Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Old Room

This is my old room. It still smells the same: a little moist, the smell of floor wax and soap. The fluorescent light is harsh, harsher than I remember. In my own place, I use only incandescent bulbs; they soften my edges, my large pores, ready for my close-up at any moment and angle.

My old desk still has my high school photographs under its glass top. When I look at those old photographs, I feel a small grief for that young boy who has since lost his innocence and his twenty-six inch waist. They are both lost forever.

On the desk, my old stuff: pens, pencils, dictionaries were pushed to a dusty corner to make way for the tools used in my mother's new hobbies. There seems to be a small cottage industry going on in here: needlepoint, some quilting, a scrapbook of photos of my father and his mistress, taken by a private detective. The scrapbook was top-notch, I thought, artistic even, with very neat handwriting and the words "DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE" written over and over in blood-red ink.

A single twin-size bed is pushed against the wall. It used to be in the middle of the room. The mattress on the bed looks shrunken, like a dried-out starfish under the thin, worn fitted sheet. I sit on the edge. I can feel its crusty, hard edges--a day-old French bread--under my thighs.

The fitted sheet is blue, dotted occasionally by tiny, soft flowers; neutral enough for a boy (to my dismay). The sheets were the same ones from when I left home fifteen years ago. The wallpaper too--still the same green checkered pattern, slightly peeling in some places. It feels sticky to the touch, as if the adhesive under it seeped through.

I can't believe I ever slept in this bed, under these conditions. It's hard to believe there was a time when Egyptian cotton was but a dream; when pillow shams only belonged in fairy tales. How simple and austere, how very Little House on the Prairie.

When I moved to Chicago I didn't have enough room to fit all my personal belongings into the one old suitcase my mother gave me. I left a lot of things behind. I didn't know that it would be nearly a decade before my first trip back, otherwise, I would've been more careful and thrown away that can of Crisco in the nightstand--it got really funky.

I am wired from my long trans-Pacific flight. I am always tense in an airplane. I needed to relax, blank out my mind. I needed a drink. Or a porn movie.

What I wouldn't give for the sweet, tired bliss of a self-induced orgasm. I would be asleep in a minute. Jerking off is so underrated; it deserves an Academy Award or something. Ever notice how Oscar is holding on to long stick? I would often wake up in the morning, both hands on to my stick, just like Oscar.

There is a built-in drawer to one side of the bed. I pulled it open to see what was in there. Odd. It was empty. My mother must've cleaned it out. I tried to remember what was in there. It didn't matter--anything important would've been hidden away: under the loose floorboard, in the secret compartment I cut into the King James Bible.

The dresser is still in the same place though. I wondered. I pulled it forward. It feels heavy, I'm not sure why; no time to investigate.

Ah, it's still there. Taped behind the dresser, a manila envelop. I open it.

Inside was my old copy of Torso magazine. Jon Vincent was on the cover, remember him? Sexymotherfucker with a raunchy mouth?

"How about it," I murmured to my old bed, "what say we do it for old times sake?"

I reach for the Crisco.


This is part of a series of posts about my vacation in February of '06 in the Philippines. Read the rest here:

Part 1: The Long Way Home
Part 2: Starvation
Part 3: Fake Plastic Food
Part 4: My Old Room
Part 5: Autopilot
Part 6: Jetlag

Part 7: A Conversation with My Father
Part 8: Archeology
Part 9: A Conversation with My Mother
Part 10: Redeye
Part 11: I Carry Your Heart
Epilogue: Fun with Fake Poop

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