“It’s been what?”
“I said, it’s been too flippin’ long!” he shouted, shoving the front door shut with vigor. He grimaced as he stepped over a pile of ideas, pausing halfway through to ensure the square of floor on the other side was devoid of rubbish. “Look at this place. Dust piled up on everything, lightbulbs burned out, mental images on the walls from when you were barely eighteen. A high school student, mind you…”
“High school graduate,” I replied. “Eighteen wasn’t really all that long ago. Not in the grand scheme of things, anyway.”
“Oh, suuuuuuuuure. I’m starting to wonder if I should abandon my sarcasm for the sake of showcasing some appropriate sorrow for this sad state of affairs, but good grief! What a mess. Look there’s your room, over there beyond that dusty chandelier.”
“So there is. I used to complain about how messy it was,” I said.
He glanced back at me as though afraid to go on. “It’s gotten messier,” he said.
The structure was not a bad one. The worst that could be said of it was that it was somewhat small. I also thought it had a lot of corners, which made it hard to clean. This, I admit, was a hunch perhaps biased by my dislike of mopping, but one born of a somwhat pointed wit nonetheless.
On the whole, the building had had brighter days, louder days, days that suffused the inhuman patterns of the woodgrain with candlelight and the silhouettes of pleasant companions and their laughter. For a moment, I regretted bringing along my pessimistic friend. The memory of these days held to prized a place in my heart for me to bear the thought of demolishing this little habitation and building a new one. But I needed an objective opinion. Every romantic needs a realist willing to pull them back down to Earth’s swiftly tilting surface now and again.
“I confess,” I added, “that if my room is a mess, the fault is entirely my own.”
“Yeah, that’s for sure,” he said. “Nothing that can’t be fixed though.” He turned to face me with more determination than he had exhibited since we stepped through the front door. “Honestly, tell me though: do you really want to go back to all this?”
I was silent for a second. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well, I just…” He hesitated. “Look at you. You’re a different man, aren’t you?”
“You’ve gone through a whole year of college, you’ve made new friends, you’ve lived through heartbreak, you’ve lived in another state… You’ve started growing up.” I shifted my gaze to the corner of the room opposite him, but he continued. “Doesn’t all this, all these pictures, all these memories, don’t they just tie your mind and heart down in the past?”
“Liggy,” I said, facing him again, “we are our pasts. What person could be who they are today without their past? It shapes who we are, how we deal with the present, how we plan for the future, for better or for worse.” He glanced around the room as I went on. “And for the most part, I consider this to have been one of the betters. Don’t you?”
“I do,” he replied, smiling gently. “But what if you don’t want to blog like you used to, anymore? What if what you need is a fresh start?”
“Then I shall have a fresh start on the foundation of the two years of blogging I’ve already had. I don’t need a new blog to do that. And when we flip on the lights again, no one from the past is obliged to stick around. But I sincerely hope they will, if they’re still in town.”
“Yeah,” said Liggy. “So do I. I’ve missed that bunch…”
“We’d better start cleaning up, hadn’t we?” I said.
He chuckled. “We better not put it off, that’s for sure.”
“Would you do the honors?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said. And with that, he strolled over to the panel by the front door and pressed the big red button. It had to be red. I don’t think I could have had it any other way. (Excepting the time it broke and I had to put a yellow button on it for a week because they were sold out of red at the button store, but that is a story for another time.)
It started with an almost inaudible click, and then slowly, almost suspensefully, the sign out front flickered to life, and the chandelier began to throw light across the dusty room.
“Might need to replace some of the fuses out front, but you can still read it, anyway,” he laughed. Caught somwhere between a swift walk and a run, I ventured outside and turned to look, smiling as I did.
There it was, same as ever: “Welcome to The Window Philosopher | Open for visitors”.
To anyone out there reading this, hi, and it’s good to see you. 🙂