There was the smaller of the two bedrooms in my childhood apartment. It had thin hardwood floors, pale yellow walls and a set of white bunk beds with sailboats on the mattress covers. My older sister had the bottom bunk, which she was crazy for picking. From there she couldn’t see where my mother and her friend Marilyn had painted Winnie-the-Pooh, Snow White, and Cinderella on the wall, like I could from my top bunk.
I guess when you are in the fourth grade you don’t care about things like that. Fourth-graders are too busy knowing how to perfectly scrunch the socks of their Catholic school uniforms and getting to walk to the corner store with their friends. Thank Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph that my older sister scrunched mine for me. I didn’t know how to scrunch my uniform socks very well, nor did I care for that uniform skirt, or the way the collar of the uniform blouse was rounded instead of a sharp crisp corner. But I loved my black-and-white saddle shoes. I f-cking loved those shoes.
I hid my purple backpack that held my camping supplies (a washcloth I stole from the bathroom, a t-shirt, a stick I pretended was a knife, and possibly underpants) underneath my older sister’s bed. One day, she dropped something when she was weirdly pretending to be my orthodontist, and she found it. She asked me if I was going to run away and it was very difficult to explain that the thought had never crossed my mind. You know how the more you defend yourself from an accusation, the guiltier you sound? The backpack was for this entirely plausible scenario: if ever anyone happened to be going camping and they casually asked me to come with them at the last minute, I’d be ready. I didn’t want them to have to wait for me to pack; I wasn’t an asshole like that.
There was the room in our new house where my younger sister and I slept in side-by-side twin beds, like Wally and Beaver, even though we each had our own rooms. When I took a year off between high school and college, it wasn’t technically to break down the wall between our bedroom closets and turn two previously separate bedrooms into one Megaroom but, looking back, it was probably my greatest accomplishment during that time. The walls of our closets-cum-secret-passage-connecting-our-rooms were covered with postcards, images torn from magazines, photos — all slathered with Elmer’s glue and pasted onto the walls of the inner chamber.
My original bedroom became a lounge of sorts. Its uses ranged from: watching way too much TV, making terrible art projects, writing letters, screening movie marathons, eating chips and dip, drinking large plastic cups of soda, housing a carpet of clothing and listening to records — until the record player broke and the record store man told me they no longer make those kinds of needles, which I suspected was a lie. The pre-Wes Anderson and post-The Silent World yellow walls were a color I liked to call “mango” and my mother liked to call “highway line.” Ultimately, they were covered with meticulously constructed collages anyway.
My younger sister’s original bedroom became our sleeping and reading quarters. The blue walls, neatly piled books, and side-by-side twin beds read more like “Cleaver boys” than “Lisbon girls.” As far as personal style, my younger sister was feminine, while I was embarking on what would become a life long quest toward some kind of Alex P. Keaton aesthetic. The mise-en-scène of Megaroom combined our qualities, and the fact that we were extraordinarily angst-less during a not great year.
Tonally, Megaroom was a place on just the right side of nostalgia and escape. It was not our gossamer-filtered stagnant tomb of stickers, perfume bottles, and Catholic devotional items. It was a place to take a vacation, but not a permanent one. When we returned to the real world, it was as if we had never even left.
There was the bedroom that was my college dorm room that I shared with a woman who was my roommate. She was very different from me, but had a birthday close to mine. The room had metal bunk beds and that time I chose the bottom bunk. There was a window I liked to sit in while reading, and one time — when I was napping — a construction worker fell through it, and into our room.
There was the bedroom that was a dimly lit dorm room that was not my dorm room. It was dimly lit, because the woman I shared it with used only two desk lamps and the tips of her cigarettes to light it. It was not my dorm room, because mine was down the hall, up the staircase, and didn’t have her in it. The room was 9 x 16 feet and had an old fireplace that didn’t work. The woman to whom the room belonged had thin fingers, dark hair, and was my first love. She went to California and never came back. The room is still there, but it’s not a bedroom anymore.
There was the bedroom that was an entire apartment, and sometimes, in Brooklyn, that’s how it goes. There was a big balcony, a gold-painted wall and lots of IKEA furniture. We’re talking about odysseys to the New Jersey IKEA, and not easy, breezy Zipcars to the Red Hook IKEA. For two years, people asked us: “How do you guys survive in such a tiny studio apartment while you’re dating”? Then after that for four months, they asked us: “How do you guys survive in such a tiny studio apartment while you’re no longer dating”? Sometimes, in Brooklyn, that’s how it goes.
There was the huge bedroom on the Upper West Side that was the size of an entire apartment, but it was part of an even more massive 3-bedroom apartment. My boss at the time used it as her office and let me live there. The bedroom had a working fireplace, a seven-foot long dream closet, and a private bathroom. I was the woman with whom I shared it. Yes, I shared the biggest of all the rooms here with myself, but I paid dearly for it. Let me tell you something, my boss was no picnic as a boss. Also, I am no picnic as a roommate. Figuratively speaking, I had absolutely zero picnics is this bedroom. However, I did eat most of my meals there because the rest of the apartment was an office, so literally speaking, I had hundreds of picnics in this bedroom.
There is the bedroom in the East Village that is made of brick walls with countless coats of white paint. There is nothing hidden under the bed and there are no collages on the wall, but there are pictures of my sisters on a shelf. There is a window I like to sit in while reading but no one has fallen through it. There is enough space, but it is definitely not huge. There is a fireplace that doesn’t work and some items from IKEA, but this room is brightly lit and a door separates it from the rest of the apartment. All things considered and relatively speaking, I really like this bedroom. More than everything I’ve listed, by far, my favorite feature of the bedroom is the woman I share it with — but then again, that’s been true of all the rooms we’ve shared in the past five years.