The room was pink, coloured by the setting sun. Everything felt light. The furniture, a small desk paired with an IKEA chair, a bed that could fit four people if your tried really hard and a clothing rack that made sure the inordinate amount of tulle wouldn’t touch the ground seemed to float. The window was slightly open and sometimes the wind would gently enter the room, like a mother tiptoeing in to give her child a goodnight kiss without waking them up, and everything in the room would move slightly, disrupted by the change in the air.
In the adjacent bathroom there were flowers on the windowsill bathing in the warm sunlight. Their function was mostly decorative, but they also spread a soothing smell of lavender that clung to the air. They cast shadows on the toilet, laundry basket, laundry beside said laundry basket, and sink. If you hadn’t seen the flowers standing, small soldiers with the sun in their back before the tiny window, it would be hard to make out what the shadows belonged to.
They stood proudly, trying to mirror the toothbrushes that hung in a holder beside the sink. Maybe if the flowers tried hard enough they could stand tall forever, like the toothbrushes, denying that they were slowing dying, withering away.
The serene atmosphere was rattled by the main door opening. Air rippled through the room, the light retreated faintly, and the furniture shifted almost inconceivably, scared animals silently fleeing to the corners of the room. She entered the room resolutely, shoulders squared, a hostile invader of the tranquillity of the space.
She didn’t necessarily look out of place. The cardigan hugging her shoulders was a light pastel pink, obviously worn but still fluffy. The bodice that hugged her form was almost white, but if you looked closely you could see the very faint rose colour that stained it. Her skirt was made of a fine tulle, it bounced with every step she took and bunched up around her waist as she sat down on the bed. On her feet she wore a pair of flats, that no longer looked comfortable because of the thick socks she was wearing with them. She removed her shoes. She stood up, straightened her back, forcing her pose to be upright. She looked at the door and imagined being as straight and strong.
Her figure faltered when she entered the bathroom. She went to sit down on the closed lid of the toilet and admired for a moment how the light filled the bathtub. Then she turned the knob and watched the water flow into the tub. It became warm fast, steaming, making small clouds in the air. She took off her socks and then the bandages that covered her toes. She winced. The attempt to sit up straight failed. A gust of wind made its way through the rooms, she exhaled reply and let go.
Carefully, like she was a deer walking through a forest trying not to trample the pretty plants that adorned the ground, she went to sit on the edge of the bathtub. She let her feet touch the water, she looked at the flowers in the windowsill, tried to sit up straight, but the water burned her toes. The water coloured a soft pink. There were tears in her eyes making them look pink as well.
She eyed the flowers once more, she knew what they denied.
She wasn’t a toothbrush, she was slowly dying, withering away.
Isolde van Gog