Can you call it a guest room if your visitor has no place to put their things? There’s no space in the closet and no room in the bureau. There is, of course, a bed, which we cover with an old sheet in an attempt to protect it from cat fur, but that doesn’t really work; the cats have no trouble burrowing underneath. When a visitor is imminent, I strip the bed and wash the sheets if there’s the slightest evidence that the cats have been pretending to be guests.
The bureau is elderly. I bought it used for my first apartment when I was a junior in college. It’s my repository for off-season clothes and things I can’t bear to part with. All the drawers are swollen and sticky, permanently misshapen after years of expanding and contracting. One of them is missing a handle and I need to use a screwdriver to pry it open. I try not to do that too often though because that is also the one whose dovetailed corners are no longer connected. The back panel of the bureau is convex, sprung so far away that you can peer through the side to see which drawer you want to attempt to open.
I’d like to replace the bureau, another used one would be fine, but my husband objects. He thinks the room is too crowded as is. I think having the old leather loveseat adds charm to the room. Besides, it’s a place to keep my stuffed animals, and extra blankets that I can’t cram into the closet.
The closet is another off-season repository; this one for dresses, skirts and suits, things I haven’t needed since I left the traditional work force years ago. It also has my wedding dress, which my mother finally insisted I get out of her house after I’d been married almost twenty years. It takes up a lot of space due to preservation packaging: it’s shaped like a woman. For now I consider it sacrosanct, although I’m not sure why. I will never be able to fit into again and my daughter is not the sentimental sort. Should she ever need a wedding dress, I’m fairly certain mine would not be considered.
However, there were many items in that closet that could go, and with guests coming in a few weeks I decided it was finally time to free up some space. Some things were obvious, even I understand that shoulder pads are no longer stylish, but I assumed I’d have to try on other things to see if they still fit. I was wrong. I held a skirt up to my waist and pulled it as wide as it could go. I saw my hips on either side. Into the black garbage bag it went along with anything that had a tag of a certain size.
I could picture the younger me in all those outfits destined for Goodwill. I saved them because I hoped she’d be back someday. I’m ready to admit that is never going to happen.
So we’re ready for our guests. There’s room in the closet, the sheets on the bed are clean, and if you push the stuffed animals over you can sit on the sofa. Frankly, there may even be room in the bureau, but you’ll have to pry open a drawer to find out.