by Caitlin Leong
Art by Amanda Dai
Issue: Metanoia (Winter 2017)
As I peer into the room, I’m shocked by how nice it is. It’s a thousand times cleaner than I expected it to be. The bed is pushed against one wall, the books piled neatly on the desk, and the floor is spotless save for a few stray sheets of blue and gray construction paper. It’s clean, but not so clean it looks unused.
The sunlight from the window in front of his desk makes the walls glow.
“Hi, hi,” he says, holding the door open for me. “Did you bring your laptop?”
There’s no extra chair, so I sit on his bunk, adjacent to the desk. He gets to work right away, scribbling furiously on a sheet of binder paper, but my eyes wander around the room.
“Did you make these?” I ask.
“Hmm?” He looks up, following my gaze to the windowsill, where four empty water bottles are lined up in the sunlight, their labels ripped off so cleanly it looks as if they weren’t there in the first place. In each of them, there are paper cutouts of different weather patterns. Lightning in one, sun in another, rain in the third, and fog in the fourth. “Those? Oh yeah.”
He reaches over and picks up the one that has paper raindrops taped against the clear plastic.
“What are they for?”
He looks at me strangely, as if watching for something. But in the end, he simply says, “for when I’m tired of the scenery.”
We get back to work, and he’s once again absorbed in the project. We get a solid half of it done in the two hours we spend in his room.
I leave at one in the afternoon. As I leave the house, I look up at the sky. One moment the sunlight arched across the buildings in front of me, and in the next, clouds conjure from empty air, and it begins to rain.