Let me tell you about my home:
It’s small, square-foot-wise, but it feels larger because it’s tall. Three stories, in fact. It’s part of a big building with many other apartments in it.
On the first story, the ground floor, there is the front door. It leads to a small hallway. On one side, there is the library, with two large, plush chairs and a small tv wedged in between the stacks of books. There’s also a small record player. On the other side is the kitchen, seldom used. At the end of the hall is a wrought iron spiral staircase. You walk up the stairway and…
Arrive at the second floor. There’s my dad’s bedroom, comprised of dark stained wood and luxurious navy blue. By the bed there is a table, set on top is a globe. Small pins dot it, marking the countries to which he’s traveled. There’s also a small bathroom adjoining. The staircase doesn’t stop here; it merely lets you off before continuing to spiral upwards.
Finally, the top floor. My room. You probably think that just because I’m a seventeen year old girl who grew up without a mother, that my room must be Spartan and manly, due to the lack of feminine influences in my life. That or I tried to compensate for said lack by over-decorating with frills and lace and rainbows and unicorns and all that jazz.
Both guesses would be wrong.
Instead, my room is green, filled with plants. All potted, with some set on the floor, others hanging from the ceiling in baskets. There are Christmas cacti and African violets. There are herbs, mint and basil and rosemary and lavender, on the windowsill. There’s a tree of unknown species that I grew from a seed I found long ago when I was seven. It’s my own little forest.
When I come home from school, I lay back and pretend that I live anywhere but the city, with its skyscrapers, smog, and cracked concrete. There are too many abandoned lots with dead (or dying) sprigs of grass trying in vain to put up new, live shoots. There are too few trees, too many telephone lines. There are too few parks.
So I stay at home in my bedroom most days. I pretend I’m in a different world. During the summer though, when even the A/C refuses to cool my room, I open my window a crack and sometimes, I hear music.
Not blasting from the stereos of cars, the quality broken up by half opened windowpanes and hot air and moving bodies, shouting and laughing. No, sometimes it’s a plaintive cry, other times a joyful voicing. Secretly, I wish I could play like that.
I even bought a keyboard from Craigslist. I wanted to find my inner virtuoso but I think she’s still in hiding. It just doesn’t sound the same. So, in the meantime, I just sit on my bed and listen to the notes that find their way through my window.