I flick on the old light switch and lug my family’s weekend bags over the well-worn path in the faded blue carpet. I drop my wife’s suitcase next to a small desk that launched a thousand homework assignments.
My old room.
It’s filled with unfamiliar furniture now, and I see it only when we bring the grandkids down to see Grammy and Grandpa every few months. But somehow it’s still My Room — the room where I’ve spent more nights than anywhere else on earth.
It was mine even before I moved into this house 20 years ago. My parents let me pick out the wall-to-wall carpet’s color: a deep blue that contrasted with the pale blue in the rest of the house. I remember thinking it would be like the color of water, and I imagined someday painting cattails on the wall to create a giant pond mural — turning my room into a life-sized pun on my last name. (I never did get around to painting it.)
The closet is still jammed with old kites and elementary school science projects. Next to the door is a big felt banner that reads “JESUS” — a craft project that helped me earn a religious medal in my last years of Cub Scouts.
I have to imagine where the old furniture used to be, and how elaborate Lego spaceships covered every flat surface. There’s now a double bed and strange headboard on the spot where my old single bed stood, where I spent hours talking on the phone as a teenager and wondering if a girl would ever like me back.
There’s an easy chair now where I set up a drafting table in high school. It’s where I drew cartoons for the school magazine. Years later, on a summer between college semesters, it’s where I wrote my first stories to be printed in a professional newspaper.
I don’t live here anymore. I have a family and a house of my own now, three hours away. In the short time I’ve lived there, I’ve already left much more of an impact on that building — painting the walls, sanding a floor, helping to install a new kitchen, squirming through a grimy, 90-year-old crawl space to update the electrical wiring.
But sometimes, it’s still good to come home.