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Jun 2014
Your bedroom is a carefully preserved time capsule,
a tribute to a fondly remembered time long past.
Though I have visited this small square room less than
feels right since our once tight-knit group dissolved, it is
kept as pristine as a display about a foregone era in a dark
and cluttered museum.  The walls still stand wearily in that
same stubborn shade between periwinkle and robin's egg,
the only difference is one unfamiliar poster-the rest have
hung steadfast in the same positions since you moved into this
bedroom from the one next door many years prior.  In the
corner across from your bed, rests the desk you have
used to hold some of your most valued items for as long as
we have traversed the undulating cycle between friendship
and acquaintanceship, including the now-empty terrarium that
bravely contained a wooly tarantula.  Your closet, still noticeably
bare, informs me, through a smattering of neon yellow t-shirts,
that you are still employed for the same landscaper. As we pass a
meticulously re-rolled cigar between us, two old and distant
friends, my vision drifts towards the dresser under the plain
windows, which overlook your claustrophobic backyard.  It is,
surely, an Ikea affair, for though it has the coloring of mahogany,
the wood has the unmistakable sheen of faux; but what compels me
to gaze at this dresser is not its questionable quality but the years
of graffiti scrawled across its drawers and walls in the sort of thick
black marker that might give one lightheadedness if uncapped for
too long.  I realize, suddenly, that this dresser is our monolith.

I express to you my incredulity that you have kept this dresser,
of all things, for so long, as a wry grin splits my mouth in halves.
Too many memories, you say, a melancholy tone suddenly echoing
through the small bedroom.  My grin fades, and I look closely,
recalling in a bright flash a multitude of intoxicant-fueled evenings-
you were always in that black pleather computer chair, while
always I sat on the bed, squished between or beside the
on-again-off-again couple.  The exact words inscribed upon this
Ikea monolith, I realize, are no longer of importance, for they
are largely insensitive, pejorative, and crude.  These words are
the spirit of a fading adolescence wasted in suburban bedrooms
and backyards, or in city basements and roofs, spawned by
countless cases of the cheapest beers available, by handles of
off-brand *****, by bags of substances in every shape and
size imaginable.  I am staring at a proclamation of a girl's
promiscuity on this very monolith when you exclaim that you
would give anything to have a time machine, to go back to those
days, that they were the happiest days of your life.  Though
outwardly I smile and offer a noncommittal expression of
sentimentality, inwardly I frown, struck by a wave of pity.  

Halfway between twenty and thirty, I am no longer the shy,
hasty, or withdrawn teenager who spent hours cooped up in
a stagnant bedroom, ****** and bored. I can suddenly perceive
exactly how little you, my old friend, have changed, and I am
ashamed of my inability to say so.  But that couple imploded
years ago in a neon display, temporarily destroying all that
surrounded them; all of the satellites that orbited our group
have moved out of our gravitational field, some going off
to college, some getting good jobs, some moving to big
cities, some starting bands.  Graduations or birthdays
might bring us together for a few hours of drunken
reminiscence, we all know, somewhere, that we have
grown apart, while you hide in this bedroom,
a lonely hermit.

This room is not a time capsule;
it is a tomb, and the Ikea monolith might as well be your
Written by
natalie  philadelphia
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