"Life is like a bicycle. To keep moving you have to keep your balance." - Albert Einstein
The smell of a new house is so comforting. Fresh lumber, the scent of pine... They conjure ideas of hope and the future. They tell stories. Who has lived in this house before you? The whispers of the past linger, filling an otherwise empty room. But what does an empty room mean to you? Does it mean the beginning of something new? Or the end of something beautiful...? Perspective is so important to us as humans, as living, breathing vessels of the dreams of many.
And an empty room can mean anything.
Scotty sat in the comfortable leather-padded seat, staring out the window of the clean, well kept bus. A large suit case sat beside him, his earbuds blasting some chart-topping nonsense into his ears as the raindrops rhythmically pelted the windows of the vehicle. His blonde hair perched atop his head, thick rimmed black glasses acting as windows that two forest green orbs gazed through to see the world around him placed delicately on his slender face. The bus was crowded, the bustling of the other passengers like a separate reality. A man in a suit, reading a newspaper. A woman in her thirties, with a young child who had spent the last four miles screaming and bawling over the lack of Wi-fi. The driver was an older gentlemen, headphones on, plugging into an audiobook of one of the Harry Potter novels that sat on the dashboard.
And Scotty returned his attention to the outside, disinterested by his surroundings.
"Next stop... Lakewood... Lakewood, Next Stop..."
Scotty perked up at this announcement, taking out his earbuds and collecting his things. The bus was soon to pull into his sister's town, he was only going to be there until... Well, he was going to be there for a few weeks. His sister was going to help him out, give him a room. He was going to live his life.
A NEW life.
Scotty stepped off the bus at the Lakewood stop, the rain tumbling down from the sky to hit the soft earth beneath.
Of course it's raining... Scotty thought to himself, pulling out a copy of his city's newspaper from his backpack and holding it over his head. He stepped down off the platform, his converse sinking into the mud immediately. For f... This was going great. Wonderful, even. At least his eyeliner wasn't running. He began to jog through the town, weaving through trees, arriving at the lake that clearly gave the town it's name. It was a seemingly endless expanse of mirror-like water, reflecting the rolling grey clouds overhead. It was almost... Therapeutic...
"SCOTTY." A voice suddenly exclaimed from behind. Scotty yelped, catching himself on his suitcase to prevent his body from convulsing over the bank into the lake. He turned, to see a familiar pair of big green eyes that reflected his own, brunette hair tied back in a lazy ponytail and a smile brighter than the moon. "Jeez, Fran! You scared the life out of me!" Scotty exclaimed, looking up at his sister, who just laughed. "Sorry, Scott." Francesca teased, sliding a comforting arm around her brother, bringing him close for a sibling hug, "I've just missed you, is all! You're the first family to come visit, after all." She noted. Scotty cleared his throat, looking over into the lake once again. "There's a reason for everything, Fran." He stated, grunting as received a noogie from Fran.
"Don't tell me you're still doing this whole 'teenager against the world' edgelord thing, are you?" Francesca asked as she led Scotty through the town, holding her umbrella over them both. Scotty shook his head in response. "Please don't call me that..." "Sorry." Fran snickered, looking up at her house as they approached, "There it is... Casa De Franny!" She grinned brightly. Still the firecracker she was when she lived with the family. Francesca's house was a welcoming two storey cottage with a homely front porch adorned with Francesca-style decorum. A hanging egg chair crafted from wicker, spray painted neon green and surrounded by stacks of paper, paints and scrapped art pieces. Free-growing ivy snaked its way across the wooden porch cover and down the struts that held it up. Nature is weird, Scotty though to himself. One window of the cottage was open, indie rock music aggressively spewing out into the open air, disrupting the otherwise very peaceful forest setting Francesca had built for herself.
Once inside, the suitcases were left at the door and Scotty was sent upstairs to change into warmer, dry clothing while Francesca lit the fireplace. The interior was, surprisingly, almost the opposite of the exterior. Clean and nothing like the artist's studio Scotty had expected. Fran had turned her life around... He was proud of his big sister, as he knew no one else in his family would be. He changed out of his jacket and jeans, wiping off his makeup and pulling on a loose shirt and a pair of sweatpants. He stepped out of the bathroom, pulling the light switch and looking out into the hallway.
A whisper. A creak in the wood that made Scotty stop in his tracks. A door at the end of the hall was unlatched, opening just a crack. Scotty stared at the door, looking around briefly. Fran lived alone... Didn't she? She hadn't mentioned anybody else living with her. His feet sank into the wood as he walked steadily down the hall, the low autumn sun giving the room a dim glow, breaking through the windows and washing Scotty's paper-like skin a soft gold. He reached out, placing his fingertips on the dusty pine and giving a light push. The door opened slowly, creaking on rusty hinges, exposing more of the room to the light, revealing that inside there was...
Nothing. An empty room. Scotty scanned the room, his breath slowing as he turned to walk out.
"So you found your room, huh?" Fran asked as she stood at the top of the stairs, causing Scotty to hold his chest in shock. "Can you please stop that?" He asked, leaning in the door frame. Fran laughed brightly, moving over to him and stepping into the room. "Sorry, Scott. Can't help it, you're just too easy to scare y'know?" She asked, looking over at him as she stood in the centre, wafting her arms, "I wanted to surprise you, but curiosity got the better of you, huh? You're lucky you're not a cat. I hear that stuff is lethal to cats." She teased as Scotty walked over to her. "You just have this room?" He asked, closing the door behind him, "I feel like an empty room is something that you don't have in a normal house."
"It wasn't always empty." Fran smiled, rubbing her arm and nodding at the door, "I used to have someone living with me... A friend." She explained. Scotty looked back at the door, frowning as he noticed the Monarch Butterfly mural that was painted on the back of the door. "He was inspired by Monarch Butterflies." Fran explained, folding her arms, "It didn't feel right to paint of it, even if... He is gone."
"Why did he go?" Scotty asked, looking up at his sister.
"He had his own dreams to make." Fran replied, tussling her brother's hair and walking to the door, "Now come on. Let's go have some tea and talk about what you wanna do tonight." She smiled, heading out of the room and downstairs. Scotty followed her across the room, pausing in the doorway and looking back into the wide, empty room. His very own empty room. A place that had once been a place of regret, was now a place of hope.
An empty room can be anything.
Thank you so much for reading the first chapter of this, it feels great to be back as part of this forum after so many years on a new account, I hope to be just as active as I was all that time ago. CC is appreciated, the next chapter should be out next week. Thank you so much again! xoxo GJ