The Enormous Room

“I could never get far enough away from her, and that’s why we absolutely could not live in a home with walls. With walls all around me, in even a large room, who could say where she was? My mind would be restless thinking of all the ways she could be encircling me. So we rented a larger apartment, two hundred and fifty thousand square feet, the high-vaulted floor of an old bubble wrap and plastics packaging factory, all of the heavy equipment and molten plastic mixers removed and sold at auction by our landlords, ‘KX Poly-Carbons’, before we moved in. None of the zoning laws had been changed, and the area was no longer suitable for industry (thanks to various NIMBY-statutes recently instituted by town council) and since those same councillors were dragging their feet through the re-zoning process, convinced that KX P-C had more loose cash available to speed up the relevant bureaucrats, we were able to occupy the resulting grey area while each party waited for the situation to resolve itself, a process that cost us relatively little, and that we knew might have taken several years.

“Because we could not possibly have furnished the whole apartment, owing to its enormity, we arranged the room in stations, and in between them were vast deserts of chipped, brown tile. We were not slipper people, but we were forced to wear slippers, because the tiles were cold and dirty (occasionally our feet found small, rusted screws, jagged shards of glass, torn pieces of soft plastic lining that would stick to our skin), and shoes were out of the question because of the tremendous echoes they made against the tile.

“We had the living room station, the bathroom station (surrounded by oriental screens about four feet high), the exercise station, the dining and kitchen station, the bedroom station, the cat’s litter box (the cat, too small on the horizon to be seen by the naked eye, was always off stalking some factory mouse or suburban vole), the wardrobe station, one for each of us, my office station, her study station, the conservatory station, with two patio chairs facing away from each other (underneath the block of windows shattered some time before we moved in), etc. etc.

“In our home without walls, I put my office at the furthest point from all of the other stations, so that I could be alone. My wife was never any larger than the moon waning far off in a purple sky, except when we ate or went to bed together. I came to think of her celestially, and by that I mean that she was just another celestial body, like the ones I could see from out the factory windows (The Sun, the Moon, my Wife) and so I eventually forgot about her, from habit, and for the first time since our marriage I was truly comfortable.”

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