Cosmic Karma

Submitted into Contest #96 in response to: Start your story in an empty guest room.... view prompt


American Contemporary Speculative

I’m a guest in my own bedroom.

Normally, a thought like that would make me chuckle, but the awkward sparseness of the room grounded me in reality. My queen bed with the dark blue comforter and two almost flat pillows had been replaced with a short twin bed with orange fleece bedding that did not go with the tan carpet. 

This room used to have so much more in it. The bed was now against the opposite wall and all of my furniture was sold after mom and dad died. I didn’t want to deal with anything in this house after my parents died, and the thought of being in the house for years after their deaths made me physically nauseous. So, my brother and I auctioned off the house and its contents. We also drifted apart. My brother and I were never close and now I was back in our house as a guest meeting my fiancé’s family.

 I placed my bag on the edge of the bed and wandered to the window. I pulled the off-white curtain back and looked down at the grass that was about seven feet below. The lilac bush that my dad tried kill three times was larger than ever and I could almost see Ben hiding behind it like he did the night before I left for college. He threw rocks at my window at 3 a.m. to tell me how sorry he was that he dated my best friend while we were dating. He didn’t want me to leave for school with that between us. I touched the glass as I remembered watching him walk away and thinking his apology was all about making himself feel better. I was still hurt, and we never talked after that day. Although, I saw on Facebook that he married a girl who was also named Nadia. They looked relatively happy, and I closed the curtain on that memory.

The room still smelled like my childhood, Aqua Net mixed with Pine-Sol and strawberry lip gloss. They weren’t smells that gelled well, but they held their own and apparently stood the test of time. The other window was less than four steps across the room, and I jumped when the crossed-eyed Virgin Mary stared at me once again by the window.

How is this picture still here? No one wanted to buy it at the auction. Why would anyone put it back on display?

As my breathing regained a normal pace, I came closer to the picture. It used to hang in my grandmother’s house in her snow-white spare room with a million pink roses. The roses covered the curtains, bedspread, shams, knickknacks, and rugs. Whenever I walked into the room, I could literally smell the roses even though she never sprayed anything in there. The picture of Mary was by the back window and shifted in the light like iridescent stickers. I paused and remembered sitting on the playground with my Lisa Frank sticker book. I would tilt the book to the left and then to the right just to see the stickers dancing and changing colors in the sun’s rays. I would continue flipping pages mesmerized by the morphing stickers. I blinked and came back to the Virgin Mary hanging in the same place as when I lived in this room. My grandmother wanted me to have the picture, because it always fascinated me. Plus, I spent a lot of time staring at her shimmering in the sunshine. However, the sunlight was not as kind to her here in this room. When the light found her face, she became cross-eyed and it was unnerving. That is why she remained on this wall. Since the open closet used her wall as one of its walls, I didn’t have to look at her unless I chose to stand directly in her line of sight. It became my choice now and she was as cross-eyed as ever. This was the only piece that never got a bid at the auction. So, it was just left on the wall and evidently adopted by the next owners who I never met until today.  I guess they could not throw away the Virgin Mary, or they had never been privy to her disturbing gaze.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

I said the prayer silently like I did before prom and after the auction. I never thought I would see her again, but here we were.

Angela is awesome and we are going to have an awesome life together. She has no idea I literally grew up here and it is just a coincidence that she and I will be sleeping in my old bedroom. There are no superstitions that are in danger of being enacted here. This is just a house not cosmic karma, right?

It was true, though. I never said goodbye to the house. I just left and maybe this was the way the house got me to return because we weren’t finished. The house was small when I was young, but seemed even smaller now. It only had two bedrooms and my parents added a basement bedroom and cinder block shower for themselves. The living room and the dining room were one in the same and only four people could fit comfortably standing in the kitchen.  Only two could fit if they were both actively cooking or cleaning.

I grew up mostly in this room. There used to be stuffed animals in the closet in a broken yellow basket, and the holes in the walls from my Michael Jackson poster were still barely visible. The posters changed as time passed. My rainbow record player became a light purple cassette player and later a large CD player. The bed rotated around the room, but the bureau with the waist high mirror was always wedged into the space that looked built for it.

I sat down in the middle of the floor unaware that I had started to cry. I rubbed my nose and wiped at the tears collecting on the sides of my nose. I closed my eyes, pulled my knees into my chest, and let my childhood seep back into my skin as I inhaled. I opened my eyes.

Thank you. You were my world and I never realized it. I became me within you.

I slowly rose to my feet and walked to the door. Before I opened the door, I turned around one more time and looked with the eyes of a child, the eyes of a teenager, and my eyes now. I could see everything and nothing at the same time. Time and space really were relative and I was glad karma had a cosmic way of getting me to return for a lifetime in a moment.

June 02, 2021 17:35

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.