people live in corners people live in corners Writing Sample
[ Home / Writing Samples / memories of forgetting /]
Current Page:


Cities must be hiding something awfully precious – like kindness, or honesty, or peace.

(iii. a room with no windows)

The Doctor has her secrets, too. She pays particular concern to my case; she often tells me how important I am to her, though she doesn’t say why. Nevertheless, what she writes about me on those charts remains a mystery. I wonder sometimes that she has so much to record there. Forgetting seems like such an easy thing to me. It leaves you with little to say.

Since I woke up, I’ve found that most people are even stranger than the Doctor is. Certainly they guard even more secrets. I wonder about these people each time I stop to watch, every time I try to uncover their mysteries. People love their secrets. And they hold on to them more tightly than teddy bears, with more force than they use to close their eyes.

This must be why so many people bump into you on the street. In every city in the world this is true. People look down and force their eyes closed to guard their secrets, busy with their own hurried lives. And every time someone with his head looking down knocks into me on the street, I stare at him with amazement – because these city people walk too fast, and each one is headed in the same direction. Stranger still, they are all doing the same thing: city people are always looking for their keys.

I.iii. room with no windows
iii. a room with no windows
Somewhere there is a room that holds everything that has been lost.

Surely this must be because cities are made of doors, really. Every doorway is an opportunity that people try persistently to unlock – or more often, to shut away. Cities have so many doors, and to be accurate, even more windows. Oddly, these windows are only used to see past the rooms. People only use windows to look outside, never to look inside. And the windows, just like the doors, are all guarded, shuttered, and locked. Imagine what’s inside these rooms. Certainly it must be something very important. Cities must be hiding something awfully precious – like kindness, or honesty, or peace. But actually, I can guess what the cities are hiding: it’s just more and more doorways.

It must be true, though, that some places, even in cities, are worth all this rapid effort. With all these people looking, there must be at least one place important enough to search for.

And I suppose I can think of one such place. Somewhere there is a room that holds everything that has been lost. I’m sure of this because nothing ever disappears from the world. It just gets hidden, in secret. So someplace there must be a room with everything – even your dreams.

Surely people will be delighted when they finally get to visit this room. There you can find all the promises people have made you over the years, finally fulfilled. On the table is the affection you needed (and still do), the warmth of a hand on your cheek, all the time that so impatiently vanishes. On the floor is the pile of letters that were never sent, the phone messages that people forgot, the change you had needed for the bus, the good morning! and how are you? of passersby. In every corner is a tiny surprise to brighten your day. And in the air you can hear the sound of everyone remembering and cheering your birthday. Modestly small, but a room that holds all you have ever expected from the world.

Maybe this is the room that city walkers keep rushing toward. At least I hope that this is what people are searching for, because, at least, this room of everything is truly worth the effort. Yet people continue to fumble with keys, still unable to find the one that will unlock the door.

I’ll tell you something, though, and you can tell anyone you like. I’m not one for secrets. (I’ve already told the Doctor, but this news she didn’t even care to write down in a file. She pays no attention to the most important things!) Reader, I have seen one of these rooms, and I promise you there is no lock or doorway to keep you out. But tell me, if you know, why do people expect there to be one?

Previous Page Back Next Next page


Home [ Home / Writing Samples / memories of forgetting /]
© 2002 by b.z.