The room lies vacant, now,
lonely and quiet,
hungry for the sound
of laughter,
the pleasures of love,
the pain of sorrow.
Each evening,
the bedding is
carefully folded back,
blinds are rolled down,
curtains are tightly closed.
Each morning,
the curtains are opened,
blinds rolled up,
bedding neatly tucked
under pillows.
Once a week,
every week,
for seven years,
the room has been cleaned,
dusted, rugs beaten,
and linen changed.
And every fourth of October,
the walls are stripped of
last year's paint and paper
and are brightly redecorated
in fresh, new coverings.
Nobody ever goes into the room.
Only her. No-one else. Ever.
It has been said that,
if you stand at the door
at night, and listen very closely,
you can hear the room moan
a soft, sorrowful, lonesome moan.
She has said that
she has heard it herself,
but it doesn't frighten her.
Not at all.
It comforts her.
It helps her to remember
how the room once sang,
and laughed,
and cried.
It was his room.
His room.
Now it belongs to time.
I suppose that,
some day,
the room will be neglected
when she is gone,
and it will fall into disrepair.
But it will always be
his room.
As long as she lives,
as long as she is able,
his room will be ready
for him
when he comes home
in her memory.
She will see to that.

(Not to be reprinted or published without express permission of the author, Neil Simpson)

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