The walls are stripped and drawers are emptied. The only thing left are scraps of paper on the floor and Hiltrud’s windchime hanging on the window. I am sitting on a plain blue mattress in the middle of the empty room that used to be called mine.

Well. This wasn’t ever my room, really. I grew up in the room next door. In that room there were big windows and milk chocolate walls and a bench my mom covered with different fabrics. I hung dried roses on the wall and taped fortunes to the mirror. When I was sad, I wrote depressing notes on the closet wall in sharpie. I had a chest of drawers with my nic nacs. I strung lights on the ceiling, which gave the room a honeymoon glow. I pinned the map on the wall and stared at the world. It was the smallest room in the house, but it was my sanctuary. I loved that room.

When I came back from Germany I took out my old things and redecorated the red room like it was my own. But still, it never felt the same. I was a guest to the room. The empty walls used to be covered with Harrison’s monster pictures he drew in Elementary school. The carpet was cluttered with Legos. Maxwell’s books overflowed their bunks beds. The walls—still today—are marked from the silly string Harrison’s crush sprayed on his walls in the seventh grade. It wasn’t ever my room. It was always my brothers’.

My nic nacs and journals and school essays and books are in the basement now. The only treasures I have now are my hippie bag and scarves. Oh, and my camera. (It needs to be fixed.)

It hit me that I’m leaving when Mira asked me at dinner.
“Anne, when are you moving?”
“Moving? Oh yeah, umm… In a month, I guess.” I suspect I won’t be out forever. It seems that for the next couple of years I’ll be in and out of the house. Moving out feels stranger than going to Germany. There is no plan this time. I could be anywhere in the next couple of years. I could be living in an apartment. I could be transferring to a school in the east. I could be living in a shack in California. I could be teaching English in Brazil. I could be mooching off my family to save money for travel. I could be married and have two kids.

But whatever happens, it’s going to be wonderful. I can feel it. I’m not stuck. I’m not a slave to the world. All of my options are open.


  1. Hip hip hooray.

  2. One of the great discoveries in the creative life: you’re never stuck.

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