The Great Room
He sits at a desk in a room. The room is small and dark, no windows, at least no interior windows, at least not now.
Once a window had opened over a courtyard, a small paved area at the rear of a small house, a small patio area next to a small pool, but then that area had been enclosed and converted into a “Great Room” in the hopes that it would prove to be a great room. It was floored in Mexican tile and its outer walls weren’t really walls but a series of interlinked overlapping sliding glass doors all of which could be opened at the same time making the Great Room more of a covered patio. It was light and airy, and yes, in a tangible sense, a great room.
In the beginning, the window in his room had survived although it overlooked the Great Room rather than the former play patio. It deprived the Great Room of privacy, true, but then, back in those days, privacy there wasn’t really an issue. It was kind of cool actually. The Great Room was home to a large pool table, a large plump pink sectional sofa and a very wide screen television, and was linked to a sanctuary of sorts for him and his dad, the converted garage that his dad used as his office and which Edward graced with his presence in the mornings, watching cartoons while his dad worked, before the bus picked him up for school. It was a very special place in troubled times, not nearly as troubled as they’d someday become though.
Many years have passed and many things have happened. All kinds of things. Very many of them great, many very confusing and some very bad.
The house with his room and the Great Room and a number of other rooms had been somewhat abandoned for a while. Never totally abandoned but his family had moved to a much larger house; in physical terms a much better house, much, much larger on much more property, with giant rooms in a park-like setting. It might even have been large enough to host its own ghost, maybe even several ghosts. He and his family lived there for many years but they never gave up their old home and the old home never gave up on them, always hoping that somehow, someday they’d return and turn it into a home again.
One can have many houses but only one home, at least only one home at a time.
He didn’t really use his desk very much; he usually just lay in bed with his best friend, his lap top, and travelled all over cyberspace although, to be honest, like many kids his age, he spent an inordinate amount of time in the Japanese region of cyberspace and a lot of the rest of the time in regions of cyberspace kept very secret from others. He avoided message centers in cyberspace preferring to close things off so he could avoid some of the complex and uncomfortable ripples emanating from his family’s time in that other house. He very much preferred not dealing with them, so, … he didn’t.
The other house was very lonely now. It had been a very happy “home” for what had seemed like a long time, like what had once seemed likely to be forever. But forever seems only true in fairy tales. That house had lived too complex a life, what the Chinese might have disparagingly called an interesting life. It had helped raised three incredible children, Edward among them, and at times it had been so utterly full of joy and good things that its heart had almost burst. But then, perhaps as payment for so much joy, things had changed and it had become a center of intrigue and secrets and plots. Perhaps it had added just too many people to permit a simple happy life.
It’s still an incredibly beautiful place, and it’s still a place some members of his family love, but none live there anymore other than his grandfather, miserable and alone, a last caretaker waiting for it to be sold. One member, his dad, still dreams of somehow saving it for his sons but even he knows it’s really just an idle dream.
His dad is very far away. Very, very far away. And he misses Edward very much. He misses all three of his sons almost too much to bear. But he doesn’t have a choice, regardless of what some people say. He’s not in the house with the Great Room; ironic since he designed it. And he’s not in the other house; the one still in shock, unable to understand what went wrong or why. He’s in the only place he could be, still dreaming that somehow, someday soon, he and all of his sons will share a place, old or new, that they’ll all call home. Right now, there are plenty of houses but none of them are homes.
Edward sits on the bed in his room but his soul is somewhere else, and his dad sits in another room very far away wondering how he might reach him.
 © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2009; all rights reserved