It was quiet. The morning’s summer sun flooded the staircase as the woman slowly walked up the steps leading to the attic. Imagining the room before she opened the door, she felt happy. She was finally going to start this project that she thought was only in her dreams. She finally set aside time and was determined to begin to make her dream of having a serious place to write come true. In her dreams she saw it all so clearly… The heavy old well oiled desk filled with lots of drawers and dents and hidden compartments that sat in front of the beautiful bay window overlooking the tree tops, as the little brook below sparkled as it jumped over the stones in the creek-bed below. The birds chirped and flew among the branches, dipping down from time to time to splash in the little brook to get a drink.
The floor was refinished with rustic old barn wood and the wall to wall shelves were filled with books. Of all genres, classics, and every other book about writing that you might imagine. The comfy over stuffed leather swivel chair sat in front of the desk. Her laptop, sat open and waiting for her as a fireplace consumed the other side of the room with an overstuffed window seat and throw placed just so.
Her imagination danced as she opened the door. She immediately was met with the musty scent of memories. It wasn’t a bad smell, kind of like when you take a whiff of a very old book, it is hard to explain just how great of a smell that truly is. Eyes still sparkling, she left the door ajar and surveyed her task at hand, only to be met with the reality of what really was behind the door… She did not see her beautiful writing room waiting for her to pen her first novel, instead she was met with boxes and boxes and more boxes, and stacks and stacks of books and old trunks all filled with things her family had accumulated throughout the years. Some marked with names of her children, others of her and her husband. Some had names written across the tops or sides of them, of what was supposedly inside.
She looked at the place where her daughter had started helping her several years ago when she first shared her idea of making the attic a study to use for writing. Everyone was extremely helpful at first, promising to help clear out their own boxes. But now, several years later, nothing had been cleared out. It did look as if her daughter might have made an attempt at one time, and now it looked like a story standing still, as if her young daughter had been abruptly called away to go live her life. She smiled as she looked at a place where she once started to organize things. One pile might have been a “keep” pile and another, a “throw away” or” give away” pile, she was not sure.
Everyone was happily living their lives, consumed by their own busy schedules which truly made her happy. She side stepped the piles of teddy bears and books and kneeled down to unlatch a trunk among all the others. Not sure what she would find. The woman lifted the lid that she’d written her name on a lifetime ago. She dusted her palm across her name, as she read “Keri” in curvy round cursive that she almost remembered writing all those years ago. All at once, she was transported back into another time as if finding a time capsule. She lifted old loose photographs, and shifted a stack of yearbooks from every year on the floor beside her. She was just ready to thumb through the first one when something caught her eye. It was a box inside the trunk with packing tape securing each end. In big black marker letters it read PRIVATE with warnings of not to open, scrawled in her own youthful handwriting.
She sat with the box in her hands. So unlike the girl, who had packed that box away decades ago. She thoughtfully frowned and then slowly reached for some scissors and snipped through the aged tape easily. Inside, she discovered what she might describe simply as history. On top of everything she found her diary, still locked shut, but how silly, a key hung from the lock. She laughed quietly as she remembered always faithfully locking it and then hiding it with the key still attached.
She took the key and unlatched the little lock. As soon as she saw the familiar handwriting she felt a sadness as she remembered writing and the feelings of love and heartbreak and confusion that consumed her during that time of her life. The time when writing helped her survive, and it inspired her to go through the boxes and finally give herself that place to write, a place to tell her story.