Living room

I know. There’s an old man. He walks into a room. Not that promising, but see how it runs.

He stands in the doorway:

Why did I come in here again?

We’ve all experienced that. He looks around the room. There’s a TV – no, a freezer humming to itself to his left. To his right there’s a bookcase. In the far corner there’s a desk with an old computer on it, the monitor off grey, the keyboard noticeably grimy from sweaty fingers.

Did I want some ice cream, or something else? Was I hungry?

He pats his stomach.

I could be if I thought about it, but no. Not right now. How about that filing cabinet? Did I need something from there? Or a book? Perhaps I saw something on the telly or read something. It reminded me of something and I came here.

Or the computer. I want to use the internet for something.

No. Nothing’s ringing a bell. I should step back, retrace my steps. Look down the hallway. God, it’s gone dark. Clouds must’ve drifted in front of the sun. Maybe a storm’s coming in. Or, is it that time already? Dusk. The days are getting shorter, I swear, but isn’t it April? They should be going the other way.

Never mind. Focus. Why are you here?

He walks down the corridor, trying to remember what he was doing before he found himself in the doorway.

I looked at the pictures. Yes. Audrey and the kids. And then I kept on walking. Like this. Back to the doorway and…Nothing.

I should go all the way back. Down the hall and into – where was I? Bedroom or living room? The door’s shut. Must’ve been the living room. The light’s on, but where was I sitting? There? There? This one’s my usual seat, but there’s a magazine there. And it’s open. Was I reading it?

Let’s have a look. No. I don’t even know who that is. An actor? A model? You could have fooled me. Why is this exquisite? How will it change my life? No.

The TV’s off, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have it on. Put it on then. See what channel it was on.

What’s this? Who are these people? Why she asking them to do that? It looks like a quiz, but do I like quizzes? I don’t think so. I don’t know anything. But maybe I do now. I don’t know.

There’s the mantlepiece, the windowsill, the heater. Why can’t I remember? What did I go to the front room for? There could be a million things I do that I’ve forgotten about. I don’t make lists. Look at this. Was I drinking it? But I don’t like coffee. Mum and dad drink it. They say it’s bad for me and it is.

Where are they now? Why am I alone? Hide and seek? Maybe. Or that other game. The one where one person hides and everyone else looks for them and when they find them stay with them. The last person to find them all is the loser. I always lose this game. I must be losing.

Why’s it so quiet? I’m frightened. Mum, dad. Where are they? They never go off like this unless granny or Aunt Mildred are here. Maybe she’s in the bedroom. She used to go there all the time, especially when daddy was sick or on night shifts.

I’ll knock. Yes. See if anyone’s in. I know she always tells me not to, but where is everyone? She won’t be happy, the door’s closed, but…No, maybe I’m not meant to be there. Or here. She’ll shout at me if I wake her. But I don’t want to be alone.

Where is everyone? No. I’ll knock. Quickly. No response. Maybe I should turn the knob. Open it. Yes. Okay. It’s not making too much noise. No creaking.

Oh, no one’s here either. I could’ve sworn I heard something, but – what am I dong here again? The door then back to – where? Where’s Aunt Mildred? Mum and dad? They don’t usually leave me on my own.

Is Lorna here? Maybe she’s in charge now, but hold on. If mum and dad and Aunt Mildred aren’t here then why am I? Is that in the future when I’m older or back – when?

No. I’ll go to Lorna’s room. Yes. The door’s open. I can see from here. She’ll be in there. She can explain everything.

But – no. She’s not. What’s that there? Books – okay. Some sort of large white box on my left. But where’s Lorna’s bed and what’s that thing? A television? But what’s that in front of it? Look, letters. A typewriter?

This isn’t Lorna’s room. Not at all. What is this place? No Mildred. No mum. No dad. This carpet’s blue. But we don’t have any blue carpet. We’ve never had blue carpet. Whose house is this? Have I gone in the wrong house? Is it Neville’s? No. Where are the model airplanes?

I don’t like this. This is not Neville’s. This is not mine. I’m leaving. Where? Left. Right. This is a door. Have I been through it? What colour is it? How does it move? Push. No. Pull. No. What’s this thing in the middle? I do something with it, but what? Push. No. Pull. No. Turn. Clockwise. Anti-clockwise. Okay and pull.

What’s this place? Over there. Is that carpet? It’s green. Yes, green. And there’s some grey stuff there. Can I stand on it? Where are mum and dad? Why can’t I ask them? Lorna? Lorna? Where are you? I don’t recognise any of this. Can I go this way? Do I stay? But it’s not my house. And what’s that in the sky? It’s yellow. Yes. But what’s it doing there? What’s it for? Where am I? What am I doing?


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