I’ve heard the suggestions like change your playground, stay away from those old haunts. Stay out of your own head. To hearing that popping sound as I take my head out of my – well, you know where.
Sitting down with a friend one day having coffee. Talking about how we felt and joking about the times we put those, “For rent signs,” in our minds.
Thinking that this great machine I like to call my brain will fix the problem sometimes. And we laughed – knowing that we share the same way of thinking.
We started telling each other how it is when we go to that place in our heads what I like to call room six.
Room six – just the name sounds amusing when I say it out loud.
But it’s not. Just one room. My room, your own room.
We all have a place that we go to when things are going on in our life.
Room six is a large room with one window and peeling ceiling with wallpaper walls.
Well, at least what’s left of the wallpaper, that is.
Looks like the preceding leaseholder had some fun tearing some of the wallpaper off in three of the corners.
But why just three? Now there’s a query.
Least they had their hands free.
Or maybe not.
It could’ve been done with their teeth I reason to myself. I’ve even heard that one could use their own toes to pick away at themselves to the point of bleeding. But let’s not go there at the moment.
Needless to say I don’t have my hands free along with the taste of wallpaper. That doesn’t appeal to me either.
I haven’t been in room six long enough to think about it and there’s that word right in itself – think.
That’s why I’m in room six now, anyway, is it not?
My large room has but one chair, tanned in color and by the window.
Listen to me, my over sized room, ha!
The chair is old and worn with age. Looks like somebody sat in it relatively often looking out the window. Which is not much to look at other than the wall of the building next to this one.
My room has no bed in it either. They must not consider that I will require any sleep.
The floor is white – well, most of it anyway.
Nice and white like after snow first falls.
Worn down in places like in front of the door or where the wallpaper in three of the corners is peeled away. But not in that one corner, I thought. That one blemish stands out the most.
The ceiling has but one light bulb, hanging down low from it. Old by the looks of it. Yellow with age. It has no string or switch on the wall to turn it on or off – it’s on now – but most of the light is coming from the window.
I decide then to walk over to the window and look out – that’s when it happens.
Let me try to put my thoughts in words that even I can understand.
I could smell things – not bad smells. But remembering smells.
Like candy apples at the state fair or cotton candy. The smell of rain on a spring night’s air, and I had to sit down.
Is this why the chair is here by the window? I thought to myself.
I was overwhelmed with intoxicating odors to the point where you could taste them. Sitting down I started to breathe easier – one breath at a time, slowly I told myself as I closed my eyes, slowly breathing through my nose.
Then they came at me again – these inhibitions forcing their way in.
The smell of an open field of wildflowers, the pages of a new book when you first open it. The smell of grass when cut. These odors reached out to me.
My mind was in a thousand different places all at once.
I don’t know how long I sat there, five minutes, ten – it could have been five hours just sitting there breathing slowly in and out.
At some time I opened my eyes to look out the window to see shadows dancing across the side of the building next to me. How long was I staring? Who knows – but the more I stared at those shadows they began to take shape.
It sounds mad I know sitting there having these overwhelming odors and now – now seeing shapes in the shadows, like children running or throwing a ball back and forth. Someone old sitting on a park bench feeding some birds, a couple holding hands while they walked away, and I cried.
One tear from my eye – down the side of my cheek.
I let it go and breathed in deeply.
The taste of my tear when it touched my mouth brought even more smells.
How long have I been sitting? I thought to myself.
My legs hurt and my feet were starting to tingle. I wanted to get up then. Start walking around – let the blood flow through my legs.
But it’s so nice – where did that come from, was that me?
This spot – it’s familiar.
Looking around my room, the three corners where the wallpapers were torn. The one wall where the door was at.
I looked at the far corner now. Dark and uninviting. But familiar just the same.
The window was too far away to cast any light on that side of the room and my one light bulb hanging down didn’t seem to shed enough light either.
I closed my eyes again, then stood up.
Feeling lightheaded. The images of the shadows still playing across my mind. Slowly – so slowly I open my eyes again, to see my door was open.
How long? How long has it been open?
There I was standing next to the chair feeling the rush of blood going back into my legs. How long?
I took a step towards the door – this is a dream – it’s not really open. I take another step and stop, my hands are free.
Free! For how long?
I touch my face running my hand through my hair. My tear dried long before.
I stopped looking back out my window to see the shadows playing across the building and they’re gone. I breathe in quickly – the smells they’re gone too!
How long? How long have I been standing there?
I face the door again. Open, it’s open.
I walk to the door slowly taking each breath, each sight in and I stop again to look down. The paint is worn not on the outside of the door – but inside where I’m standing.
Have I been here before?
Think – and there’s that word again.
The door is open. My hands are free. Just one step and I’ll be through that door.
I look back around now, I have been here before. I close my eyes again, I want to leave or do I want to stay?
With one step I walk through the door.
Eyes open most likely to come back again once more. My friend and I finishing up our coffee only to laugh at this place of mine I’ve come to call Room Six…