Room 1307

I had written this for a class I was taking a few years ago. I cannot reveal the exact intent of the assignment, but you will get it if you get to the end of the page. Do let me know what you think!

North Wales Sanatorium c1935, Denbigh

North Wales Sanatorium c1935, Denbigh

I must admit that I was not surprised when I woke up this morning and found her there, expressionless as always. Her hair was parted in the middle and set behind her ears.

It has been five months now since I first saw her. When she first came in, I had to go out and stay in the hall for the night because she tried to hit me, shouting something like: “It is unfair, there’s nothing wrong with me. They’re probably regretting their mistake as we speak!!”I knew she was crazy then. I was escorted back into the room the next day and found her sitting on her bed, her suitcase next to her right knee, cleaning her comb. She looked like a little boarding school student, all cleaned up and ready to go home on a Saturday morning. The lady in white slid the door open and told her to join them in the hall as the movie was about to start.”I sincerely apologize but I really can’t. You see, my daughter is coming to pick me up and I really can’t make her wait for me.”The lady smiled, shrugged her shoulders in a movement of indifference and walked away. I can’t blame the old woman, I never liked the lady in white either; she never asked ME if I wanted to go anywhere or watch a movie.The woman stood up and walked towards me. I was looking forward to seeing her up-close, but as she came closer to me, with every step that she took, her contortion became clearer and clearer, as if carved into each and every little muscle of her face. She looked at me and said: “My God! You have changed so much, my old friend!”I knew she was deranged then, for I had never met her before and something about her face showed that there was more to this old lady than I thought. She stopped moving forward and started slowly caressing her cheeks, eye lids, and forehead, running her hand over her crackled skin, while looking at me, as if to compare. Her eyes then suddenly seemed wider as she said: “Your ears! Your ears have become so disgustingly big!”I must admit I was not growing much fonder of her and did not appreciate nor understand why she was commenting on my ears. I decided not to reply either. She kept on mumbling something about me being good looking back when I was young. Honestly, I was not sure if I was to ignore her or not, for the poor little thing had no one else to talk to.”I am not supposed to be here, you know.” She said. “I really should be at work; they have no one to bake pies now and they must be worried.”She stood up and went to the window. It had a fairly nice view of the private park with some benches and rosebushes. She pulled her body upwards a little and pushed her face onto the metal bar. And, instead of having that dreamy, satisfied look on her face that I have seen on others, she frowned, closed her eyes and spat something gigantic that flew out the window and downhill to the park. She came back and looked at me in her own bizarre way again.”Now that’s what I think of their ‘beautiful views of the park and fountain.’”The next day, she woke up really early. I don’t know why she had the indecency to take her clothes off in front of me; that was not the prettiest sight I had ever seen. Her skin was severed; it was flaking and leaving hideous scars all over her body. That was probably not the first time it had happened to her, because some scars looked older than others. She stood in front of her little closet and stared at its contents. I didn’t really understand why it was such a tough choice; all she had were three dresses and one pair of black pants. After about an hour, she finally picked out a light blue dress and said that it would bring out the color of her eyes. She slipped into the blue rag, and then came back in front of me with a little bag in her hands. I really didn’t know what to think about her at that point. She took out something that looked like the remains of a lipstick tube, opened it, and shoved her nasty yellow old finger in. My disgust grew even further when she took that finger and smeared the pink cream all over her lips. She then opened a little black box and smeared her finger in its blue contents again and proceeded to color her eyelids. I had never seen something of the sort before. She looked like one of those little plastic replicas of young female human beings after having been shoved in the dryer. I muffled my laugh in order not to attract her attention. She came closer to me and smiled. She disgusted me even more; her yellow teeth were sticking out of that pink thing which moved a lot when she spoke. She didn’t even seem to mind the way I was looking at her. She even kissed me and left a huge lipstick mark on my forehead. Finally, she went and sat on her bed.Seven hours later, she was still sitting on her bed. She started scratching her arms frantically and little fragments of skin were detaching from her body and falling on her bed. My pity for her was rapidly growing into despise as I got to observe her more day by day. On Sunday, a woman and a little boy came to see her. The young lady kept on calling the woman “Aunt Esther” and saying things like “It is all for the better.” The little boy ate half the chocolates they brought her, and kept on saying “Mom, I wanna go NOW”. The old woman, who had painted her face again, kept on kissing him, leaving lipstick marks on his face. It is easy to understand why he wanted to leave.The next day, they took her out so they could give me my shower and clean the room. They didn’t let her come back in until it was all cleaned up; and it needed a lot of cleaning because by the end of the week, used tissues were scattered or hidden everywhere, most of her hair was on the floor and what was left from the box of chocolate that she had stuffed under her pillow had already left big brown prints on the white pillowcase. The lady in white suddenly blasted the door open and told the two other women who were busy cleaning the mess to hurry because the old witch was sent back to her room due to her behavior. She had chewed up her food and spat it out on someone else’s plate. The lady in white said that the old woman was not cooperating at all and was becoming extremely annoying. She even talked about getting rid of her. As much as I abhorred the old pest, I thought that was too much of a punishment for impersonating a grinder in public. The lady in white lowered her voice and said that she would tell them when the proper time had come.The old larvae came back in mumbling something like a curse and spat on the floor again. She didn’t care about the lady in white or what she was saying. She even spat in her face twice. When we were finally alone in the room, she came closer to me and said: “I’m going to make them regret the second they decided to lock me up in here. Life has never been fair to me! This time, I’m fighting back.” She looked at me and proceeded to practice different “angry faces”. It was obvious to me that this was no joke, even I was afraid of the witch.The lady in white came back in with a lunch tray. She looked at the old pest and told her calmly that everything was fine now and that she had to eat her lunch. The old pest smiled at her. It was the first time that I had seen her smile. And, as soon as the lady in white brought the tray closer, the pest hit it so hard that it injured the lady on her forehead. I was living with a witch. That night, she disappeared behind me. I heard her mumbling something as she was rummaging through the pages of what seemed to be a book. “God help the one who’s being cursed”, I thought to myself. She didn’t seem like she was going easy on him.On Saturday morning, the old pest woke up in a very bad mood. It became even worse when the nurse came in to tell her that “her niece wouldn’t be joining her for lunch today”. The witch started attacking her knitting and gnawing her lips. And then, something extraordinary happened, she closed her eyes, and something came down her scarred cheeks. She dropped her knitting and stood up. She walked towards me and suddenly started singing.I must admit I was looking forward to her shutting up, in the beginning. But as she went on, I was taken by the words of her song. It was about a lady suffering from something. Skin disease, apparently. That lady never got married and never bore children because of that disease. I recognized two characters in her song, her niece and her niece’s son, who always rejected her and her affection, afraid they would get it too. The lady, with time, supported more scars that never healed, but mostly, scars that were carved into her memory because of the way people treat her. She was always the monster, the witch everywhere she went. Her voice became softer and softer as she went on with the song. It was almost like a child singing, an angel. I had never heard anything that beautiful. She came closer to me and stared. A ray of sunshine came into the room and for a moment, it was like I could see the face of a little girl instead of hers. I never noticed how beautiful her eyes were. Their pure baby blue color made them seem like two perfect gems. She took her comb and started brushing what time had sparred on her head. Her hands were as delicate and her fingers thin as those of a pianist. I enjoyed each and every bit of this unveiling beauty and day by day, I grew more attached to her.But on Monday morning, Esther didn’t wake up. I stole a last glance at her, and realized how relieved she looked. They came to take her out and left me reflecting an empty, lifeless room.

Comments

  1. G H says:

    I read it this morn..Sad. On many fronts. How we tend to isolate ppl bcz theyre not ‘normal’. How we tend to judge ppl before knowing them. Sad how sometimes we need to feel pity twrds some1 to tolerate them. I loved how descriptive you were, i could actually see her in front of me.

  2. Mack says:

    wow, that’s such a beautiful story to tell, in such perfect details that captured my attention to the fullest! very well done! I am truly admired with the way the story is told too! big ups! keep the great work up :)

  3. Samia says:

    never judge a book by it’s cover and sadly that’s what we all do!