After breakfast I moved my bags into the upstairs loft. Like the basement, the upstairs was just one big room that revolved around the open staircase. This room served as my parent’s bedroom for all the years that I lived and grew up in this house. There was one plain wooden dresser along one wall, and a kind size bed along the other, the stairwell splitting the room in two between them. The ceiling was pitched, since this room was more of an attic than an actual bedroom. But my favorite part (besides the burgundy carpet) was the old desk along the third wall, set right underneath the big octagonal window. It was large and rectangular, moreso just one large maple slab that was sanded down and re-stained and set atop four rectangular posts. It weighed a couple hundred pounds and was the first thing my father ever built himself. The second, of course, being this house and all the cabinetry and bookcases inside it. But it was at this desk where my father wrote all his revolutionary works. A living legend’s workspace, the birthplace of The Ice King and Solomon’s Burden.
Sometimes my father would sit me on his knee as he penned those pages in longhand, flipping the looseleaf sheets slowly and deliberately, placing them facedown upon their predecessor. As a kid, even sitting on my father’s knee, I was still only eye level with the desktop and couldn’t quite see the words that were penned. All I could see was my father’s forearm reaching around from behind my head and his hand flying over the paper, the pen delicately pinched between his thumb and forefinger. When he flipped the pages, I always thought they looked like sails on a big ship set to sea, billowing in the wind. When I was younger I imagined my father writing stories of pirates and sea battles, and I suppose it was from those sheets flipping at my eye level.
I emptied my one suitcase into the dresser, t-shirts and socks and pairs of jeans and long sleeved flannel shirts. I packed warm and comfortable clothes to prepare me for the winter. I was still wearing khakis and my blue shirt and red tie from the office. I hadn’t changed since the morning before when I left for the office of the magazine that I worked on. I filed for leave, citing time to concentrate on writing my first novel, and they graciously granted me until June of the next year. I didn’t tell them that really, honestly, the reason I left was because I was afraid bombs and poison gas in the subways. Biological warfare released on the streets from strafing jet planes.