Posted June 29th, 2018 by Swallowtail
in new york/massachusetts
my first room was named roost. it was small with purple walls and a little slant under which my roommate slept. we had rugs and lights and kept it perfectly tidy, beds and tea made every morning at six, when the morning light first started to light up my wall. roost was laughing and staying up late for the hell of it, old jazz and spiced tea on sunday afternoons, a new book every week. roost was also lonely. roost was waking up sunday morning to find myself alone in the building, crying in front of our old mirror, watching everyone make friends and just being a step back, a short walk away. roost was a good room, purple and tidy and studious. however, roost is gone now, turned to cold tile and sea green doors, and so its hard to say whether it was such a good room or if its just time bending memories.
my next room was named pluckett. pluckett was square and boxy, everything symmetrical and perfectly in line. we strung lights and draped gauze and it refused to be anything but a box. our door was nice though, the same green as every other, but it was my first room with a green door and so it was a novelty, it was special. we hung a wreath made of autumn leaves and queen annes lace, and that first week people would poke their heads in just to compliment our door. pluckett was considerably more of a mess than roost, with our clutter spilling onto the worn red carpet and my yarn always inexplicably tangled. pluckett was also lonely, by no fault of anyone, but still lonely. this lonely was a little different, more empty, and it carried with it the sharp edge of metal. it was listening to the thrum of feet below me with my eyes closed, the constant opening and closing of my door by people who were never seeking me, sitting curled in the yellow hall as night spun to day. when all of my belongings were piled on my bed, pluckett was the most dismal i'd ever seen it. 'it was such an empty room, i can't even remember the color of the walls.
peanucket was next, directly across the yellow hall but a world away. lights dripped everywhere, around our one window, in lines across the ceiling, hanging like spiderwebs in our many corners. my bed was tucked snug under the window. every morning my wall was washed blue and every evening the sky lit pink. at first, peanucket was good. it was common interests and the smooth green leaves of plants and pleasant late nights, but then, just like my rooms before, peanucket was lonely. it was empty space and whispered conversations and metal, metal, metal. soaking rain and cold drafts and springs digging into my back. peanucket was my heart beating so fast i couldn't stop trembling, peanucket was slipped tears. the walls whispered consolation, a calming but useless light blue, and our dripping lights kept the dark back, but it still almost wasn't enough. i don't remember moving out of peanucket, but i remember sitiing on the edge of my bed with my roommate, the two of us looking at our lights, and talking of how much we'd miss them when peanucket was no more.
i don't remember moving out of peanucket, but i do remember moving into blue room. true to its name, blue room really was blue, a bright lovely blue. i went back there once and found the walls a light and faded blue, no brighter than peanuckets, but in all my memories they are rich and lovely. right from the start, blue room was loud. we dragged our things and jumped from beds in huge thumps, climbed around in our closet, blared obnoxious country music late at night, and huddled with ramen on the floor to laugh obnoxiously over vines. blue room was a collection of stupid things, and every one of them was lovely. i lived in a box of lights suspended off the ground, and so every night i had to clamber up a collection of dressers to get to my bed. at the end of blue room, loneliness started to edge back it, but my roommates and i screamed until it went away. the end of blue room was awful. it was empty beds and walls fading along with memories, tearful goodbyes and promises that remain unfulfilled.
attic was hot. and dark. large with low, sloping ceilings, thick carpet, one light, and two small windows. i hit my head more times than i could count, and i plastered the walls around my bed with as many lights as i could, but it was still dark. attic was sad, too. sadness dripped down from our dark ceiling, slid into every corner, and filled our mouths and eyes. we tried, we tried so hard to make it better, but attic stretched out that space between our beds into an infinitely long distance, so none of it made much of a difference. attic was late nights in that same yellow hall, tears masked by rain, and the taste of metal and not much else. we tried to make attic not awful, but every one of us was glad to be out of that dark, hot, low room.
my next room was casida. it was a large room, and full with people, but still somehow impossibly empty. like peanucket, it started off well, with loud late nights and pizza and stupid drawings hung on our walls, but then quickly spiraled into nights where every bed but mine was empty, concerned questions, hours spent curled up, hoping my lights will help, somehow. casida wasn't all bad though, it was also colorful yarn and candies and everyone huddling together for room movie nights, and if one or two of us just didn't eat the popcorn, it was okay. casida was divided in half, with two good friends on one side and the rest of us on the other. still, there were nights when we all sat together and everything was good. at some point, when it started to get bitterly cold, the other four slid out of casida and a new four came in. i slid five feet to the left and about five feet up, and made my new home out of gauzy white strips and lovely tangles of light that surrounded me in bright constellations. right above my head, the sun woke me up each morning with soft pink light. casida this time was painted all over with melancholy and bitterness. casida this time was less lonely, but more angry. the loneliness was still there, but instead it lingered over my head and would occasionally shake me awake in the middle of the night. then it just stayed one time and didn't leave, and i blared the oldest music i could find through broken earbuds to drive it off. casida this time was the sharp poke of ribs and hips and only ever wearing one of two things.
halfway through casida the second time, i found myself twenty hours away in a hotel room painted gold by the sun, hundreds of feet above a fragile city. this room was laughing at the tv and dancing and also panic attacks and spiraling dizziness, running and running on a treadmill until the world spun. but this golden room was also being given water and walks just to walk and gentle questions. then this golden room was slow sips of vanilla drinks and going out for food as if it were a normal occurence and watching stupid shows until late. this golden room was slowly recovering in this slowly recovering city, fragile and still a little empty but getting there.
casida this time ended well. with cherry tea and signing our names with sharpie and the slow winding of lights around hands, everything being packed slowly so conversations could drag just a little bit longer. when we left, casida was pristine and empty, and i saw no signs that i had ever lived there, despite the countless things i had managed to lose in that room.
my last room was mucket. officially a five person room, basically a seven person room, close to a ten person room. mucket was loud and such a patchwork, all of our areas clear boxes of our personality. pink quilts and bright flowers with handmade drawings, clean and white and full of stuffed animals, neat and tidy and spilling with schoolwork and her name, clean gray and polaroids mixed with the nonsensical, and piles of blankets and old books all surrounded by white gauze and dripping lights. none of us talked all that much, but we were all easy with each other. mucket was quiet and sensible, but at other times ridiculous and stupid, with wild antics and late nights of laughter. mucket was the same odd patchwork as its inhabitants, but for some reason, it worked. we forgot to leave our names anywhere, but we left enough holes in the wall that it should be fine.
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