a room - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
So saying, the little, odd officer switched on the lights of the long salon. It was a handsome room in the Italian mode of the Empire period--beautiful old faded tapestry panels--reddish--and some ormolu furniture--and other things mixed in--rather conglomerate, but pleasing, all the more pleasing. It was big, not too empty, and seemed to belong to human life, not to show and shut-upedness. The host was happy showing it.
The room is like a perfect magazine cover. I'm afraid to sit in case I wrinkle the fabric or stain it with something I don't even know is on my pants. The couch is cream but inlaid with a fine green silk; leaves embroidered so delicately that they might have landed there in spring and just sunk in, but I know they took hundreds of hours to sew. The white curtains are linen, the kind of white that is untouched by hands and devoid of dust. A cursory look to the right shows me the almost hidden cords that are used to open and close them. There is no television, no bookshelf, no dining table, only the chairs arranged around the bespoke fireplace which leaps with a gas flame. The photographs are black and white, not casual family snaps, but arranged to look like such by a professional. Any one of them wouldn't look out of place in a spread of Hello. The floor is a high polished wood, dark and free of either dust or clutter.
I've never seen a room with so much furniture and so many hues I'd never choose, nor a room I love so much. I've dedicated my purchases to clean lines, simple and mostly white; but these walls are all burnt orange and reds. The furniture is rustic and dark, sprinkled liberally with vibrant cushions. There is a table in easy reach of every seat and the walls are more photographs than paint. Every one is of a happy memory, a smiling child, a birthday, a new baby. There is lively Columbian music in the background and the scent of cilantro in the air. I want to sink into the couch and never move. It isn't just a house, it's a home; she's made it that way.
When I finish decorating it's almost like my mother is back in the room. These are almost her colours, the ones she painted when I was a girl. The walls are cream, but not like the stuff I pour in my coffee, there is a hue of beach sand there. The floor is a dark walnut, just like she had, but not the laminate that was installed to withstand the abuse that children and dogs dish out. It's real wood now, and I know she would have liked that. But unlike her my accents are green, not blue. Mom grew up in a seaside town, but moved inland, so she missed the ocean. My colours are the forest canopy and the gnarled bark of the trunks. Instead of her rolled blinds at the windows I hang rich velvet curtains that remind me of moss. It's odd being here without her. I always felt like this was my home but now it is only my home, not hers. In time these walls will have new pictures, photographs of the family I will build, but there'll always be a spot for her on the wall or mantle. Mom belongs here.
The room gives away his bachelorhood. Everything is functional. The mantle is where he puts his keys and garage door opener. On the coffee table is a wrench set and a new set of wheels for a longboard. Under the small eating table is a pack of beer. I'm guessing that the fridge-freezer holds meals for one and he has more clothes in his laundry basket than in his closet. He's not hopeless though, he clearly knows one end of a vacuum cleaner from the other. He's got modern looking prints of the wall and a small photo of his folks on a side table. He's never decorated, that's for sure, but then who paints a rental place? I know I don't. He turns, smiling shyly, not a look I've seen on his face before. I can't help but smile back, he just told me all I need to know. He doesn't bring people back here often, perhaps he's a keeper after all.
The room gives away more than she means it to. Over the mantle are pictures of a guy that looks just like her, a brother I'm thinking. Deceased most likely, given the careful placement of white candles. Around it are smaller pictures of the two of them, birthday parties and the likes. He's younger, probably by a couple of years. Everything else is of her mother, no father here. Every decoration is feminine, there are those ubiquitous statements of love and friendship engraved into plaques on the wall. She idolizes love but cannot replicate what she has lost. Inside her is a void, one she needs to fill. But to be honest I'm not sure if that's me. I've never exactly been the dependable type. And I'm not sure I could ever fill the shoes of the guy on the wall, no doubt his wonderfulness is already enhanced by the rose tinted glasses of her selective memories. Who could ever compete with that?
If I painted the walls black the room couldn't be any darker. The once frilly net curtains at the window are thick with over a decade of grime. The light that struggles through fails to reflect from the once beige carpet that is more like a forest floor in both colour and texture. The walls could be any shade at all, I can't tell. There is no chance at all I'm taking another step further in without better footwear; one used hypodermic in my toe and it's all over for my health. It stinks of ammonia too, five bucks says that when we pull the carpet it's stuck in perfect round patches.
The room is uncomfortably large. It reminds me of a hotel foyer, not just in the space but in the artwork too. I scan for a personal touch, something that doesn't suggest a hired designer chose it. Nothing. The floor is polished concrete, the walls white and the furniture I'm sure is from a high-end Scandinavian designer, but the name escapes me for the moment. There is room in here for dozens of children, though I doubt even one would be welcome. It is a perfect place, but cold in its tranquility. The soft jazz just audible as background noise, and at the same volume in every room, somehow makes it even less personal. I feel like I just stepped into the mall. There are no personal photographs, like the place is staged for sale. It isn't though. Henry has been here for a decade at least and plans to retire here, assuming his third wife doesn't successfully challenge the prenup.
I always thought this room was small, stuffy even, but now that it lies empty I can see how large it really is. Mother had collected so much furniture over the years, all of it holding sentimental value from one of her predeceased friends, that it was hard even to move around. It had become impossible to take a step without worrying about knocking something over. Without her dusty roller-blinds the light streams in unfettered through the large bay windows. It's like someone just turned the clock back a decade or more. Instead of being an old lady's living room, it's now just a room, waiting for a new personality to be imposed on it. Already I'm renovating in my head, where the piano was will be french doors to let in more sun. I'm keeping the old wood-burning fireplace though, the city won't even let you put those in anymore. Perhaps I'll just make the surround natural stone, flat and unfussy.
The living room was dimly lit with the vintage wall sconces that hung on the mute coloured walls like earrings. Thick velvet curtains hid the long windows across the walls, just leaving a shy peak of the woods beyond. Two antique couches stood the opposite sides of each on the hand-woven rug in front of the ashen fireplace, accompanied by rich velvet and bronze wing-chairs that stood as a sidekicks. The paintings and faded tapestry panels on the walls seem to blink at Althea as she entered, like they were greeting her. She sunk in one of the couches and she looked like she was melting. It was the first time she rested her body today.