I was 19 years old when I first had a bedroom to myself, since I had always shared it with my younger sister Cecilia. When my parents moved to a bigger apartment with an additional bedroom, the negotiations between Cecilia and I began. After a brief discussion we agreed that I would get the biggest bedroom with the large window facing the terrace, and she would get the one with more than double the closet space. I gladly exchanged the small color TV-set that we used to share for plenty of natural light and the view to the plants and flowers of the terrace.
I was in love with my room. A big window framed by white bookshelves, from floor to ceiling. Dozens of novels in Spanish, along with a couple in English. Pictures of close friends and a happy childhood. Five pampered African violets in clay pots, placed right in front of the window, enjoying the bright sunlight. Outside, the honks and screeches of the busy traffic of Buenos Aires, competing with loud classical music from the living room.
A day-bed lined against one of the walls, covered with small pillows. On the bookshelf that serves as a nightstand, a small CD player, a cream-color telephone, a pile of books, a little flag of South Africa and a quote: “The world is full of places to see, people to meet, opportunities to pursue … Go!”
Against the wall opposite the bed, a heavy mahogany desk with a fragile looking chair. In front of it, a rectangular mirror with a thick golden frame, with pictures, quotes, and ticket stubs from concerts or memorable movies propped on the edges. On the desk, books, papers, notebooks, and two mugs overflowing with pens and pencils. To the left of the mirror, a big dark South African wood mask, painted in yellow and dark red.
Those four walls contained everything I needed. This is where I studied to become a journalist, dreamed of changing the world, and spent hours on the phone with my girlfriends. In this bedroom I fell in love for the first time, and cried when after a forgettable vacation in South Africa, I realized that “forever” had only lasted 10 months.
This is where I started working as a news producer in a major TV network and, after falling in love again, planned my wedding. On April 25, 1998, before going to the church ceremony, my father sat on my bed, took my hand, looked around with a melancholic expression and asked me to remember that, no matter what happened, this would always be my home.
Three weeks later we returned from our honeymoon and went to visit my parents. I instinctively went to my room to leave my purse. What a surprise when, instead of my sanctuary, I walked into my father’s new home-office!
“What do mean, your bedroom?” he asked. “You moved out.”
“But, what about what you told me… about this always being home for me?” I said, quite unhappy with the change.
“You know it still is. Just give me a week notice if you every plan on coming back”
And by the look in his green eyes, I knew he meant it.