Big White Room

3 min
Image of 2018
Image of Short Story
She peered into the room and flipped the switch on the outside of the door. She watched as light spilled onto the bare floors and white walls, but there was no light source. No bulb on the ceiling or windows to the outside world. She took a deep breath and stepped in, the door swinging shut behind her. Instinctually, her hand went toward the knob and turned. Logically, she knew it wouldn’t open. The bright light made the space seem larger than it actually was. She looked around. The only thing to differentiate the stark whiteness of the walls from the white of the floors were the lines that separated each tile. She took a few steps more forwards becoming aware of the tapping of her heels against the tile.

“hello” she whispered. She sound felt strange to her ears. Small and scared.

“HELLO” she took a deep breath and yelled. The echo bounced from wall to wall with no direction to go but back to her own ears.

She stepped backward until her back was against the locked door and allowed herself to slide down until she felt the coolness of the hard floor through her thin cotton slacks. Her black trouser pants. She brought her hands to stroke the soft silk of her blouse. She found herself trying to remember where she had purchased these items, how much they were, but couldn’t manage to do it. They were one of many similar clothing items. Expensive and personally tailored. She had taken a painstakingly long time refining her image to now end up in a place where none of it mattered any longer.

How large was this room? She walked across the length of the area counting the clicks of her heels on the tile with each step.

40 clicks.

20 clicks wide.

She decided to continue this experiment to see if the numbers would change with each trip around the space. She jumped, ran, skipped and lunged enjoying the sound that filled the room with each step. There was a certain companionship in the echo. She took off her heels and slid across the room feigning a microphone with her hand. She was sure she was recreating this from something she had seen before but for some reason she couldn’t recall the memory. In fact, she couldn’t remember much beyond her existence in this room. Suddenly, she laughed, feeling giddy from all of her previous actions. And she couldn’t stop the laughter from pouring out of her mouth. The fit overtook her and she doubled over knees falling to the floor and tears pouring from her eyes. Soon she couldn’t tell if the tears were from her joyful episode anymore or grieving over the memories left outside of the room that she could no longer access. She lay on the ground in the center of the room in a fetal position and closed her eyes willing herself to fall asleep. She didn’t know how long she lay there but sleep never came. And she knew it would never come nor would hunger.

As she stood up, her socked foot slipped and she fell down again hard. She did another cursory glance around the room as she often did when she caught herself in an embarrassing situation as if she were going to find a camera or someone in the corner watching her. The realization that no one was watching and no one would come caused loneliness to pour in like a wave. She struggled to breathe as she drowned in the feelings and stood up.

“What time is it?” she asked aloud. Surely an hour had passed. Maybe even a more. With no windows, she couldn’t tell if the sun had risen or set.

“When did I get here?” She suddenly couldn’t remember how she arrived. If she chose to be here or not. The door that was once in front of her had all but disappeared. She was unable to leave. The panic continued to rise and she dry heaved. She needed to get out of here. She ran around the small space banging on the walls. Trying to alert someone. But who? Trying to find a way out. But how? She did this until she had no more energy physically and emotionally.

“You win!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.

The light in the room brightened and the prior fear melted into peace. The door reappeared and swung open. She knew going through this door would not take her back to the place where her memories lie but move her forward to a place she only read about. The choice was hers. She could remain in this pristine place that had become familiar to her over the past several hours, days? Or she could leave and enter the unknown.

She stripped out of her silk blouse and cotton pants took her hair down from her bun and proceeded out. Leaving life and embracing death.

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