Saturday, January 01, 2005

Room for Two

The phone in my room that won't ring - that's the first thing I notice. If you walked into my room, you would probably notice the rainbow PACE flag first. You might think, "Oh, she likes those gay people." You wouldn't be wrong, but you wouldn't rate as a particularly observant person... at least not in my book. If you looked long enough you would notice a day planner with pictures of Italy. You might pick up my collection of Andrea Boccelli CDs. If you were particularly nosey, you would grab the green faux alligator skin photo album off the shelf and flip through my shots. Then you would look back at the flag and say, "You've been to Italy!" I would nod my head absent mindedly and look longingly at the phone.

You might be tempted to pet the black and white pile of fur at my feet. She's two years old today and she would roll over so you could scratch her belly. She would stay that way and you would be forced by sheer, unadulterated love to continue while you visually perused my home office.

"It looks like you're a smoker," you'd say. "Mmm hmm," I'd respond. I might cast a quick glance at the porcelain ashtray. I'd notice the crack running down the side and remember the day my husband filled that dish with sweettarts...and an engagement ring. Then I'd look back at the phone...the black and silver weapon of mass distraction that holds me hostage.

"What's 'A Yummy Apology'?" you might ask me. After cruising my desk, my eyes would fix on a white piece of paper resting atop my pen holder. Then I'd smile again. It's really a coffee mug that holds my pens. Once, that coffee mug was full of candy, and it had a twin. They were engagement gifts from my co-workers many years ago. "A Yummy Apology" is the font I used last week. I scribble it down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget." There's another note on that paper. "Dentist." Crap. I need to call the dentist. Good thing I wrote it down.

You might still be rubbing my Shih Tzu's tummy. That's good, because you can't get much further in this tiny room I call an office. The flesh colored paint that adorns the walls was chcsen to give the room the appearance of being slightly larger than a closet. Two desks, two computers, two chairs, two file cabinets, two printers, two bulletin boards, two Nagel prints, one phone - it isn't ringing.

After several uncomfortable minutes of silence, you'd stand up and brush the garage-floor dirt off your slacks. The dog would remain frozen, hoping you were just kidding. "You sure do have a lot of awards, huh?" I'd turn my black leather chair 180 degrees and look to the furthest wall of this make-shift office. "Yes, those are my husband's. Thank you. We're quite proud." It's short, sweet, and to the point.

There are papers everywhere, on every surface top: receipts from on-line purchases, contracts waiting to be signed, homework assignments begging to be attended to. Magazines provide a shelter for the bare surfaces the papers have missed, and antique cameras fill the lower bookshelf. The eye could never grow bored in this room, but alone, the soul can wander.

Turning again to face the opposite corner of this room, I stare at the black leather chair behind me. Pushed back against the wall, it masks the black marks on an otherwise flesh-colored wall. It was left just that way - the chair...his chair. Someone got up, pushed that chair against the wall and walked out of this room. And the phone... it's still not ringing.