Monday, March 19, 2012

leaving the shared queendom

It was sometimes a bone of contention, more for Freckles than for me, I think, that we shared a room until we were 12 & 14, but that DJ had a room of her own from the time she was 7. Privilege of the oldest child, we were told. 

To be honest, I mostly didn't mind. 

In our first shared room, there was enough space to re-arrange our bunk beds now and then - stacked at the end of the room, or on the side wall opposite the window - though that was never my favourite, as the car lights reminded me of the ghosts that haunted my horrific nightmares. Sometimes, for a little while, we'd unstack the bunk beds and make one giant bed, or two parallel worlds on either side of the room when  Freckles needed 'her own space.' But then there was always the issue of door access and getting to the closet and the shared dresser. No division was ever quite right, and soon the beds would be stacked again.

We'd whisper and giggle. Sometimes she'd tell me to shut up so she could sleep. I found great comfort in having my big sister and friend so near. The nights were always so scary for me if I was alone. 

Freckles suffered a concussion when she was only 8, serious enough that forever after I got something I'd long dreamed of - the top bunk. The superior position. No longer could she hang her head down, her mouth stuffed with half chewed saltines that she kept stored in the bookshelf headboard, getting me every time with "Hey Shan, look." I still fell for it when she was on the bottom bunk though. 

So reminiscent of that floral dresser top
When we moved to the farm, our room was so much smaller. There was only one option for the beds - stacked against the end wall. There was less room to play as well. The cheerful 70's style blue floral mactac that covered the top of our dresser - 70's style because it had been installed in the 70's - had started to peel, and you could rub the glue off under the vinyl, rub it into wee rubber balls and flick them at each other. The balls looked like brown boogers, and we giggled hysterically. The blue matched our comforters, the matching afghans Grandma had crocheted us. So much blue. 

Our farm room had a tiny, high window, and it was only from the vantage of my top bunk that you could really sit and look out, staring across the outbuildings to the river at our property's edge. Wondering what was over those mountains, and when I'd get to see it. My dream, the dream that always pulled me forward even in those early days, was to go far and never come back. 

There was no trauma in that house. Nothing lacking. No abuse. But all I wanted was to go far far away. In those days, I'd stare out the window and imagine New York City. It was actually more than a dream - it was a knowing that someday I'd find my way there, and to other 'not this' places. In 1999 when I finally did visit the Big Apple, I remembered that dreaming farm girl and thought how proud and excited she'd be to be there, and I was. 

I've never gotten over how sharing that room ended. One day, after hushed conversations that DJ & I weren't privy to, our parents announced that Freckles was going to live with our aunt and uncle in a REAL city where she'd have a chance to do things differently for a year or so. She wasn't a bad child - none of us were - but they were worried and this was an opportunity for her. 

I was indignant, confused, and scared. I was the one who did well in school - why was she getting the reward of getting out of that dumpy dead-end town? And, why was I losing my life-long companion without even any say in the matter? But it was clear this wasn't easy for them either, and that there wouldn't be any conversation. They drove her to Edmonton. And I was alone in the nights. 

We moved into town the month Freckles left. I had my own room, though still in the now-separate bunk beds. The other half waited for Freckles in the basement, for when she'd come home on holidays and for good after two years away. But no bedroom was ever the same - and nor was my friendship with my sister. No bedroom really mattered. It was just a place to sleep now. Those earlier rooms had been shared queendoms. And now we were separate. 
Scintilla Prompt Day 4+ Bonus 
I missed the Sunday weekend bonus, so am combining two today: 

What is one massively impossible dream you've always had? +  
Talk about your childhood bedroom. Did you share? Slam the door? Let someone in you shouldn't have? Where did you hide things?

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