rough brick walls painted pink. No sounds from the collectibles on the high shelves. The ceramic ballerinas and music boxes.
No sounds from my bed, piled with Cabbage Patch Dolls and stuffed animals being guarded by Pink Baby.
No sounds from my Barbie house. It’s really a shelf that my Aunt Karen wallpapered and put furniture in. But it’s the coolest Barbie house of my friends. They all have Barbie’s Dream Home, but my house is 4 stories high.
No sounds from the shelf with my plastic baskets of toys.
No sounds from my basket of ribbons or the animals painted on my mirror.
No sounds from my pink leggings or my sweatshirt with ballet shoes on it.
Just the sounds of me. My breath. The swish of my ponytail.
I spread out in the middle of the floor and set up my She-Ra and He-Man dolls through the carpet, pretending it’s grass. Cootie Bugs surround them eager to play too. I pull out my Barbie car, a light blue ’57 Chevy Convertible I’d begged Santa for for Christmas. It’s really for Barbies but I think She-Ra wants to drive. Christmas Kermit and Lamby come too.
I get up to pull down the Little People house when my mom pokes her head in my room. She looks at all my toys everywhere. Looks at me like I must be crazy.
“Clean it up.”
I pick up each toy and place it in its right basket. I have lots of toys. My relatives call me spoiled. It’s just my mom likes to buy stuff. So I have lots of toys. Soon they’re all in their right baskets, colorfully separated and organized on the shelf. Everything is where it goes.
I pick a book, The Nutcracker, and sit on the floor to read, squishing the carpet between my bare toes. I love this book because of the pretty illustrations (illustrations is one of my favorite words) but the story is good too. I want to be Clara one day in the ballet. But Clara in the book is just a doll.
My mom comes back in. Surveys the room with a keen eye. Making sure it’s perfect.
Christmas Kermit’s santa hat must have fallen off his head. It sits on the floor, bright red, like blood staining the light floor. In a moment I know.
I stop thinking. Stop feeling. Stop making noise in case that will make it all over.
It gets very loud. She’s loud. The room is loud. She rages through my room, pulls down the toy shelf, the baskets flying everywhere, toys everywhere. She grabs Christmas Kermit’s santa hat and stuffs it in my mouth, holds my nose closed. For too long I can’t breath.
I don’t know when she lets go. I cough. Cry. Cough. Shiver. Cough. Tears soak my sweatshirt with the ballet shoes on it. Wet ballet shoes. Shivering.
“Clean it up.”
It’s not really my space. Not really.
This was a post for The Red Dress Club's memoir prompt: A Room of Your Own. Think of a room from your past. It can be any type of room at all. Take a mental picture of that room. What happened there? What is it like? What is the atmosphere there? What are the smells, the sounds, the sights? How does it feel? Now reveal that snapshot to your reader.
This was really difficult to write, but once it got going, I couldn't stop it. Thanks so much for reading.
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