There is a dreadful sense of nostalgia when I walk into my old bedroom. Dreadful, because remembering what had passed in this very room is never a pleasant trip down memory lane. This is where I spent most of my younger years, always locking the door behind me to seclude myself from the outside world. Why I did that, I can hardly remember now.
The stale smell is the first thing to hit me before my eyes can register the condition of the dingy room, rightfully so. The curtain is closed and likely thickened by a layer of dust, even the shyest amount of sunlight cannot peek through. I tiptoe to the other side of the room to open both the curtain and the window for ventilation and the magnificent morning light falls upon the room, giving it the slightest sense of life. It’s ironic to say that when everything in this room is already dead.
I haven’t been home in only a few years, had purposefully ripped off the life that I had here to begin a new one, yet somehow this room has managed to feel so foreign to me. Or maybe I am the one that is foreign to this place. The only living being.
I look around -yet avoiding to even glance at the bed- and observe the items that I had deliberately left in this room. My initial plan was to get rid of them, burn all traces of the past, but I realized that that was not the right time. Maybe today is.
The first item that I pick up -my back still turned towards the bed- is the framed photo on the bookshelf. It’s a photo of my high school graduation. My friends and I, squinting and probably drenched in sweat, are smiling in the picture despite the scorching sun above our heads. We took it as a promise of a brighter future together. Amused at the thought, I put the frame down. I can’t even remember the last time I have spoken to them.
Novels and books are lined up neatly on the bookshelf, collecting dust along with the framed picture. It’s a shame I never revisit them. I run my fingers along their spines until, out of old habits, they stop at the fifth book from the left, just at eye level on the shelf, and linger there for a long moment of hesitation. They were my journals and sketchbooks in which I had tried to create what I used to call “art”. For old times sake, I start picking them up and flipping through the worn out pages, catching some familiar phrases and images. Looking back at the words that I wrote, and the colours and patterns that I chose in my paintings, I am ashamed to say that I had produced nothing but mere projection of hatred.
It has gotten harder to ignore the overpowering urge to turn around and face the person I have killed in my journey of rebirth. The corpse is still lying on the bed behind me. I know that for a fact. I don’t have to turn around to confirm that he is there. But I still make the move, turning on my heels to finally confront him.
He lies there, stiff and cold, on the bed where I had left him a few years ago. He had not moved, he never could. His feet bound to the frame, his body wrapped in a blanket, he was always somewhere between asleep and dead. His sins were what made him heavy, or at least that was what he told himself. His bruises became his excuses and later down the line they became his poison. He made pain his companion, all because he had hated himself.
He destroyed himself in ways he could not see for as long as he had his face hidden underneath his pillow. His safe haven, he called it. But what did an insecure man know about feeling safe? How was that possible when he felt threatened in his own skin? However, I understand him and what he went through. He was young and naive, yet egocentric. He thought the world revolves around him, and that made him tired.
Standing by his bed and staring at his corpse today, I am glad that he died as only one of us can live. When my heart started to beat to its own song, I knew that his was long gone. And this visit, my coming home is to pay him respect for the life he had lived or lack thereof. Even more than that, I come to let him go and to let him know that all of his sacrifices are not in vain. His sins, his guilt, his hatred, I forgive them. He can rest now. The time has come for his doom and I, in his place, shall bloom.
This has been my rebirth.