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Blisteringly cold air condition, honey-oak wood floors pressed on by naked feet, and the faint smell of cigarette smoke from sneaking outside. The radio is playing softly, music quietly resonating to a couple silly girls who aren’t listening. We shiver, but only one of us doesn’t like it. I love the cold, how it numbed my hot skin and toned down the musky scent of a teenager’s room. Clutter lived in every corner, mostly mine but some hers’. A dance practiced and learned from slovenly ways made us tiptoe around the mess until we made it to my bed. It was only a twin, but it was our home. This room, this bed, had seen many a sleepovers and long conversations snuggled under worn blankets, talks about nothing and tears about everything. It wasn’t necessarily the room that made me who I was, or that was most special to me, but the moments it held; the memories that made me happy here. She was as much apart of the specialness of it as anything else, maybe even more so. This is the place we were comfortable, me and my best friend.
An oversized scarlet blanket fell around us as we wormed our way into one another. Feet and legs overlapping, my arms wrapped around her waist, cheek nestled into the hollow of her neck, black and blonde hair fanning out and mixing together… Her skin was pale, eyes an ice blue. She wasn’t thin or fat, but somewhere in between. She was wearing a sweatshirt of mine, and I loved her. She was my best friend, my sister, and my other half.
My room, semi-separated from the rest of my house, was our place of rest. My dad was gone and it was peaceful. Her house was never an option, not like this, because her mother was psychotic. I watched her lips sing along to the words of a song that sued to be popular a few years ago, tears falling slowly down her face. I reached up and wiped them away with my thumb. They were cold. She was sad, and I didn’t know why but I did. I understood her sadness but not the reason behind it. Her pain was my pain. I hugged her, trying to sponge up some of her strange sadness into myself. She smiled at me and sighed, closing her eyes. We were cold and warm, half asleep, and dizzy- the last one most likely being from the nicotine buzz.
I started counting the freckles on her left arm while I felt the goose bumps on her legs warn first and then melt away like left-out ice cream. I felt her fingers running through my hair softly, and I closed my eyes, too, thinking about how lucky I was. This space, this tiny world of just the two of us, was contained by these four walls… Outside would be angry parents that would yell at us for doing wrong, boys who would tell us sweet things and then break our hearts, and so-called friends who would stab us in the back, leaving us to bleed dry. I let myself become overwhelmed with vulnerability at the thought, feeling extremely small and defenseless.
“I love you,” she said, hugging me tightly.
“I love you, too,” I whispered back, grateful. No one had a friendship like ours. No one understood us like we knew each other. In my room, that was okay. My posters and dirty clothes and piles of shoes did not judge us. My room was my own, 100% Jade, and, in a way, it was her, too.
I looked around, realizing how barely anything had changed since I moved in. Sure, the decorations were up-to-date and whatnot, but the bare-bones foundation never varied. My bed had always been in the left hand corner of the layout, bookshelf diagonal, and closet facing me. I couldn’t bear to change it, because I was worried that if I did, then the memories my room absorbed might disappear.
“Jade?” Her voice sounded unsure.
“Hmm?” I murmured, eyes closing again. I could still see the light through my eyelids, and it was too bright, but I was too sleepy and content to move.
“Will we always be best friends?” This time, I did open my eyes and sit up and looked at her. Her eyes looked a little scared, and in my sleepy state, I randomly noticed how her eyelashes were stuck together with day-old mascara.
“Of course.” I kissed her cheek and laid back down when her worried face settled back into a mask of contentment. I was too full of wonder and gratitude to not have a mini-epiphany right before dozing off. This room may have been my place, and sometimes hers’, but we belonged everywhere and anywhere we wanted to be, as long as we were together.