On Tuesday, the first of this month, I finally moved into the big room: the master bedroom. I slept in there a couple of scorching, humid, windless nights in August because it’s the only room in the house with air conditioning. My mother had A/C installed there years ago over my father’s objections. He was dead-set against air conditioning but I suppose in the interest of keeping the peace he caved on that one room.
I hadn’t been able to make the move sooner for a variety of reasons. For one, I like my old room. It’s cozier than the master and it looks out toward the northeast and the Atlantic Ocean — or rather, it did before the asshole put up the oversized monstrosity on the lot across the street. The bizarrely designed box took the place of the small cottage that had been there for decades; the woman who lived there died and the charity group she left the place to sold it off to the new guy. He’s an architect who ruined a nice, stylish beach place down the street a few years ago and the worked his magic on this beachfront lot. But I digress…
Anyway, yes, my old room is cozy and nice. But it is also small. And the bathroom is down the hall, shared with two other bedrooms on the floor.
The master, on the other hand, has high ceilings, a wide-open floor plan and an en suite bathroom. It also has a view of the Atlantic (to the east and southeast) and direct access to the deck. While not an issue with winter approaching, deck access is nice because that’s where I spend a lot of my evenings at home. My usual spot on the deck, accessed through my sister’s room, faces east and northeast, and while nice, has been assaulted by the aforementioned glitter dome. That the palace is lighted all night also lessens the stargazing.
But at my parents’ corner of the house there’s a wondrous shadow. No streetlights impinge on the sky and the neighbors on that side value the night sky as much as I do. And instead of having to carry speakers outside with me when I chill out on the deck in my old spot, now I’ll be able to simply open a window and turn a speaker to face outside and I’ll have tunes to suit the occasion.
So there were concrete reasons why it took me three months to make the move. But there were also more subtle obstacles to be overcome.
For starters, it’s not my room. It’s my parents’. It’s ALWAYS been their room. Moving in there puts the final touch on the fact that they’re gone and the generations have changed hands. It’s like it’s the next, penultimate step in the path of life: birth, cradle, shared bedroom, own bedroom, master bedroom…casket. It’s been weird enough no longer having living parents and moving into the master bedroom makes that fact even clearer.
There was also one unanticipated consequence to moving into the master bedroom: doing so has made the already-too-big house even bigger. When I occupied one bedroom and the shared bath and the hall in between, I was using a good half of the floor. Now, with everything self-contained in the master suite, I’m using maybe a quarter — and the rest of the floor can essentially be shut down. That’s nice financially — the heat can be turned way down in those other rooms and the sun bakes the master room to a high temperature all winter long, which is nice — but it makes the place a little lonelier.
And finally, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to make the master room mine. I’ve hung some things on the wall and put my clothes in the closet, but I don’t know that anything less than a wholesale overhaul — new paint, new window treatments, maybe new flooring — ever makes it seem like I’m doing anything other than sleeping in my parents’ room. Or maybe that’s just a function of time. I guess we’ll find out.
With the finality of my father’s passing, and the fact that my siblings and I are now the oldest limb on this family tree, everything has become a function of time, and finding things out down the road. I guess all of life for everyone is that way, really, but it’s still weird to make that right turn into the master bedroom instead of continuing on down to the end of the hall when turning in for the night.
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Sidebar: People have asked about the future of the house. The short version is this: The house has, for almost a decade, been owned by a trust comprised of my brother, my sister and me. My sister has no interest in the home but my brother and I do so we’re going to buy out her third and keep the place. At least that’s the plan. We’ll see how finances work out and that won’t be determined for several months. But I’m living here now and have been since the spring, and I’ll stay here for the foreseeable future barring any amazing job offers elsewhere (hint, hint to anyone reading). On the job front, my goal is to set up some freelance projects (another hint, hint to anyone reading) — consulting, writing, editing — so that I can remain here. And in the meantime I will continue to clean and thin out the inconceivable amount of stuff my we-grew-up-in-the-Great-Depression-so-we-saved-EVERYTHING parents had stashed all over the place. One dumpster’s worth of stuff has already been removed and another will be needed soon. I also have close to a thousand books to be donated or discarded — and that doesn’t include the hundreds of books I’m keeping because they’re of interest to me personally or they’re first editions or autographed or an antique or some other reason that gives them a particular value. If you’re a bibliophile, give me a shout.