昨日爬山归途中，两人又提及这个话题。 不料某人说，还是清了吧， 让她知道这房间永远给她留着，任何时候回家，家还是她的家，房间还是她的房间。 我听之，不仅心头一热。某人有时比我心细，对女儿的爱一样是满满的。
Ever since she left for college, her room was kept intact without many changes. A long white wall was adorned with her two paintings, a pair of pointed ballet shoes on vigorous legs, and a silhuette of a young ballerina in her ballooned puffy dress. Hung on the other two walls are a family picture with flowery iron frame, and an enlarged picture of her own, a cute chubby toddler. Down beneath is a twin-size bed, with hard mattress as she prefers. Next to the bed is a low book shelf, with a lamp standing on the top that feeds light if she needs to read at night. Outside the window are roof tops layered by faded red tiles, down and beyond which are a sizeable piece of lawn and a street flanked by trees, some towering, some leafy. When spring comes, the tree extended from the left front flowers with fluffy ball-shaped pink, its lengthy willow-like branches dancing in the wind. It is a room with a view.
We moved in more than ten years ago, when she was still in her elementary school. I don’t know how she remembers her years in the room. But my memory is inundated with her stressful days in high school, when she worked very late into the night, and I, who woke up in the wee hours, had to check from the bottom of the door if the light in the room was still on…
Time fleets by. The room has been without her for almost six years. Her frequency of flying back home decreased gradually from four times a year to once a year, now that she started her job in a farther northern city. Being used to empty-nestedness, we began to enjoy the life without her. We are no longer sentimental. Over the years, I boxed most of her stuff in the garage, books, notebooks, binders, souvenirs so that they won’t collect dust on the shelves. But everything else stays the same. The clean beddings, the teddy bears by the pillow, are there any time she comes back.
One cold winter day, as he entered her sunny room to take care of the plants by the window, an idea popped up in his mind. He wanted to move into the room, where sunlight showered through the window, a striking contrast to his cold north-faced room. The move was instant, with computers set up, even his own beddings for his day or night rests. Along with the move came more jars, pots and a tank with water plants that he has heen testing to resume his dream of raising fish. The joy of living in a sunny warm room was self-evident, and his only regret was not to move in earlier.
A usual Saturday morning after the sweaty hiking, he asked me in the car when our daughter would be home. Next Friday night, I replied. I know his concern, reassuringly telling him not to worry about the room change, as she would only stay home for four nights, and I can make ready a new clean bed. Unexpectedly, he insisted that the room would have to be back to the original state, only cleaner and more lively with the new plants. It is the sense of belongings or a feeling that matters, he said, i.e., wherever she goes, and however long she is away, the home is the home. And she has a permenant place in the family, in our hearts.