Clean Room

By Kelly Mahan Jaramillo, August 8, 2012

All of the books are out of the book case, piled onto the couch across the room. The bookcase has had both perches removed and been taken down to the basement. The flooring stapled over the carpet has been ripped up, we are surprised the carpet sustained no damage, just needed a run over with the pro vacuum.

This was all done yesterday. Tomas has gone to work today. I have spent the day alternating between writing privately about Bobby and getting the wall prepped for a coat of paint. There has been a lot of food flung in the last four years, as there was in the four years of the house in LA, and the four years before that, the house in Venice. For twelve years I have known how to clean a room that Bobby D. has lived in. Fact is, it usually winds up quite a bit cleaner than when we moved in, but LA landlords are, for the most part, greedy assholes who always figure out a way to keep the deposit. In hindsight, however, what stands out is how well Tomas and I clean a room, and we feel good about leaving a house in better shape than it was when we moved into it.

Tomas asked today that if I do wind up doing the touch up paint, would I mind leaving that one spot where Bobby once jumped against the wall and there is still a faint smudge of his wing?  I have already asked if he does not mind if we leave the board up on the wall that served as Bobby’s “up high” perch. We are not moving and trying to get our deposit back, no need to make this room look as if a crow never lived in it.

I, too, love that wing outline. Bobby was always leaping off of something, half of a right wing be damned! He was like having a five-year-old who would tie a beach towel around their neck and jump off of the same six foot rail over and over again, convinced that the superpowers will kick in at some point and he will soar up, up and away.

I finished the room about an hour ago, it is hot, my back hurts and I stink. I need to shower but I am tired. I walk out onto the kitchen balcony and stare at the tree branch where we last saw Bobby, then scan all of the other tree branches, no luck. A grackle beams down to the birdbath and my heart stops. Again! Damned grackles, they fool me every single time. I wonder how long it will be before I stop doing this every time I walk into the kitchen? I am guessing probably never.

I walk back into Bobby’s room. The carpet is clean, the wall is clean, the fireplace mantle is clean, the chair and lamp from upstairs look perfect in the corner by the window.

I’ve never had hard work and the resulting clean room leave me with zero satisfaction. I turn out the light and hurry into the comfortable disorder of the studio, away from that fresh paint smell. Leaning back in my work chair, imagining Bobby high up in the trees, flinging food and leaping off of branches, living the wild crow life, his old messy room forgotten a little more each day.

The thought gives me a ghost of a smile. Besides, I cannot imagine what I would say to him if he decided he wanted to live at home again and saw what we had done to his room. I have been the recipient of his outrage in the past when I have messed with his stuff.  Oh dear god we would never hear the end of it.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. Hard to believe that you got a smile out of me not once, but a few times. I feel that there will be more for me to write here in the next few days.

    Tomorrow will be filled with some interesting emotions and thoughts as I walk into his room with the old, and the new.

    Every room he lived in became his. His nest, his perch up high, his kingdom. It simply was the way it was, his way.

    Bits and pieces will come flinging back, like the bits and pieces of certain high end pens that were Bobby’s favorites to dismantle and destroy.

    An example is I just wondered, did he like the piece I was working on when he repeated back the melody from the other room, in an other house years ago?

    I didn’t change the piece back then so I’m glad we’re not fully changing the room now. He would have given me hell those years ago and I’m just plain scared of what he’d do to me now.

    • Goddammit I miss our guy. Day 11, having an unexpected panic attack, shaking hands, shallow breathing, the works. Waiting for the kolonopin to kick in. I really, really cannot believe he is gone – reality has become so scrambled. It’s like I have had shock treatment, the way I am sitting and staring, just waiting for another day to end.

      God, the day he repeated the melody, that was in the first year, I think? I missed it, I was at work. ESL. I vaguely remember you recorded him?

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