The second bedroom

Today, we got the keys to the apartment we will be renting in Dublin. We move in on Monday. 

There are several things that delight me about this apartment. One of them is the gas stove. I had missed having one in Reading, and I remember relearning how to cook on our induction stove. 

Also, we finally have the ‘second’ bedroom. In Reading, it was a box room. The apartment was advertised as a two-bed but the second room was a tiny box like space, albeit with a window. You could put in a single mattress there and try to sleep if you wanted to – but you had to be of a certain height. If you were a tall person, it wouldn’t be possible. Actually, I am not even sure if a single mattress would have fit in.

So we had a desk that we got over the internet to fit a corner, a shoe cabinet (also procured over the internet) and a folding clothes dryer occupied another end of the room.

Since we never had a guest bedroom or a spare bed, when friends came over – we would give them our bedroom, borrow an air mattress from a friend and sleep in the living room or alternatively, a friend would come over with her duvet which we would spread over the living floor floor. Sometimes we slept in the bedroom and our friends in the living room.

Now, we have a guest bedroom. I looked at it in the morning, confused and excited at the same time. It was like buying two beautiful outfits at the same time – you know you want them, but not really sure if the second one was needed. Giddy with happiness, I took a flurry of pictures and sent them to two friends who have promised to visit. I also sent the photographs to our former neighbours, a lovely British-Polish couple who have also promised to visit.

We looked at the second bedroom (both the bedrooms are modest in size, not too small, and not like the big bedrooms gracing my mother-in-law’s penthouse in India) and realised that we couldn’t fit in a study desk. Yet, the second room seemed special. This was the first time in our married life that we had a proper second bedroom. It held so many possibilities. 

When we fight, said my husband, we could each retreat into a room of our own. We laughed. Having just one bedroom since the past five years meant that even if we fought, we had to share the same bed, and couldn’t sulk off into a separate bedroom.

Maybe the second bedroom is a symbol of hope, aspiration and  acceptance. We really wanted a second bedroom in Reading, UK. But we didn’t move out of the apartment we had rented because we were adopted by a Ginger cat, because we had lovely neighbours, and a small garden where the arrival of either of the cats (three Ginger tomcats, two tabbies, and one black) was preceeded by the warning call of the magpie, and also because of the rose bush that attracted a flutter of sparrows. I think the bus stop right on the lane that led to our cul de sac was also a factor  as I was forever taking my favourite no. 17 – to Exotic and Rahim super stores, to the city centre and the railway station, to friends and coffee dates.

So even though we didn’t have the second bedroom then – we made peace with it. I think somewhere along the journey, we also made peace with the fact that while the second box room could hold a baby cot, what occupied it instead was a shoe stand, clothes stand and a desk.  

Now the second bedroom has made an entry in our lives. But we are just the two of us. Somethings you can have, somethings you may not. 

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