The Oval Carpet

By: Elizabeth Parent

Sitting in his tiny square room, the little boy could just about do anything. He could fly, time travel, or he could even become invisible.  When he got home from school, the little boy ran quickly up to his room and opened the door to a million possibilities.  Crisscrossed upon the little oval carpet in the middle of the floor, he escaped life for awhile and closed his hopeful eyes.  Even with this magical world, however; there was still a reality out there that he couldn’t ignore.

In the room next to his he could recognize words he wasn’t supposed to say and sounds he wasn’t supposed to hear. He huddled into a ball as his mother cried to his father about a multitude of mistakes that were made.  After the yelling was over and done with, he’d inch towards the wall and press his curious ear up against the cold rough wood.  He’d fall asleep to his mother’s loud breathing as she sniffled herself to sleep.

The little boy realized not all rooms were like his.  His room was a wonderland of make believe happiness and treasures, while his mother’s was a prison of sorrow she couldn’t escape.  The little boy loved his mother to bits and pieces, so her misery made him unhappy.  This dreadful unhappiness was unshiftable even by that little oval carpet.  The boy, so broken from all of the sadness, wept into his pillow and stayed home from school.  His room metamorphosed into a dark barren of wasted dreams drifting in the air.

With all of her efforts, his mother couldn’t lift his heavy burden.  Every night the same terrors were heard and every day the boy grew a little more aware.  He realized soon what had to be done.  He picked up his weak and frail body, climbed down the carpeted stairs, and entered the kitchen where his mother sat slouched over a cold untouched cup of coffee.  She lifted her tired head so the bags beneath her bloodshot eyes were visible, her hair pulled into a knotted bun and roots shown.  Even with all of this, the boy realized, his mother was stunning.  He walked over silently and took her small hand into his. He guided her up to his magical carpet and sat with her, crisscrossed and daydreaming once again.  Him and his mother stayed for hours, flying through the clouds and waving to planes as they passed by.  Laughter echoed through their small house.

Every afternoon after school, the little boy and his mother sat upon his small oval carpet and dreamed up an eternity of happiness.  The sounds stopped at night, and instead of hearing tormented sniffles, he heard discussion between his mother and father of dreams they have, and places they wish to go.  He fell asleep with a smile on his face, ear pressed against the rough, but seemingly warmer wood.  

As the boy grew, he never forgot his rug that now sat in a box tucked in the closet.  Every once in awhile he/d dig into the tarnished cardboard and stroke the fabric inside.  Now, instead of dreaming to fly and time travel, he dreamt of having a family of his own, a son or daughter he could introduce the world of possibilities to.  

The little boy, who once sat upon a carpet dreaming, now sat on a small couch next to his noticeably older, but still beautiful mother.  Together they daydreamt of all the things that were still dreams, but never unreachable.  They laughed as his father broke out into a crazy dance and pretended he was a rock star with long messy hair and face paint.  In the back of the boy’s mind, he still remembered how it felt to be completely empty.  He knew his mother could never forget the words that were said, but every day he helped her pick up the pieces of regret and glue them into a picture of beauty.

Memories of laughter and love were present as the now grown man stepped into his childhood home.  He sat where his mother used to sit and closed his tearing eyes, remembering her smell and the sound of her soft, lovely voice.  He climbed up the carpeted stairs and went into his old closet where that ripped, ruffled cardboard box sat.  He picked it up, dusted it off, and left his empty childhood dream land, locking the front door of the house behind him.  

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