This story is by Alberta Sequeira and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I can still smell him. If I close my eyes, I can see him. The pillow has his manly scent when I hold the cushion between my hands and fold it in my arms. I spray his cologne on the pillow nightly. I lay my head on the pad and pretend it’s his chest. We’re together in heart and mind.
I can’t leave my room. Johnny and I made love in this location numerous times. I can’t move on with my life without him. When he left, my world stopped. His large, sports sneakers are stationary in the corner of the room. He didn’t take them. If I open the closet doors, his clothes are hanging, waiting for his return.
He left a year ago and the room stays the same. Each day, I leave the bedcover back, as if, we were ready to crawl back into the bed and make love over again.
The shades are pulled down to keep the room private. Our love was intimate. The room brought me gladness. I don’t’ want to leave this chamber until I know he’s on the other side waiting to embrace me.
This room is where I feel him. It keeps me connected. This was where our last moment together with words of love had been whispered in my ear. I don’t want to break the spell. The room has magic. He loved flowers and joked about them, “Why do flowers always drive fast? They put the petal to the metal” or “What did the flower say after a joke? I was just pollen your leg.” Johnny’s voice filled the room with himself. I water the roses sitting on the window sill. The flowers reminded me of his sense of humor.
If I’m in the room, he’s with me. If he doesn’t return, our room will be empty. My life will be hollow. I can’t remain in this place knowing I will live alone.
Before we shared my room, my life was normal. He ruined it for me to return back to my routine without him. It was hard opening up and bringing him home and leading him into my life. He was my future, the shape of things to come.
I remember the feel on our bodies lying on the white shag rug. We searched for ways to go deeper into our intimacy. We lit candles that caused shadows to float with vibration bouncing around the two of us. We felt surrounded by safety in a world of our own.
The room has a red, plaid armchair in the corner. I look over at the seat. He made love to me in the small section. We embraced until our bodies melted into one. How can I ever bring another man into this room? He has thrown his essence into each corner and cracks.
My memories crave his touch, his words, his devotion. My photographic memory seems to fade in and out. I have nothing to hold on to if they disappear. Where had he been all these years? He’s now a part me, as this room.
There’s a tall plant on the table that makes me imagine the oxygen that it supplies fills the room to help me breathe while I wait. I need air. I turn the light on dim. It’s not too bright, yet it gives me the sight of our belongings thrown around my room. I fear the total darkness will bring dull, lifeless thoughts, an end my remembrance.
The bed has two tawny-orange throw pillows mixed with pale yellows and beige. It makes the room radiate. I remembered back to us having pillow fights acting like children. I prayed nothing would get broken from being silly.
I go back to my thoughts of Johnny holding me in his arms in this large room, making me feel safe. His strong arms embrace me giving me comfort. This room is my cage to keep him when he sets foot in the doorway. I want to stay here forever.
The surroundings are filled with romance and love. I feel foolish sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting. I can’t leave the room. I stare at the phone on the end table. I want the ring to give me hope. I need to hear my lover’s voice.
The last night together, the windows were left open to welcome the ocean breeze surrounding us under the covers. The small wind blew the curtains in high and low motion in the room. They were dancing in my mind with the leisurely sway turning to large gusts hitting against the walls when they got strong. It was a diversion from being alone. The force made me fear our love was going to be blown away as the curtains.
This room in my house is a gesture of oneness. Not from riches, but the reassurance of what happened between us. This is my favorite living space. I sleep, rest, read, make love, or watch a love story on television to bring back Johnny’s realness.
It’s late, and the dim light appears to be brighter with the darkness taking over. Where is he? I’m waiting. It’s lonely in this room by myself. I feel exhausted mentally lingering. He gave me a ring with a promise of marriage on his homecoming.
Hours and days pass as I continue to wait for Johnny to reappear. I want to show the world our love. People will see we are a couple. Happy and in love. We’ll shop and bring joy to each other adding more unforgettable moments to this room.
Children will come and fill our lives as parents. A boy for him, a girl for me. A part of him, a part of me. My desire is to become his wife. I’ll cook, clean, and wait for him to return.
As we age, we’ll show years of sharing this room. This is where we’ll say our goodbyes when we’re called home.
A loud foghorn blast awakens me. I sit up in bed. I try to focus my eyes on where I am. Why am I in bed when I was waiting in my room seconds ago for Johnny?
I realized this figment of my imagination was my continuous nightly fantasy. The daydream has taken over reality. I’m still alone. Was there a man who came to be with me in this room to make love or was he coming to marry me? Was it another sleep vision? My wish was to bring Johnny back into my room to stay as my lover.
Why do I have these hallucinations during my sleep in my bedroom craving his love? They’re dreams, nothing else. They’re not real, although, I wait for them to come true. I want Johnny to share my bedroom and my life, not in my dreams.
I woke up feeling the emotions as if the reunion happened. I look around. I see no flowers on the sill. The corner of the room is empty of sports sneakers. I get up to open the closet. Only my belongs hang next to each other. No man clothes fill a section. Where is he?
I get out of bed and sit in the corner chair of my room. It was so real being made love to in this chair not long ago.
I’m alone in my room waiting. I believed if I dreamed hard enough, it would happen. It’s always a desire through my mind sleeping.
I became fully awake and remembered ….it was Johnny. He did comfort me in this room. We were to be married. He had left with his troops to go to war. Left with memories of our fun, love, and tomorrows. He died on a foreign soil never to return to my arms.
I walk over to the curtain and open them to let the sunshine in my room. When will I feel the glimmer in my own spirit? War. Conflict of countries fighting facing strangers who want to live as much as he did. An ambush took my lover.
I dream to feel Johnny. My hand rubs on the sheets, remembering his spot. It’s my way of touching him and the relationship that happened long ago leaving us separated. I wondered how long I could keep him in my dreams. Will he fade away like the receding tide on the beach outside?
I look at the engagement ring placed on my finger. Placing it back in its tiny box would be letting go.
I take his picture sitting on the nightstand and hold the frame in my hands. It was always too painful to remember my loss. I place the photo on the nightstand next to my bed again. Johnny’s photo shows him smiling in his Marine uniform. He believed in going to war to protect his loved ones. I’ll give one more glance at it before shutting the light off tonight. Another dream to bring Johnny alive and into my heart.