A part of me would like to believe that this was one of the hardest rooms to bid adieu to but it truthfully wasn’t. I think all in all each individual room was difficult for its own, separate reasons but your lounge room definitely held quite the consensus. Both beautiful memories and horrendous events transpired in this quaint little room of yours.
Thankfully the good outweigh the bad.
Wonderful moments I recalled were mostly childhood ones since this was the room my brother and I used to venture to whenever we visited. It was like our own allocated room of awesomeness that we got all to ourselves while the adults conversed in the kitchen. The big TV was ours for the taking and I quickly learned how to manage and work its worn down digits effortlessly from the moment I was allowed to touch it. It’s picture was hardly vibrant but clear enough for our earnest little eyes but it was the sound vibrating out of those speakers who had a life of its own, at times muting itself as if in protest of our constant tom foolery with its settings.
There was also that mysterious wall unit that the TV sat within, adorned with your collection of tiny trinkets and glass goblet collections. I was always so captivated and curious by what lay hidden away inside. Intrigued by the vinyl’s stacked upon each other in the glass cabinet section, the cover art of The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band so intricate and bright always made my imagination run rampant with creative ideas. But it was the cabinet that sat beside it and was partially obscured by the large record player unit that always had my fingers itching to know what treasures lay await.
One day I did such a thing and boldly went where no child had before. I daringly opened its heavy doors and found rolls upon rolls of Christmas wrap, bags of curling ribbons and stick on bows in every color of the rainbow and then some! I remember running to you and informing you of my discovery, completely blown away with such a discovery because you had always been someone who never wrapped presents! Even at Christmas! It was like I had discovered a pot of gold. It wasn’t until my sticky fingers later uncovered an extra-large box of Whitman’s Sampler that I realized the jackpot I had actually been sitting on. Skillfully unwrapping and releasing the box of temptingly chocolaty goodness from its plastic confines as only a young, greedy child can and sneaking a chocolate or two for my brother and I. Eating our fill and as silently as possible then placing that box back in its hiding place. It was the perfect crime. Repeating the stealth like process every other time we came over until the box was eventually empty. By the following week, another box of delights would reappear in its place.
It’s hard to come into this room and not find that oversized, retro but somewhat cool wall unit standing proud in it’s resting place and that even older, museum worthy piece of a television sitting at its core. Though the television has since long gone that wall unit now sulks alone, scattered about in your dreary garage. And inside that room, all that remains is a stark wall, void of life except for a few protruding wires poking their unwanted heads from under the skirting. Your couches remain as they were as does that coffee table but are both now scattered with remnants and teeny knickknacks that you once loved dearly and collected feverishly.
Those delicate pieces you used to seek me for style advice on even at a young age, asking for my opinion on where one would place a new acquisition then paying me with a shiny fifty cent piece. Eventually that coin turned to a gold one, then turned into note form as I grew bigger. I used to get annoyed at this, never quite understanding why you needed my help in displaying champagne flutes but now I know better. Any excuse to see us, any song to shower us with your love and gifts because that was the person you are. Always giving and ever knowing. You were and probably will only ever be the only person to really know me and understand my potential. Even when I never saw it, you had faith in your instincts and in the unknown.
There’s also those deplorable memories that water my eyes but not in a good way. Like that one Saturday night. The whole family was at your place celebrating your birthday and after dinner we all made our way into the lounge room at my uncles direction to watch some television. Something we always did. My brother and I were playing with our Lion King toys, his was Simba and mine Nala, both battling it out as toys do and as always resulting in a brawl between my brother and I while my cousins sat beside us enjoying the show. I’m not quite sure what exactly transpired in this argument, whether I hit him or said a naughty word but whatever it was it sent my father into a fit of rage. He got up of the couch and struck me square across the cheek, with such force that sent me airborne, flying into the corner of your couch. It’s solid wooden surface pounding me firmly on the opposite side of my face. I remember how that burning pain dissolved into the burning shame that soon followed when I picked myself off the floor and noted everyone watching me. I had to bite my tongue sharply to keep tears at bay because I didn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing me wounded.
I ran to the kitchen knowing it wouldn’t be long before those tears managed to flood over. You came after me, comforting me over the atrocity that just occurred, wiping away my tears with a soft tissue. You gave me some ice for my eye and told me how we mustn’t fight because we are brother and sister. My auntie also come out to check up on me but it was your kindness and compassion that stuck to me the most, trying to cheer up my bruised ego and repair at my further severely damaged self-worth.
The next day we were all going to the zoo and waking up to find a garish dark bruise around my eye and side of my face I prayed no one would notice. Keeping positive until my uncle showed up and pointed it out, trying to make light of the situation by making a joke on how I reminded him of a zebra and to keep away from the lions in case they mistook me for lunch. It didn’t help and left me terrified the whole time, almost wetting myself as we neared the lion enclosure.
I remember the fun we’d have with your couches. They had high backs and bouncy cushions making them ideal to jump on – though you never approved of this and always scalded us when we were caught out. I used to love doing hand stands and acrobatics on its surface and one time even contemplated using the chandelier as a monkey bar, desperately needing to swing from it. I may have even asked you for permission, though I am not quite sure.
Even as I grew older and after you’d left this world I still found comfort on those couches. Every time I needed space and came over, I found myself sitting on the couch beside the front window, just thinking. Sometimes talking to you. It was a safe place for me and even a means to an end at times. I remember after I lost my job I would come over and spend the day there when I was meant to be ‘working’ for the sake of keeping up appearances. I’d have my laptop with me, television turned on and just create. Some of the best photo’s I’d taken had been here, even selfies of myself! It wasn’t until I got caught by mum that I stopped going over, mostly because she hid the keys from me.
I think it was at that point were I no longer felt like I held claim to this house, that I could use it as freely as I had, even when you were alive. It was simply snatched away from my apparent evil clutches. It was also the point in which I decided to fight for this house and keep it as it once was, though I failed at both miserably. Lost the house and lost you.
Now I have no idea what the room will become, though I am sure a gaudy television and sound system will be in place. Possibly the center of many a drunken night and the mere thought of those antique couches becoming stained with beer and crisps tugs firmly at my heart. I do know that I will probably never set foot there again.