I’ve always dreamed of rooms. Not living rooms or parlors and pantries, or even dining rooms laden with a bonanza of savory goodness and heavenly sweetness, even though I do love to eat. I’ve always dreamed of secret rooms, lost and nonsensical, off the blueprints and counterpane to any logistical coordinate placement. On waking, I could never quite grasp why they shouldn’t be there, but they weren’t. Unlike all my other dreams, these always stayed with me, even now.
I was only six when I dreamed of the zipper room. In my parents front closet, at the foot of the stairs, inside and on the left there was a hanging garment bag. It wasn’t really a garment bag, but only had the edge of one and the zipper. It was affixed to the wall. When I opened it, it led to a whole different room. A big one; well lit by unseen sources, and round. The floor was round too, and it was inhabited by balls; the inflatable kind, but so large as to accommodate one entering them and rolling about the unlikely floor. It was so real that I looked for it for years, trying every trick I knew gleaned from adventurous moppets on TV. It was the same closet I saw myself in for the first time six years later; her eyes the same, but the rest, just more right.
There were more over the years. Some in my house, some in houses invented in the dreams. My favorites were the old Victorian houses on Elmwood. Towering labyrinthine structures in my morphean mind. I loved to explore, and always, one more room than the architect imagined. Waiting, furnished, lit, and utterly unknown. Someone must have put it there, but how? I didn’t know what it meant. I looked for corroboration in real time in my explorations about the city.
The most elaborate were underground. How apropos! Cyclopean staircases stretching down into the abyss, but lit and decorous. Engineering masterpieces dwarfing the scope of the pyramids and with no apparent purpose, but here they were. Grey, silent, undetected, always in my own backyard beneath just the smallest shovelful of dirt. I dug, for those and anything else that might be coldly awaiting discovery. Why should such be in a Kenmore backyard; reclaimed swamp with thick taupe clay of exhausting silica? Unfound I left tribute. Parts of me, the false me, then the real me, but the earth gods remained unmoved. Sealed containers of clothing, notes, pictures and more dot the subterranean landscape of everywhere I have ever lived. Tributes to the rooms that couldn’t be.
In my third decade I owned my own house for once. I learned every inch, every pipe, wire and passage. It wasn’t hard, the place just isn’t that big. No secret passages, but more time for that later. I dreamed of this house as well. Rounding the front from the back, I found the patio. Inset, covered and furnished in clean white chairs and table. A cozy nook, comfortable for rainy days and sunny alike. Always to be just right no matter what the state of things. I didn’t know how everyone missed it, even the realtor. It makes the house the house and a home. If I were to draw the plans even now, it would be there. I know just where it goes. When I look in daylight, it should still be there, but isn’t. It doesn’t make sense. How could it be right and not be there?
Now, now I’m claiming my identity. Who I saw in the mirror at twelve was right, in my sisters dress, my mother’s makeup, hair just so, but me. I knew her then, but shut the door; the door that led to my first dream room. If you can’t see it, it isn’t there. Shut for a moment, a day, a week or even a year, but no lock fits. I tried a lot of them, and it always comes back open. No ogre inside. Just me. I’m here, I be, I am. I don’t dream of rooms anymore.