Livia Llewellyn (livia_llewellyn) wrote,
Livia Llewellyn

Tannhäuser Gate

Sometimes, you just have to call it quits on something and move on, in the ripping-the-bandage-off-the-festering-wound kind of way, to allow it to heal on its own. You’re welcome for the visual. At any rate, this weekend I called it quits on my tiny second bedroom, formerly known as The Wee Office.

Over the past three years, I have tried everything in my power to make that little space my own – nice desk with a big hutch, little corkboard display with printouts of what I’m working on, lots of bookcases with with research materials, tons of cinnamon and ant spray… But, nothing has worked. The ants aside, I never truly felt like this room belonged to me. The rest of the apartment? No problem. I don’t spend much time in the “master” bedroom, because it’s only about as big as the bed, but I have no problem writing in my kitchen and the living room. Even the bathroom, as grotty as it is with its tired-ass old fixtures and peeling paint, doesn’t bother me. But this office? I’m sitting in it right now, and it just doesn’t feel right. I feel like it doesn’t belong to me, that this part of the building is not for me. I sit down to write, and the four walls close in and the light outside dims, and I’m overwhelmed with the sense of being punished for having done something I don’t remember anymore. And I see the light from the living room and hear the clock ticking in the kitchen and the drone of the radio, and it’s like I’m in an oubliette. Beyond the door is life and light and sound and the world, but I’m here, and no one will come to save me, because they can’t reach me and anyway they’re all with each other, they don’t need me, no one does, not even the ants in the walls.

And so I give up. I’m calling it quits – I’m removing all of my books, my papers, my computer, my lamp. It’s all going either into the rest of the apartment, or into storage. This will become an empty room, never entered except when I check for ants or turn on the fan in the dead of summer. And it makes me feel a bit sad, because now in a way it’s a symbol of yet another failure in my life, like the empty cedar hope chest back in Tacoma that will never hold a wedding dress, the baby clothes my mother made for me that she knows will go into the trash, all those well-worn plays I’ve poured over but will never perform. Dog collars, gathering dust. My life is a row of caskets, and each one gets a little larger, until someday I’ll be swallowed up altogether. Well, no one can stop the inevitable. But at least I can try to postpone it, for as long as I can.


Originally published at Livia Llewellyn.


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