I moved there alone at first, so when my long-distance boyfriend decided to move from Dallas to be with me, I was thrilled. Because I was in love with him but also because waking up dead seemed less likely with someone to share my room with.
Sharing a room with someone, I soon realized, would take some serious getting used to -- nowhere to go for privacy besides the toilet, lock the door. What's mine is yours. What's yours is mine. Sharing is caring. La la la.
Growing up my room was an extension of my SOUL - ceilings boasting Big Bopper pin-ups of Jason Priestley's sideburns and walls papered with Sassy magazine fashion spreads. Windows ornamented with dream-catchers, mirrors splattered with stickers, dressers scribbled with sharpies proclaiming my undying love for
But Hal lost his job soon after I found out I was pregnant and as Fable’s due date neared, it became increasingly obvious that the nursery of my dreams was simply that.
That much like it was with Archer, no room of his own to bring him home to, our new baby would also have to share.
Where I grew up, children didn't share rooms. My friends all had rooms of their own. No Boys Allowed signs plastered to their doors and most likely for that reason, part of me felt a tremendous (and in retrospect, ridiculous) amount of guilt that we couldn’t provide for our children their own separate spaces.
My disappointment inspired a short script I wrote for a friend's collaborative film project, about ten-tear-old twins (Max and Daisy) who also had no choice but to share a room.
The story goes like this: frustrated with one another and desperate for their own space, Max and Daisy decide, one night, to build a wall in the middle of their room. First with blocks and an old dollhouse, then with books and discarded toys, memories found between torn book pages and long-lost Legos. And as they build, they remember and share and read aloud passages of their favorite stories, express fears: come together.
The wall eventually hits the ceiling and there is nothing left to build. Separation accomplished. Except, not really.
At the end of the story, Max and Daisy fall asleep on their floor in sleeping bags, faces pressed against the physical wall that has replaced the emotional one; hands reaching out for the other through broken dollhouse windows.
The film was produced last year, weeks after Fable was born and I was able to plant my kids' belongings on the set: Archer's pirate hat and Fable's doll, a sort of creative witchcraft, rehabilitation through short story.
And so, much like the happy ending of my book became the happy beginning of my marriage, my twenty-page script became my three-trimester peace of mind. If anything, I became hopeful and excited to gift Archer and Fable the opportunity of togetherness.
"You will never be lonely as long as you share space," I told Archer, the night we put them together for the first time. “Fable will always be on the other side of the room."
And it is true.
We put them down together every night. Read stories, the four of us, on Archer’s bed. Kiss them goodnight, one and then the other. And in the morning they wake up together, Archer the first to his sister's crib to say, "good morning!"
One day we'll snag ourselves a bigger place, with more space for us and an extra bedroom so the kids don't have to share. Meanwhile, the thought of separating them? Makes me endlessly sad.
There is something to be said, I think, for having someone to dream beside. Especially as a child, when entitlement is relatively unknown. Important lessons to be learned when one has no choice but to share. At least until the time comes when Archer demands privacy and Fable can't help but want to drape the doorway with Boys Keep Out signs.
For now they are happy together.