As It Was

Stepping through the familiar doorway, I flick on the light. The bulb in the floor lamp flickers from months of disuse before illuminating the space, exactly how it was when I left it. Looking around, the room appears fuzzy, and my hand instinctively reaches toward my face, checking for the plastic frame of my glasses. They’re there, lenses intact. Blinking, I step inside, hesitant and full of unease.

I recognize this place, the futon littered with blankets to keep away the cold December chill, the bars stools found at a yard sale that I had every intention of repainting, but never did, and the bedroom with its bare walls except for the vibrant tapestry hung above the bed. All these things are mine, and yet nothing feels like mine. In fact, it feels as though these rooms have been abandoned for years, not just four months.

From the baseboards, the heating system rattles to life as I turn the thermostat to 55 degrees, just like I used to. My hand lingers on the dial, and I try to remember why I returned to this place, but I cannot recall.

It doesn’t seem right, that I should be back here. There was a time when this place was home, the first place I could truly call my own. But that time has come and gone, and I no longer take ownership for the things held within these four walls. The life that is represented in this space was mine, but is mine no longer.

I turn to leave, walking past the mirror and catching a glimpse of the person reflected there. I see myself, only differently than how I currently am. The person in the mirror is tired, her eyes dull. Perhaps that was how I looked back then, like I had lost the part of myself that found joy in life. Perhaps I had resigned myself to the melancholy I am so prone to. But even behind the sadness, I could still see that desire to escape somewhere new. I gave her a slight smile, and walking out the door, the room and all its remnants of my past life fading behind me.

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