Roof of Dreams | Teen Ink

Roof of Dreams

July 26, 2013
By Maia Donahue BRONZE, Midland, Michigan
Maia Donahue BRONZE, Midland, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The first time that my mother caught me sitting on my roof I was six years old and completely naked. As for the reason why I was naked, I’m still unsure. I suppose that in my developing, six-year-old brain, nudity had seemed a more pleasant option than wearing the stiff collared shirts that my grandmother had bought at The Children’s Place. Whilst sitting on the roof I remember feeling a certain sense of release and a kind of happiness that is almost indescribable, but is, at the same time, completely recognizable as absolute contentment. Being a very quiet and introverted child, taking this step onto the roof was out of character. But there was something about the peacefulness and the stillness of the air just outside my window that drove me to crank open my windows and clamber onto the hot, black shingles. I sat down to observe my neighbor mowing his lawn and to watch the woman who lived behind us scold her Jack Russell puppy for eating her azaleas. From my perch I could look down on the butterfly bushes that my father carefully tended, and I was fascinated with the way that the butterflies moved like spirits from bloom to bloom. I believe it was then that I decided that being a butterfly was much preferable to being a human. After all, to live the short and incandescent life of a butterfly was so much more magical than the drudgery and monotony of human life. As I sat gazing at each spectacle, I began to understand something that would remain true throughout all of my years on earth. I was meant to sit alone and observe. Not unhappily or bitterly; just alone in an introspective and appreciative silence. I have always lived in a world of my own imagination, and I think it was that first outing on the roof that made that fact concrete.

My mind wandered and I lost track of the hours that I spent on the roof that day. I was just beginning to sit up when I heard and earsplitting shriek from inside my room. It was my mother and she was not pleased. She pulled my inside and read me the riot act about how little children fall out of windows all of the time and that could I please be careful for once. After an hour of her yelling I began to daydream of that roof and of all of the possibilities that sat undiscovered on those black shingles. My thoughts of tea parties and dress up games under the stars ran rampant through my mind. New ideas blew through like wind, overturning things and stirring up thoughts and provocations. And so began my fascination with the roof and all of the mysteries that I believed it to hold.

I grew older and the roof lost its allure. Cobwebs formed over the window and I kept my blinds closed. For some reason, I felt too old for the childish nonsense of the roof. I could see everything just fine from the ground, thank you very much. But upon nearing the ninth grade, I began to feel unhappy. My clothing became dark, I started to part my hair in the middle, and I learned how to ring my eyes in black makeup so that they looked permanently cold and distant. Try as I might, I couldn’t remember anything that used to make me happy. Until one day I yanked open my blinds to look out the window, and there it was. The roof was just as I had left it. And just like that, all of the magic of my childhood came back to me.

After that I spent all of my time on the roof. I dragged out blankets and slept under the stars. I made wishes on each shooting star; told the purple sky my innermost thoughts and woke up to the singing of larks. My best friend Jennifer started coming out with me. And then my boyfriend James. We sat out all night, laughing and smoking and telling secrets. The only one to hear the secrets was the roof and it has faithfully kept them all these years. When James cried because his parents were getting a divorce, the roof was quiet and the black shingles soaked up the steady stream of tears. It said nothing when Jennifer and I used its sturdy siding to climb up early one morning after stumbling home barefoot, our high heels in hand and our make up smeared carelessly under our tired eyes.

In essence, I am still that six-year-old girl; curious, dreamy, and locked in her own imagination. And the roof is still the same as it’s always been; a place of silent reverie. A place to dream, to hope, to cry, to grow up. It’s a world apart. Where I have grown, and yet where I have remembered to stay the same.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Aug. 7 2013 at 8:20 am
the-earth-between-our-toes SILVER, Wales, Other
6 articles 11 photos 29 comments
I cannot tell you how much I love this