December 4, 2011
By rlydford BRONZE, Mesa, Arizona
rlydford BRONZE, Mesa, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The room without my father was empty, but I saw it full of his memory. Sure there was still a desk and shelves up to the ceiling. Someone’s computer was set up and the same paper organizer that I bought him for Christmas one year was still sitting on the desk. But what was this room with no pictures cluttering the shelves and all the papers with his handwriting gone. His filing cabinet was there in the corner waiting, but no one would come to open it. All his trophies and thank-you plaques from the years he spent coaching sports were taken off the walls. Full of furniture, the room was missing its focal point, the reason it was set up in the first place.
My sisters don’t dare go in that room. They’ve taken everything they need out. I see them close the door if they walk by so they can pretend things are the same. I avert my eyes so that I won’t look expectantly in the room for my father. When I’m near his office I expect to hear him call out. I look for the signs that he may be there. The television playing baseball in the other room or the sounds of him working-the click clack of a keyboard or his pen scribbling on a sheet of paper.
My mother, however, spends all her time in this room. It surprises me each time I find her in there; before now my dad’s office would be the last place I would look for her. More than anything else, this is the most unnatural thing. Her presence is startling because of the raw longing that she impersonates. She in no way overpowers or lessens my father’s energy that can still be felt in every inch of his office. She is harmonious to the emptiness the room feels.
In that room are all the Saturday mornings we spent working together while I was applying for colleges. There used to be the tickets from the seventh game of the World Series that my dad and I went to when the Diamondbacks won in 2001 and the ball he caught at the second game of the same World Series. All his hard work represented in the piles of paper and the thank-you trophies he has taken from the room, and all the late nights he spent working and planning in that room so that my family could live comfortably. He has this one room to show for all his work and he picked out the things he liked and took them with him. He has left us waiting outside the door, afraid to look in and see that he is not there. He has left my mother pacing over the carpet looking for him. But he has taken his accomplishments out of that room with him and left us a sad mess in the corner of our house. His years of toil that none of us can replace.

The author's comments:
Based on the idea that buildings are imprinted by events, experiences, or by people that have lived there, think of a place that consistently gives you a strong emotion, whether it is happiness, fear, or grief. Describe the setting and reflect on the reason you react to this place.

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