Despite being home since college, I haven’t been back to my childhood room for a while. My old desk is till here. Many of my books still sit in their shelves, many of them unread and many that I fondly remember annotating in high school. Porcelain dolls and stuffed teddy bears sit frozen, no longer animated by my childhood imagination.
Paintings quietly present their stilled scenes, telling of the sophisticated tastes of my grandmother—a family by a mountainous seaside, pale faces of women doing embroidery, a winter scene dotted with settler-esque figures, a space high view of Jesus hanging from a cross above the swirling blue and green of our planet.
Some dust lines the plastic foliage of silk plants that sit in little baskets and pots here and there.
There are empty drawers where my clothes, socks, jeans, t-shirts, and trinkets used to be. I can see the back wall of my closet where I couldn’t before. Some picture empty frames lay stacked near the end of my dresser.
There is a balance here. Many parts my young presence have disappeared, but just enough remains to be reminded of how much I have grown and changed. I can smile while reading old letters I wrote to my elementary friends, but I can also sift through the melancholy of knowing that though I can return, this room can not know me as who I was.