Clothes from last week’s school days are randomly spread across the floor. Jeans, t-shirts, and socks are all wrinkled and piled over the beige carpet which covers the house’s original hardwood flooring. The pockets of carpet that can be seen are stained with soda and pizza sauce, creating an abstract pattern that can pass for an artsy do it yourself project. But, don’t get too close because the odor of pure filth will creep up on you when you least expect it.
Walking in the room carefully is the only way to do it, if you don’t want to step on the still moist jersey from yesterday’s basketball practice. I would also recommend wearing shoes because the many crumbs and wrappers are not very soothing underneath you’re feet.
The furniture is simple with straight designs and a solid white color scheme. The tops are cluttered with never turned in math assignments, unopened textbooks, and scratched up CDs. A boxy television and a few different game systems take up whatever space is left over. There is dust over everything, giving the room a heavy, congested feeling. If you can live with the stench of the dirty laundry and sheets, then the dust will be the one to stop you from breathing properly.
The walls are a bit more organized, if you can call walls completely covered in magazine covers and posters organized. Foo Fighters, Aerosmith, and Red Hot Chili Peppers are just a few of the bands that have been recognized as one of the greats on the wall. Everything from Rolling Stone’s monthly issue to exclusive concert merchandise have been put together to create a one of a kind type of wallpaper. There are even a few drawings that contributed to the effort. On top of all this, 97.9 Rock FM is what is always playing, even if he isn’t home. He finds it soothing to walk into a room when music is playing, but, for most, it only adds to the emotional, visual, and physical clutter of the bedroom.
It is clear that the room is a disheveled mess, past the point of no return. There is no aesthetic value and the word maintenance has been shunned away from within these four walls. The young man would appear to not have a care in the world. Nothing he possesses is worth preserving. There is nothing here that cannot be replaced, but, actually, this isn’t necessarily true.
In the left corner of his room, there is an all-white four drawer dresser. In the bottom drawer, toward the back right there is a silver box about the size of a PlayStation. The box itself is clean with little wear on the corners and a hint of sheen when you turn it toward the light. Thus far, this is the only thing in this room that is not falling apart. Open the box and you’ll find tissue paper with not one wrinkle or tear on it. It is just as white as the dresser it’s hidden in. Unwrap the tissue paper and you’ll see an album that reads “My Mom.”
The album is beautifully crafted with a black and white Parisian theme. Swarovski crystals outline the words and finish off the design. Inside, the album is full of pictures and little captions that read “June 12, 1995- Bronx Zoo” or “Kevin’s 5th Birthday with Mommy.” There are all sorts of different pictures from different times and places. There are family portraits, pictures from Christmas, and even birthday cards, one has a colorful teddy bear dressed up as a Yankee that says “Happy Birthday my Little Slugger! You just hit a home run on your 4th Birthday!”
On the very last page, there is a yellow post-it note written on with a black permanent marker. The handwriting is a bit hard to read, as it’s a rushed cursive, but he knows what it says: “Kevin, I’ll be in class until 8:30 tonight. Dinner is in the fridge. Love, Mom.”
This was the last thing Kevin’s mom left him before she had a fatal car accident nearly five years ago. He was twelve at the time. After the funeral and legal arrangements were taken care of, he moved in with his father and step-mother some eight hours away. He got a new room, started going to a new school, and Kevin even replaced his old friends with new ones. He left life in Pennsylvania behind him and began a new one in Virginia.
Kevin never told anyone about his mother. He felt like he didn’t have to. They didn’t know her. They didn’t miss her. She didn’t raise them by herself for twelve years. She wasn’t their mother. She was his mother and only his mother. That was something that could never be taken from him, the fact that she was his mother. Though she was taken from him, physically, he always kept her around in at least this album. As long as the pages were never torn and the crystals never fell off, she would always be with him and only him. Nobody else needed to see her. Nobody else needed to know her. She was only his mom.