Standing there, she wasn’t sure why she went inside. Something about the house, could’ve been the color it was painted, brick red with white trim, or was it the flowers all arranged on a mound in the front yard, muddled with overgrowth now. Might’ve touched a memory. She couldn’t say.
Whatever it was it brought her inside, through the front door left ajar when the owners ran or when seekers came through scavenging, passed the living room left in broken disarray, up creaking stairs careful to spot rotten wood and through the door at the top. She stood there, unsure for how long, her eyes wandering around the room. The dresser – its drawers lain open, clothes left flung over their edges in haste – still held audience to a former life and its mementos. A pair of smiling teenage girls, best friends in a worn frame shared the dresser top with a carved, wooden jewelry box cornered with worked metal a tasseled silk cloth spread underneath and magazine clipped pictures of a young singer mingled with everyday photos of friends pinned to the wall, their edges curling with age.
Around the room, pictures of a favorite black cat in adorable poses, backpacks and shoulder bags dangled askew from a hook behind the door, clothes hung in makeshift closets set into wall recesses, stuffed animals lounged in sunlight atop a padded window seat, the bed topped by pillows and a plush rose comforter. Movie posters, stickers and memories adorned the walls. She stood there, reflected in remains of the long blue-framed mirror, ponytail languished over one shoulder, a cheek smudged with dust, a girl as young as the best friends in the picture yet grown older than her years. She reached for a stuffed bear sunning at the paned window, held it close and nuzzled it under her chin. She smelled the must in its fur but she ignored it letting herself drift around the space again, enjoying the dream without the collapse, where she smiled and laughed with friends, where she snuggled under comfortable blankets at night, a black kitten curled at her feet. It was a dream where all the bad had not happened, one where this was her room, where she could always feel safe and warm.