The New Room

Entry by: Guesswho

24th October 2022
Where Monsters cannot Touch

“And this is your room,” my mother said, when we first moved into the small end-terrace, upstairs flat, above the ‘Bamboo Coffee Bar’.

Had I been and adult, I’d have been able to touch both sides of the room at once but I was only four years old, if that, and found myself slotted in a narrow bed with barely room to shimmy down the side. In fact, very soon, I had no memory of any other room.

The fact that I was an only child prepared me for my nights of solitude within those walls, subjected to hours of perforated silence, serenaded by a muffled juke box and the counterpoint of kerbside motorbikes coughing their metal guts. And then there was my father’s drunken rage as he beat my mother to a pulp, at midnight, on the landing outside my bedroom door.

Each night, this was the cage of my existence, the exit barred by monsters hiding in the wardrobe by the door. I dared not extend my naked foot beyond the bed’s cliff-edge for fear it would be bitten off.

Fear always lurked somewhere in those shadows, though perhaps less so when my father wasn’t there.

My room was always dark, even in the summer, as the mean window behind my bed looked out upon a crumbling wall and a narrow passage like a canyon, separating gable-ends.

I couldn’t see the sky from there but it couldn’t stop my flights of fancy. As dusk fell, I’d kneel upon my bed with my elbows on the windowsill inventing stories suggested by pictures hidden in the withered faces of the old red bricks.

From there, they’d follow me to sleep, chase my dreams and open up another world where monsters couldn’t touch me.