The smell of geraniums is particularly potent. When petals fall after bloom, their delicate skin bruises and perfumes the air. The image of strewn crimson leaves escaping the bare lines of a windowsill is forever ingrained with that sweet cloying scent, that creates that strange ache for a past that is never present.
Sitting at that window, peering out, the white net curtains would cover our gaze like a mist. We would wait until the rain disappeared. So many days the damp in the air would echo into our bones and chill us from the outside in. We would press our sticky faces and lips against the flaking heat of the radiator and hug ourselves to its rigid frame, hoping we could steal its warmth. My Granny always said that the air was so wet if we sat long enough the moss would grow right over us. True enough, the land outside was impermeably encrusted with a layer of green velvet. A tiny forested underworld. A spongy embrace.
Every year I would arrive and know that the fern embossed wallpaper would be covered in another thick coat of paint, each horribly clashing with the assemblage of furniture pressed into the room. Now, I would call it ugly. Then, it was home.
Even in the middle of summer, there was a fire, hot and smoky in the hearth. My Granddad would heave the weight of the coal and turf into the house to keep the flame alight. It was always a heartbreakingly comic scene, eighty years old and stopped like a willow tree, he was always intent on doing things the way they always were. When he wasn’t looking we would throw the syrupy wrappers of sweets and watch as they shrivelled and popped to a crisp. His eyes always betrayed his ignorance though, a spark of mirth forever present.
A trio we always were, and this room we made our kingdom. Years of plays, adventures and games lost into the depths of memory. Now we are individuals, and our land is gone. Sitting long enough, the room will have finally have been reclaimed. Undoubtedly, the moss will have encroached the walls and captured the house, the room. 6 years it has been left, unused. In my mind’s eye it is nothing but a forest of green and blood-red geraniums. The TV will sit, the sofa it’s only audience. The photographs on the walls watch, their eyes animated only for a moment. Nothing, but a room.