I have never left this room. But this is alright; Mother tells me that there is nothing outside, just the same empty wasteland that has always been. She says that I mustn't ever think about leaving, please, if I care about her, because she loves me far too much. Why would I leave her? I always ask. There is nothing outside but the same empty wasteland that has always been.
My room is large but bare. Opposite my bed is a portrait of Mother in a gilded bronze frame, a birthday gift from long ago. I sleep on a soft mattress, a bit too small for me but comfortable all the same, topped with white linens and a small gray blanket. There is a rusted closet rod with a few hangers for my silk dresses - seven in total, and all worn down from constant use. In the other corner, there is a little chipped bathtub with soap and a small mirror hangs just above it. Mother says that she will replace the bathtub - but eight visits have come and gone with no avail. The wood of the floor is smooth, darker in places where I frequently step.
Mother visits me once a month, although sometimes she forgets for a couple months more. She brings chocolates filled with cream if it has been three months. I eat them and I sleep for a week. I forget that she was ever late.
But, I have realized that pain helps me remember. Every cut, every bruise, every scratch - with each, a bit of my past is revealed. I don't like learning new things about myself, I don't like knowing, so I try not to get hurt. Pain helps me remember when all I wish to do is forget.
A long time ago The War began and Mother found this room for me to stay. My parents had just died and Mother found me, lying all alone in the dust. “Come with me,” she beckoned, and come I did.
It was soon established that I was to call her Mother and I was to stay in this room until The War ended. Has it already ended? Is it still occurring? Mother tells me nothing. But the chemicals from the war can kill with one sniff - I do not want to die. Mother doesn’t want me to die, either, so she asks that I always stay in here.
The area surrounding my room is lifeless and desolate. “Bombs won’t aim for us this way,” Mother says. Mother is always right.
Each time that Mother left I would mark each passing day with crumbs of chalk. Each time that Mother came she would sigh and erase my markings. How many days, how many months, how many years have I been here? I do not know. Maybe it is better to not know. Not knowing is comfortable. I like it here, in this room of not knowing.
After all, Mother always told me that there's no better place for me to be.