At the front of my Grandma’s house was a secret room.
There was no way in. No door.
A huge shrub hugged the only outside window to the room.
My eight year old self was curious.
” Why is there a room you can’t use?”
To me it was the stuff mysteries were made of. Was there a hidden treasure inside, stolen property being hidden from the authorities? Had there been a crime committed in that room and the evidence boarded up? My imagination ran wild and I would often make up stories about the secret room. I kept asking questions. Finally, my mom explained that when the house was remodeled, they just closed it off because they didn’t need it anymore.
I didn’t believe it for a minute.
A few times I tried to squeeze between the shrub and the grimy aperture, but I was too short to peer inside. I was confident there was a story behind that dusty glass.
There were other things regarding my grandparents that were secretive; events not discussed,things hushed so children would not know. My grandparents lost a child to a childhood disease. She was just a toddler. Years later a son was killed in a car accident shortly after returning home from the Korean War. After the accident, my grandmother was gone for a while. Even her absence was not spoken about when I was around. A nervous breakdown. A mental illness. Shock treatments. Comments overheard, but never explained.
Together, the questions in my mind made the secret room all the more enticing. My conclusion was romantic and tender. I was convinced that all the painful memories from the sadness in my grandparent’s lives were boxed up and stored in that room. Baby clothes and blankets, a teddy bear, a ribbon from her hair, maybe even a lock of hair.
Many years have passed. My grandparent’s house shelters another family now. There is no one left to ask about the secret room.