- Emmy Bitonti
The Room Right Next to Mine
Where did it go? Where did my happiness go? The gray clouds moved in, chasing away the blazing warm sun and bringing the cold sharp winds. The cheerful bright days have been replaced by gloomy dark ones, as it happens every year. And every year my emotions parallel, copying the shift in the atmosphere more intensely than I’d like to admit.
I’ve been in my dark room all day. Even with the blinds up, the greyscale of the outside barely sheds any light into my room. My sheets have numerous stains, some of which I don’t even know where they came from. Two laundry baskets have been at the end of my bed for weeks still full, but the clothes rummaged through and unfolded, now just piles in baskets. They sit right next to the pile of dirty clothes on the ground. All of my surfaces are covered. Letters, books, makeup, and junk fill them up. And I don’t have the motivation to clean any of it.
My dad’s in the room right next to mine; I hear his TV on the wall we share. He’s constantly busy, either with work or at-home responsibilities. I haven’t seen him all day.
Slowly, I bring myself out of my bed in which has been my shelter for the past number of days, or even weeks. I feel heavy. My floor is barely visible; a mixture of clean and dirty clothes are littered everywhere. I climb over hills and obstacles, all so much effort to just go knock on my dad’s door.
But I knocked. And right after my knuckle hit the wood, one-two-three, I heard my dad call for me to come in. Without a word I open the door, and it creaked as I stepped foot into his pristine, spotless room, with everything perfectly set in its place.
“Dad… I don’t feel so good.”
“Oh baby, what's wrong? Talk to me- is your head alright?” His face contorts into familiar worry as he opens up his arms, inviting me into his chest in a warm hug.
I accept the invite.
“I can’t do this anymore. I’m so… tired,” was all I could croak out.
His hands run through my hair, comforting me. I could only imagine how he feels as my father right now, listening to those words transpire out of his child’s mouth. He didn’t respond for a little, seemingly figuring out what to say. But he never let go of me.
“Things are going to happen in your life that will affect you no matter what. You should already know that—you’ve unfortunately been through so much already. Yet you’ve been so strong.”
His embrace became tighter around me. I smiled into his chest, as any reassurance made me feel warm. It was a temporary escape. I needed it.
“Happy wouldn’t be happy without sad sometimes, and unfortunately we’ve both experienced way more sad than we would’ve liked,” he chuckled. His laugh is contagious. It allowed my muscles to relax—I didn’t even know they were tense.
“But no matter what, you and me? We’re a team. And I’ll always be here for you, especially during times like this. I love you, squish.”
“I love you too, dad. Thank you.”