Home – Living Room

August 5th, 2008

The living room is huge and nearly empty, except for all the sunlight that spills in through the north and east facing windows. The floor is the color of new grass in the springtime – young and tender and green. At first, the room has just two pieces of furniture; a dark brown rocking chair in one corner, and an antique icebox, the burnt umber of a lingering sunset, in another. We spend long sunny days in the living room, listening to John Denver records, and rocking.

The icebox hides our record player and collection of records behind something more 19th century and decorous. A heavy wooden lid secures the top of the erstwhile ice chamber. The lid is too high, too ungainly, and too heavy for our small arms; by clever parental design, that’s where all the records are kept. Underneath the ice chamber, behind a carved door with a tiny latch, the record player can be found in the alcove that used to store food. Sometimes, if we’re good, the speakers come out of the icebox and on to the floor where we lie down, heads between the speakers, and listen to our favorite songs as they expand to fill all the space in the room – in the world.

The icebox sits right next to the door that leads from the living room to the dining room, and right before the door, the floor dips down mysteriously. There’s a dent, like something smooth but very, very heavy once fell there, or like a glacier from the last ice age scraped this spot a bit deeper than the others, just in case a tiny pond needed to form here. Sometimes when I run from the living room to the dining room I put my foot right in the middle of the dent, just to let it know that I’m there. Sometimes, I avoid it, wondering if it’s soft and bruised inside.

In the corner diagonal to the rocking chair, there’s a secret passage to the kitchen. The tiny square, cut into the wall near the floor, was originally a vent for the furnace. We only used the furnace the first year; then it broke and we never used it again. First the screen came off the duct on one side, then it came off on the other, and then there was a short, square tunnel connecting the old furnace room (now a kitchen annex) to the living room. It’s just a little bit too small for kids to squeeze through, but our animals run through all the time. And even if we’re too big, the potential of practically teleporting from one side of the house to another is exhilarating.

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