The world outside this room seems indomitable


Sarah Wordhouse

A picture of people who remind me of home, or room 139, and the safety those four walls provide me.

By now, I’ve mentioned this room and this staff and the Greta Gerwig posters on the wall enough to annoy even myself. It’s a world of its own—our world in room 139.

Yet as strong as those white-brick walls are with their flimsy Halloween garlands strung along them, they seem to be crumbling around me. And it’s somewhat peculiar, somewhat painful for that collapse to happen right before my eyes; I’m awake, sentient, able to do something—anything to stop it—yet regardless of my power, those walls tantalizingly deteriorate.

They crumble, and they fall, and they disintegrate.

I’m not quite able to pinpoint when this happened, for surely it couldn’t have become this irredeemable this quickly. The walls I have deemed home for four years could not have started to collapse within the week, the day, the hour I noticed my vulnerable exposure to the world outside of them. That’s far too sudden for walls so, so fervent and steadfast—walls that know I need them more than I need the 12-pack of Diet Pepsi in the fridge or the dreamcatcher above my bed. 

Yes, they are walls made of the lumpy bricks every other classroom has, and yes, they are inherently for support of the building, nothing more or nothing less. 

But they are my walls.

They are support for me, too, and they are structure for my seemingly ever-evolving (sometimes for the worse but honestly not always) life. I lay my head against them when I am frustrated—when no one seems to be listening, when my words are my only constant, when a feature I edit doesn’t start with a person. I pin the newest movie poster to them to find comfort in the simplest and most mundane things a wall can provide. I stare at them, examining the gritty bumps as if they have their own story, when my mind is so full that thoughts escape as hushed mumbles and dry tears.

With no funky furniture full of fleeting memories, they are all I have left of the original TCT room; they are the one stability that has stayed after the mourning of the snack cabinet and the class-wide speaker. 

Everything within them is so digestible—so easy for my feeble heart and enervated mind to comprehend and withstand. Nothing pierces or pains or pauperizes me completely. Sometimes I wonder if in those instances when I’m encased, emboldened, protected by the walls if I should have felt it deeper or maybe it should have seemed impossible.

So I’ve always had the inkling that my life inside the room was a little bit easier—a little bit more uncomplicated and blissful than what it would be outside of the wooden door and away from the Greta Gerwig shrine. And I used to be grateful for this. I still somewhat am indebted to the haven they have given me.

But now I’m on the edge of being apprehensive as they crumble beside me. I sit there, unable to stop it, questioning if I’m next—questioning if when they fall completely, will life no longer feel as okay as it has?

My time here hasn’t always been relaxing and smooth, yet within these walls, it has always been manageable. I would sit here for years changing leads, categorizing stories, and correcting tenses if it meant that the world outside would never shatter what I know I have.

Outside of these walls, I’m not sure what it’s like or if it’s even somewhat similar to what I’ve known. I fear it’s anything like it has been here: indomitable.