The Blue Room

I lie in the spare bedroom of our little house. First house. I am wrapped in a twin-sized comforter from one of our college dorm rooms, even though the room is too hot and too small. I can smell the heat pulsing from the old registers. As I stare at the blue-striped wallpaper, which I suppose was hung to match the dark blue carpet, though it doesn’t, I think that I could live in here. I could stay in this rickety twin-bed, and I could be alone—something I never seemed to be able to be anymore.

Ever since we moved in, we’ve called it The Blue Room, and rightfully so. Over the next week, I bring in string lights, which I drape across the headboard, though they make me nervous when they get hot-to-the-touch. I bring in more blankets and throw pillows. Stacks of books. I put a candle on the windowsill. Slowly, I am moving in.

I spend entire evenings in this room, though I never sleep here. Would that be a step too far? Separate beds? I feel like a teenager again, a recluse in this small space. I read. I watch movies on my laptop. I avoid the living room and kitchen and dinnertime.

When I emerge at bedtime, I feel like a turtle ripped from its shell, vulnerable and out of place. I also feel guilty for the entirely separate world I’ve created for myself in this room, where I believe for a few hours a day that I can escape adulthood, my marriage, myself. All the same, I know I’ll return tomorrow to this room, cocooning myself in a shield made of blankets in my sanctuary, with its with its lone window overlooking the backyard full of deer and it’s blue-painted closet doors.

Shelbi Tedeschi is a writer of primarily nonfiction currently pursuing her MA in Creative Writing at Ball State University, where she teaches first-year composition and serves as an intern for River Teeth Journal. She has been previously published by Rathalla Review and Relief Journal.