The frame in my father’s music room is a pencil sketch of a nude woman. I once felt I could look through paintings the way her gaze, turning away from me, proves a lack of any fascination. Her expression loosens into the blank space around her, as she holds two corners of a sheet to her chest, wrapped loosely about her figure, her back left bare.
The point became her metaphorical significance—here, in this room—when I first looked at her, and the body seemed to hang its figure through vacancy—soft, gray lines etched toward vanishing. Not as a possibility, but a reminder for what we already knew. Emptiness seemed to distract us from the tendency to talk about it. Fulfillment lost its sense of pleasure; clarity quoted deprivation.
It was not just symbolic anymore: over the years, we wanted to preserve how we knew ourselves. (The problem was that my father called it thus: “the music room.” It seems inevitable that the name invoke the idea it should be shared.) The room was built during a summer. I used to sleep on the rough cement floors on a thin blanket when I didn’t have a room of my own. The smell of concrete. A dim white light.