by Nancy Orans Eder, a member of Get Your Wordsworth
My bedroom is a new room that carries no trace of its 55-year old history. This room was first inhabited by a married couple who shared the space ever since the building opened its doors in October 1957. Sheltered high in the sky overlooking rooftops, a willow tree and gardens below, the wife slept in this room with her husband. Many years after his death, well into her 90s, she left the apartment to move in with grown children.
Though she was physically absent, her furniture, clothing and personal possessions remained closeted in the apartment when it was put up for sale. The apartment looked ‘lived in’ as if its owner had just gone to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread.
The drawn draperies hid the western sun setting over the balcony. The view of the majestic Riverside Church and the treetops in New Jersey were obscured. The crowded bedroom was shrouded in heavy drapes which hung from one side of the room to the other covering the wall like a protective shawl. Worn grey patterned carpeting crept up the sides of the living room and bedroom walls like a skin too large for its body.
There was no overhead light switch, as there was no overhead light. With the exception of a large dimly lit dresser lamp the place was devoid of color. The wooden dresser, tall and imposing, was a bland beige with metallic colored drawer pulls exaggerating the fact that this was not a valuable purchase. . . .old, but not antique. Aside from the bed, this single man’s dresser underscored the pallor of gloom and sadness of age and imminent death. The double bed filled most of the floor space looking lumpy and ancient covered in a worn cotton colorless cover. Two lumpy bumps of sodden pillows lay on top like mushroom caps. No feeling that anything resembling lovemaking could ever have occurred in this bed. . . . in this room.
Opening closet doors in the apartment let out the acrid odor of medications while sucking up all the available air. The thickness of the stale smell made the atmosphere decidedly heavy and overwhelming. How could I ever think of moving here? How would I ever come to this place again.
I wanted to get out of the bedroom. I wanted never to return.
But return I did after the apartment had been emptied of everything but the smell. Well, that would hopefully be altered with a paint job. The drapes were gone revealing large windows like wide open eyes gazing upon the late afternoon light. This bedroom would be a light sunny place after all. No curtains or shades would be used to cover an expansive view and abundant source of light and air. The carpets were gone and the naked black asbestos floors would be covered with wood.
Today, four years later, the apartment is my nest, my haven from the world, my safe and preferred place to be alone. It’s my blanket and bed. It’s the heart of my existence. It’s the center of my being. Place has a way of giving you that comfort zone. My double bed is against the wall. A desk, dresser and one wall of bookcases provide a cozy warm climate. The walls are sage green rimmed with spanking white woodwork.
The wooden planked floors are a rich brown and gold casting the room in a warm toasty feeling. Paintings from my prior life as a painter hang on two walls. While the furnishings are modest, they are mine.
Above all I value the view of the treetops as spring is here. The watercolor vista of spring’s arrival is shown in pointillistic pale green leaves dotted with magnolia blossoms and forsythia buds. The daffodils sway in the cool breeze across crescent shapes of soil. The towering weeping willow tree which anchored the garden fell in a winter storm last year and had to be carted away. But the rooftops like dominoes lining the street lead one’s eye to the crowning jewel of the neighborhood and my view: the majesty of the Riverside Church.
On the balcony outside my bedroom window are large wooden flower boxes filled with spinach sprouts and budding daffodils swaying in the wind. This scene reminds me of a childhood book in which a little white kitten finds a home with a young girl after jumping into her sunny flower box. Like “Scat, Scat,” I have found my home.