Room Ten is as unobtrusive as a coat closet. The wood of the walls is bare and grayer than that of the rest of the House. It's every mudroom where freshly caught fish are cleaned and children are taught to leave their boots, wet with rain. The temperature of the air is just barely warm enough to not need a sweater but want one, a feeling like when you almost can't stand to hold your breath underwater any longer. This is the cabin, in the deep wilderness, where Elliott Smith stabbed himself in the heart.

MUSIC PLAYING IN THIS ROOM

 

John is blonde and thoughtful. Brad, if it were possibly to shave off a person's cynicism and anger. John's frame is stiff and shyly wanting to be rested upon, made of the moments leading to moments. The closing of one's eyes before a jump, the inhale before the speech. The strings of his violin are stretched tightly over the bridge of it, patiently waiting to be tuned. And if tuning is all we will do, well, then tuning is all we will do.

What became too tattered to handle with an average touch without crumbling, from Evelyn's or Brad's rooms, found its way into John's to fade into the equalizing shade of tin cans before disintegrating to nothing like taken and missed opportunity alike.

The bed is a full mattress on a spring frame and sits as low as a cot in the barracks of a temporary military base. At the head of the bed is a shelf that's been hammered under the window, housing a clutter of plants in various states of health. Dried and browning leaves litter the jersey material of the dirty pillowcase, a color matching the terracotta of the planters.

Room Ten disappears from our versions of reality as easily as anything else when we get distracted. Living in the miasma of this whirlwind of shifting memory, we can't count on one thing to be still be there if we look away and look back again. It's more important than ever that we collect what we know into physical record. Tell us what you remember about us, and we'll do the same.

UPCOMING

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