Over the holiday weekend I went to my mom's. I was tasked with the project of cleaning out and boxing up my childhood bedroom, which, all these years later, was still filled with my things--my books, collections, photos. Even my posters hung on the walls. The closets filled with bad 90's prom dresses. I thought it would be an easy. I thought wrong. 


I lie on the bed in my room and look out into the empty space. The walls look naked without my posters, the shelves lonely without my books. The room is dark, the light off, the window covered with a red blanket with the name of my brother’s college on it.

The darkness of the room fits my mood.

The room that held such life, such memories is now naught but empty furniture, a few cardboard boxes, 
and a couple of things left to be packed.

Everything remaining holds haunting memories. The bookshelf my dad made for my sixth birthday. The doll shelves built one by one to house my collections, which now sit in boxes to be sold or given away. The desk in the corner where I did my homework, built in an afternoon from a wine box and part of a door.

It's been difficult cramming a lifetime into a few boxes, deciding which memories are more important than others.

As I stare up at the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling, a gift for my 11th birthday from a friend, I feel like a chapter is closing on my life...a chapter I’m not sure I’m ready to end, though I knew it was coming.

“I'm sorry,” my mom says as she stands in the doorway, peering through the darkness, trying to find me among the furniture.

“People move,” I reply, unmoving on the narrow bed, wanting to be left alone a little longer. This has been the only home I ever knew in my childhood. Through all my wanderings and travels, it's always been there, waiting for me, filled with dolls, trophies, and books, white paint and lace.

There’s a little patch on the wall, where the pink paint peeks through, left by my careless removal of tape which hung something long-forgotten on the wall. The room is white now, and has been for some time. Before that it was pink, peppermint pink, which covered the genderless cheerful yellow from when my older brother and I shared this room.

The Welcome Home Suzi sign from when I was 16 still hangs on the door in faded cheerfulness, though the wooden Suzanne's Room sign, with its pink and ballet shoes, is packed.

I look one last time at the boxes and try not to cry. Crying won't help anything. Still, so much of my dad is in this room and I've felt him here all weekend, watching me as I pack.

Was he judging me as I chose between the doll he won for me when I was four and the Glow Baby he bought me for Christmas when I was five? As important as both of them are to me, I only have room for one. The doll is losing her head, the plastic deteriorating, and Glow Baby is filthy from years of dust, her batteries dead.

In this room I can still hear the laughter of sleepovers. The sounds of flute practice. Music playing on the stereo as I do my homework. Feel the beads of a thousand art projects under my feet in the green shag carpet that’s been there as long as I have.

My name is called from the other room and I sigh. It's time to go. I’d hoped for a few more moments of silence, to be alone with my thoughts, my memories for a little longer. I'll be back, I hope, before the room ceases to be mine forever.

Still, I can feel the page turn, the chapter coming to a close, the words pushing my feet out the door. As unready as I am, it doesn’t matter. I’m powerless to stop it, all I can do is move forward before it closes with me still inside.

Goodbye room. Goodbye shelves. Goodbye narrow canopy bed I got when I was four, still wearing the ivy-print sheets bought in high school.

My hand closes around the knob as I shut the door behind me. I hope the next girl who has this room loves it as much as I do. Blinking back the tears, I sniff, and let go of the knob.

My fingers brush the door one last time. It’s painted white to match my room. The bottom is patched from when my younger brother kicked it. Taking a deep breath, I pad barefoot down the hall toward the voices that are still calling me.

~Suzanne Lazear 2/17/14

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