His Haven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     In that room where they tore up the green carpet to reveal hardwood floors, there once was a little girl’s haven. It is a den now, for an old man needing a place to mount his stamp collection. The little girl held elegant tea parties on a small table where the mahogany desk now sits, so monstrous it threatens to fall through the floor boards into the kitchen below. Her door was wallpapered with crayon drawings and next to the door, pencil markings tracked her growth every few months since she was three. The door is painted white and that wall is hidden by a bookshelf containing political science texts and atlases bought at used book sales. The canary-yellow walls have been painted over many times but now a maroon color has been carefully selected and any sign or memory of canary yellow has vanished.

Between maroon and canary yellow the walls proudly exhibited a pale blue. Before the desk but after the afternoon tea corner there stood a bed that brought dreams of boys and parties. In this room, she would try on outfit after outfit searching for the right one. The wall that held her growth chart was layered in cutouts of teenage heartthrobs. The carpet remained below layers of rejected skirts and blouses. Inside the blue walls the radio played and she danced unaware of her little brother peeking through the keyhole in the door that was always closed to ward off parents and little brothers.

After the blue but before the maroon, the walls were a sensible ivory, the color chosen by newlyweds not financially able to live in their own house. She wanted to keep the green carpet, despite his protests. Although he argued, her passion for such a color made him obliged to keep it. The bed was big enough for two, a hand-me-down from a relative who gladly surrendered it to the young couple. The wall beside the door held the telephone, a symbol of the couple’s independence from her parents since they had their own phone number and paid their own bill.

Years passed and eventually they bought out her parents and owned this house, and she continued living in the same room she had her entire life. The door was cracked open to allow the children to tiptoe in when nightmares came and the only cure was to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.

He said he wanted to be alone for once in his life but he feels her presence in the room. He’s grumpy now, in her absence, and although he says it was the only practical room for a den, he knows that he chose it to be near her memory. He stripped the house of photographs but he couldn’t remove her spirit, especially from that room where she spent almost every night of her life.

He sits at his desk attempting to work. They say he wants to be left alone now, left alone in that room where she sipped empty tea cups with her dolls, danced like no one was watching, fell in love, and comforted her children. He remains in that room mostly all day, every day, thinking of her. It is an old man’s haven.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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henz126 said...
Jan. 3, 2009 at 7:45 am
This was really heart warming and inspiring at the same time. Great job, I loved it. Can't believe I'm the first comment!
 
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