Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Study

With a steady shriek, the elaborately carved, wooden door began to glide shut. In front of it stood a young boy, intently staring back at the closing passage from which he came. His red hair was tightly combed and gelled back against his head. His light, almost translucent blue eyes were penetrating the door, unable to break contact. Ghostly ivory skin, contrasted by the dull red hair, laminated the boy's face, showing few solemn red freckles which decorated his face. He was wearing all black, dressed up, like he was going to a formal event.
The slow, whining door finally clicked completely shut, and the boy began ruffling his hair, and disheveling his clothes. Seeming satisfied with his new look, the boy gazed around the room. With his eyes now much softer, he swiveled his head to observe old fashioned surroundings. Centred in the rather large, relatively empty room, a turquoise, curvy chair had been placed on dusty hardwood floors, its gold snaps aligning the fabric with the wooden frame. Across from this sat a book shelf, not impressive in size, nor its collection, yet adequate.
Walking over to the book shelf, the boy that once looked so formal and professional, now seemed like any other kid just bopping along. He examined the books, scanning through the sideways titles. As he searched, his posture tightened and his red ruffled hair began to fall flat due to the weight of the gel. When he finally picked one, he placed his finger on it and froze. Appearing in deep thought, perhaps about his next action, he suddenly broke concentration and grabbed the book as his hand slid off the shelf and crashed down to his side. Ruffling his hair once more with his other hand, he rashly made his way to the chair.
As the boy was reading, his forced relaxed posture became more natural, and once in awhile, a slight smile would crack upon on his face. The pages floated to turnover for him, as his hand gently prompted them; he was eager, yet not rushing to the end. Radiating a feeling of completion, the book crisply shut, and was delivered back to the shelf. Almost the instant the book was pushed into place, a loud, shrill sound broke into this temporarily shut off mind.
“Lewis!” The boy sharply spun around. The shrill voice seemed to snap him into hysterics, and he quickly marched out of the room. Pulling the door closed, and then slowing it and turning the knob so it didn't make a sound as it shut completely, the boy vacated his realm of relaxation. His posture stiffened, he tucked in his shirt, and attempted to flatten his hair. His eyes turned vacant and hard, as they were before.
“Lewis? Where were you? They were looking worried.” The shrill voice now took a quieter tone, though still hard, cold and somewhat annoyed. Lewis looked at his sister, as though it was obvious and she just wasn't cluing in. His stare was met by an indignant look from his sister, as if he had been rude. “Well? Where were you? That silly stare isn't going to let me know.” She rolled her eyes. Changing his gaze from a failure of communication to a stare down. “Just don't worry 'bout it.” he replied, and pushed past her in the narrow hall.
“Well, dinner's ready and Mother won't like that attitude!” she exclaimed after him, regaining her balance. But by this time he was aways down the red carpet lined hallways approaching the stairs. Grasping a fancy, iron rod banister, he slowly and gracefully made his way down the stairs, his face stripped of emotion.
The dark, wooden oval table took up the majority of the sizable dining room. Decorated with a gold cloth covering the entirety, with a thin, red runner streaming along on top. Around the table sat three people; Lewis, Mother, and Father. All of them were spaced a few feet apart, and there was an empty chair across from Lewis. Perhaps the chair was for his sister, or just for aesthetic balance in the seating arrangement. Not much conversation occurred; just the clattering of knives and forks, along with the occasional throat clearing from Father, a sign to straighten up.
“Son, what have you been doing?” Lewis's father looked uneasy, as if he was nervous, or even scared to address Lewis. Lewis seemed surprised that his father bothered to make conversation, and nervous at this rare occurrence. He was tempted to lie to keep his secret, but given this uncommon interest shown, he decided to respond accordingly. “Reading in my study.” Lewis's father, growing more uncomfortable, made eye contact wearily with his wife, who jumped in with “You don't have a study honey, don't lie to us.”
Lewis nodded. As if they had confirmed his belief that they just didn't ever believe him. His expressionless face contradicting the confused, concealed expressions around him.

“I'm worried.” Said the mother, her voice laced with panic and dread. “He's been lying more lately, and he disappears a lot.” The room was spacious and grand, containing a king-sized bed and high-end furniture. “He'll be fine,” grunted the father. “He can't be doing anything harmful.” he hastily added on, not so confident. Clearly uncomfortable with the topic at hand, he tried to make a break out the door. “You can't just ignore it! Your son has a problem, and the least we can do is maybe pay him some attention.” she cried out. The father left the room, mumbling “We don't know that.”
Back upstairs, Lewis had another encounter with his little sister in the hallway. She smiled at him, in that way that you can tell something supposedly clever is about to emerge from it. “Off to read in your study?” pursing her lips to keep from laughter. Lewis pushed by, and she called after him, “You know, they think you're crazy.”
With this Lewis swung back around, “Well why aren't you crazy? Everything always has to be perfect, I can't have any time to just relax! Everyday there's so much to do, and there's never time to do it all! So why even try? Go do what you want to do! Find your own study!” by the end of his little ramble he was near shouting. His sister was taken a back, “ you are crazy.” And with that she seemed to just disappear.
Angry, Lewis marched back to the door that lay before his study. His pace quickened. He, once again, ruffled his hair and disheveled his shirt, preparing to enter his retreat. Wasting no time with trying to conceal it as a secret, he shoved open the door. As he did so, papers flew up from the floor and scattered into new disorganized messes.
Frantically, Lewis swiveled his head, searching for the chair; the books. But they were all gone. Replaced by stacks upon stacks of endless papers, toppling over on each other and mixing. Lewis did not understand. He raced into the room, as if not believing the objects there just before dinner were gone. Then on the floor, he saw a familiar page. A page right out of the book he had just been reading that morning.
His sister then entered the room. The confused expression on his face urged her to ask him the questions he had been struggling with. “Is this your study?” she asked. “It was.” he replied, still in shock. “Well what happened to it?” she pressed. “I don't know. It's like it just... started to go away... everything is scattered.” He answered in confusion. “Isn't that the point of this place? To not be so organized and uptight?” she smiled. “Huh?” Lewis stuttered.

Just then he noticed his parents standing beside him. “Why are you in this empty room?” His mother questioned, her voice trembling, “Oh, is this your study?” she concluded on her own. Confused as to why she called his messy study 'empty,' he turned back to his sister. “Do you think the room's empty?” he demanded.
A deep, worried voice came from his father, “Who are you talking to, Son?”