I dreamed last night that I found a secret room in my father’s house, the house I grew up in and in which my father still lives.
Windowless, stark, and enormous, the room lay behind an upstairs door I’d never noticed before. The walls were gray, ancient plaster, seemingly dating from the time the house was built and obviously not kept up, not painted, not papered, not crack-filled since.
The room was impossibly large: bigger than the entire rest of the house. And I had a disembodied moment in the dream where I was at once inside the room marvelling at the fact it had been there all my life, unnoticed, and outside the house, trying to visualize what this monstrous secret extension to the house I grew up in could possibly look like from the street.
It was this absurdity: the giant physical secret kept inside such a tiny accumulation of wood and paint and asphalt shingles, that eventually alerted me, in my sleep, that I had to be dreaming.
I awoke saddened and perplexed. I’m not surprised my family kept such a big secret, I thought. But I’m disappointed to find it by seeming accident and to realize there is nothing dramatic, nothing scandalous, nothing shocking about it. It’s just old and dusty. Its significance, if anyone ever understood it, has been lost.